Workshop: Introduction to milling with the Bantam Tools PCB Mill
(Generally, this workshop is offered at least once every two weeks on a rotating basis. Check the Lab calendar for up-to-date availability!)
The Bantam Tools PCB Mill is a 3-axis CNC mill - a subtractive manufacturing machine. Fabricating with this machine is relatively simple, thanks in large part to its well-developed and maintained software. The process consists of only three steps:
- Set up
- Clean up
- Set up the machine
- CAM the object
- Set up the material
- Set up the (initial) tool
Set up the machine
- Turn on the machine
- Home the gantry
CAM the object
- Import the CAD design into the software. The software is proprietary and is pinned to the station desktop with a rooster icon.
- Position the design where you want it to be cut.
- Select the appropriate material and tool(s).
Set up the material
- Clean off the material (also known as "stock") as well as the location on the bed where you'll be affixing it.
- Apply tape to the side of the stock that will be placed on the bed.
- Place and firmly press down on the stock on the bed.
Set up the (initial) tool
This can be done through software prompting.
Press the "Mill all visible" button. Make sure to pay attention to the machine, since if a tool is broken, noticing it sooner rather than later will save you an immense amount of headache.
Make sure to always leave the machine cleaner than what you found it! Vacuum up any and all swarf created by the milling process.
Try to minimize the number of toolchanges while optimizing the paths of the selected tools; that is, small tools for precision work, large tools for removing areas of the material.
By the end of this Workshop, you should:
- know the different parts of the mill, and which parts are dangerous.
- understand the differences and advantages of available tools.
- understand the differences and advantages of available stock.
By the end of this Workshop, you should be able to:
- control basic machine functionality.
- load stock into the machine.
- load a design into the software, and position and adjust its attributes.
- change a tool.
- mill an abject from a design.
- effectively clean the machine.