Ready to get started with the new Desktop PCB Milling Machine from Bantam Tools? Read through this article for a basic overview and some helpful tips and tricks.
First, let’s go over some basic capabilities and specs. It runs on 100-240VAC and is accurate to <.003” per 6” of linear travel. The milling machine comes with all tools required to get started and even includes a couple of getting started projects to help the user get acquainted with the machine. Whether you need to create single or double sided PCB’s, or custom engraved pieces from a wide variety of materials, this machine can handle it all.
The software is free to download and very user friendly and intuitive. With a visual to display the path and alerts, it’s easy to dive in and get started, even with no previous milling experience. It accepts multiple file types, such as: .brd, .gtl, .svg, etc. One awesome feature? If the bed ever becomes damaged, it was designed to be easily refaced. Bantam Tools has step-by-step instructions on their website outlining this process. If you’re looking to save time and heighten the efficiency of your creation process, this lightweight and speedy (up to 2600mm/min!) tool is a great addition to any lab or makerspace.
The hardest part of getting started is designing. Once the file is ready, grab the material to be milled and adhere it to the bed. Depending on the material, double-sided tape works great, but hot glue could be used if necessary. Replace the plexiglass windows, turn on the machine, and open the software. Import the accepted file type and a preview will pop up on the screen. The right-hand side of the software displays the configuration and plan information. Here you can change the type and size of the fixture, alignment, tools to use, and more. Once all of the information is updated and all of the messages are resolved, be sure the first bit displayed under Milling Tools is the one that’s in the machine, and select “Mill All Visible”.
The software shows the estimated time to completion. If more than one bit is required, the software will prompt you to change it out. Using the two wrenches included with the machine, loosen the chuck to release the bit and place the new one in. When doing this, remove the white collar, which acts as a fan to remove debris away from the bit, and ensure the bit is completely inserted. Then replace the collar, tighten the chuck, replace the plexiglass, and resume milling. After the milling is completed, power down the mill and remove the fixture.
Now that you’ve created your first masterpiece on the Desktop Milling Machine, play around with the settings and see what else it is capable of. With such a versatile tool, you’ll be on the way to (almost) unlimited possibilities.