The Ability to Create Things is Power.
Everyone has that ability - what we want to do is amplify it with Prometheus - a desktop PCB milling machine that will allow you to make circuit boards right from your desk in a matter of minutes. No longer will you have to wait around for your board to be delivered to you from your PCB manufacturing service.
How it Works
Prometheus is a PCB (printed circuit board) milling machine. It works by milling (or carving/engraving) your circuit design into a standard copper-clad board. The bits used by milling machines are called "end mills", and while they might look similar to drill bits there is an important difference - drill bits are made to cut only from their point, while end mills can cut from the side as well. This allows the milling machine to carve objects, in addition to drilling holes. In the case of Prometheus, you can mill your circuit design, drill the holes, and even carve the shape of the board itself (maybe you need a circular circuit board or some other odd shape, for example).
Prometheus is purpose-built for making PCBs. The requirements and specifications needed to carve the fine detail needed for modern circuit boards is very different than a general-purpose CNC mill or router that is normally used to carve wood or metal. When we're carving features that are only a few thousandths of an inch, the single most important specification is spindle runout or TIR (Total Indicated Runout). It is something you'll rarely see quoted for a low end general-purpose CNC machine, but low runout is crucial when it comes to micro-milling. Runout describes how much the bit wobbles as it spins about the axis of rotation. Too much runout will cause small end mills to snap immediately. This is why hobby-grade spindles and hand-held rotatry tools are not suitable for precision PCB work. We could have purchased an off-the-shelf spindle with the proper specs to incorporate into Prometheus, but we would have had to spend more than $1,000, just for the spindle! This is probably a big part of the reason why other professional PCB mills cost over $8,000. We solved this problem by designing our own low-cost, low-runout spindle so that we can deliver a professional machine at a fraction of the cost.
Spindle Speed:50,000 RPM
Max X/Y Speed:Greater than 3,800 mm/min (150 IPM)
Spindle Runout (TIR):< 2.5 microns, 10 mm below the spindle bearing (static)
Bit type: .1248" max shank diameter, depth ring set at .587", 1.42" OAL. We will offer appropriate bits.
Max PCB Size: 6 in. x 4 in. or European size 160 mm x 100 mm
PCB Type: FR-4, FR-1, Rogers 4350 (other Rogers laminates are being tested). Single or Double-sided
Min Trace/Space: 4 mil traces/5 mil spaces (1 mil = .001 in. = .0254 mm, 5 mils = .127 mm)
Max Drilled Hole Size: .125 in. (3.175 mm)
X and Y Resolution: .000156 in. (4 microns)
Z Resolution: .000049 in. (1.25 microns)
Motor Controller: Custom ZippyTalk Controller, Atmel ARM Based
Weight: 30 lbs.
Machine Footprint: 9.5 in x 11 in.
Connectivity: USB Plug-and-Play
System Requirements: Windows 7 or Later. Mac and Linux Support is Planned
Note that these are the current specs, but they may change if further modifications are made before we begin shipping.