Bantam Tools Blog

PCB Testing

Posted by Martine Neider on Aug 29, 2013 5:00:00 PM

It has been beautiful in San Francisco this week. We left the doors open and kept testing our machines in the sunshine.

Last week, most of our testing involved secondary materials: machining wax, linoleum, brass. We will keep testing those materials and others, but this week we moved on to our main material, PCB.

A PCB trace and space width test. All PCB testing is done on 2" x 3" boards.

A PCB trace and space width test. All PCB testing is done on 2" x 3" boards.

A PCB test file. The job on the left repeated a half dozen times in the same space. You can see in the image how reliable and repeatable the Othermill is.

A PCB test file. The job on the left repeated a half dozen times in the same space. You can see in the image how reliable and repeatable the Othermill is.

Our testing this week had several objectives. The first was to dial in the mechanical settings on the mill, including speeds and feeds for PCBs. Since we made some hardware updates, we had to make sure that everything was playing well together. Basic reliability and consistency tests were also performed. We run these jobs constantly to see if there are any changes in quality as either the mill or the bit wears down.

One of our basic test files. We run this one all day.

One of our basic test files. We run this one all day.

Lastly, we tested a post-processor for VCarve that Jonathan wrote. The post-processor makes sure that the best settings for the Othermill are being used. Once we’re happy with it, we’ll put it on our website for folks to use with their own machines. As a side note, we used a single 1/64th inch end mill for all of our cutting this week (5+ hours a day) and it’s still going strong.

During testing, Jonathan discovered a minor assembly error on the mill being used for mechanical testing. The error causes the z-axis motor to skip steps every so often, making the z-height unreliable. He developed a test to catch the error that will be performed on all mills as part of our quality control testing.

Topics: Circuit Boards, Inside OMC