Bantam Tools Blog

Boost Your Boards: Speeding Up PCB Prototyping with Engraving Bit Isolation Milling

Posted by Ezra Spier on May 9, 2016 3:35:36 PM
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What if I told you that you could mill precise PCBs in a fraction of the time, increase trace precision, and essentially eliminate the experience of breaking bits? Starting with version 0.27, the Otherplan Public Beta makes this possible with a new feature: engraving bit isolation milling.

Here’s how it works: When milling a PCB with fine traces, you often need to use small and fragile end mills — say, a 1/100" flat end mill. Because these tools are so small, they mill very slowly. Using a very small end mill can mean the difference between getting your prototype in two hours versus 20 minutes.

end_mill_engraving_.pngFlat End Mill vs. Engraving Bit

With engraving bit isolation milling, you can now use an engraving bit instead of a tiny end mill. Engraving bits are tapered, and their V shape results in a much stronger tool that still has an incredible amount of precision. The stronger the tool, the faster it can mill!

To test out the difference, we milled the traces of an Arudino Pro Mini PCB in two ways: with a 1/100" flat end mill and with an 30º engraving bit. With the end mill, it took about 34 minutes to mill the traces, but with the engraving bit, it took only about 7 minutes. Check out the video above to see the difference.

Engraving bit isolation milling does have tradeoffs, so be sure to read up on all the details in our support guide. When you’re ready to get started, you can pick up our recommended 30º engraving bit in our online store. And don’t forget to upgrade to the newest version of Otherplan for all the latest features and optimizations.


Topics: Circuit Boards, Otherplan, Electrical Engineering, End Mills