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The production version of our PCB milling machine, Prometheus.
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.
ProCAM - Import Gerbers From Circuit Maker Demo
In this video we show you how to take a design made in Altium's Circuit Maker and make the PCB with Prometheus.
With Prometheus we believe that you get more performance per dollar than with any of our competitors. Our features set Prometheus apart. Machines with similar specs cost thousands of dollars more. Our price-to-performance ratio was purposefully engineered just like the rest of our specs.
We're also actively researching flex material support, solder mask support, and other materials beyond FR-4. With Zippy Robotics, you can trust that we'll never stop innovating. We will never settle for "good enough".
Prometheus quickly probes the surface of the board before milling, generates a surface map, and uses it to keep the cutting depth consistent across the surface of the board.
Software Alignment Calibration
ProCAM's calibration feature ensures that squares come out square. Unwanted shear, rotation, and translation between PCB layers is eliminated - even if the axes aren't perfectly perpendicular. Never worry about front-to-back registration ever again.
With 4-mil trace/5-mil space, Prometheus can support virtually any surface mount component footprint.
50,000 RPM allows bits with small diameters to cut at fast feed rates.
Our spindle has a static runout of less than .0001 inches (2.5 microns) so you can run tiny end mills and have a longer working life.
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.
ProCAM (Prometheus Computer-Aided Manufacturing) Software
ProCAM is CAM software made specifically for Prometheus. It allows you to import standard Gerber files that you create with your favorite PCB design tool, and then generates the tool paths and is used to control your Prometheus PCB milling machine. ProCAM allows you to import top layer, bottom layer (optional), drill holes (optional) and edge cut layer (optional). The latest version of ProCAM allows for contour milling. That is, it traces one or more contours around each copper net to isolate it from the rest of the board. This makes an electrically correct circuit. However, we are currently working on adding a full copper-removal option to ProCAM so it will remove all copper that is not present in the Gerber files.
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: Our spindle requires our custom Zippy Robotics bits, .1248" max shank diameter. We 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: 14 in x 15.8 in.
Voltage Input: Universal power supply, 100-240 VAC
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.