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Mechanical design

Week 9

design, build and automate!

Project: PCB milling machine!

Our group FabLab FCT:

  • me
  • filipe silvestre
  • andre rocha
  • joao ribeiro

  • For this week of mechanical design, our FabLab FCT group decided to make a PCB milling machine.

    The idea was to create a milling machine smaller than the conventional milling machine that was prepared to cut small dimensions like the PCBs we had to produce and cut in the previous weeks.

    Once we have defined the concept, we begin to design and plan the materials we would need.

    Project. drawing

    We thought of designing a milling machine for a platform with a dimension of 120x120 mm (standard size of the copper platform).

    The machine will use the platform as Y axis and the drill for the X axis and Z axis. This allows us to have a good performance and smallest possible space.


    We decided to recycle materials, such as engines and shafts from other machines we had in the lab to save costs.

    List of required materials:

  • 1- Machine side parts
  • 2- Machine base
  • 3- Machine side parts
  • 4- Bracket to secure the motors
  • 5- Removable acrylic side pieces
  • 6 -2 Closed Belt GT2
  • 7- 2 ACME Threaded Rod (8MM), 4 Smooth Rod (5MM)
  • 8- 2 Nema 14 stepper motors
  • 9- 1 x Motor to spindle
  • 10- Base for the platform
  • 11- 2 ACME Threaded nut
  • 12- 4 608Z (8MM) ball bearing
  • 13- 4 GT2 Pulleys
  • 14-
  • 15- 4 LM5UU (5MM) ball bearing
  • 16-
  • Build and Make

    After having all the necessary materials, we started to draw the 3D materials with the correct dimensions and from there we created the design of our machine with the drilling and the fittings for all the components.

    After having the final design, we export the equipment from the exterior of our machine to the laser machine.

    Some missing components were produced in 3D and printed. Support for the platform was printed in 3D.

    I had never built or realized how a three-axle machine worked, so for me it was a great learning process to get to know this materials used to how everything fits.

    I helped in the process of building the machine, and in assembling all parts cut into the laser machine and components.

    I was fascinated how things worked since:

  • screw mounting and cross-shaped holes required
  • the threaded axes for sliding the platform
  • the fitting of the motors
  • the small components that make everything work like the berings

  • For me it was fantastic to be able to understand in a simplified way the operation and construction of the components in this type of machines.


    Find the files used and download here:

  • week10_milling_machine.sch _DWG File