Sunday, March 21, 2010


Open Source Circuit Boards using RepRap Tech

We are constantly pushing to increase the number of parts the RepRap can make for itself. Why not its own circuit boards? Back in April I blogged on my experiences milling circuit boards on a Darwin. Just because the Darwin couldn't do it out of the box [so to speak] doesn't mean that this won't once be realized.

...I couldn't wait. For the last six months I have been building a larger, tougher, cnc / mill for milling circuit boards. The printed part count is low. I was only able to print the bearings and motor couplings. However, it is still a RepRap in spirit... if I can be so bold. The electronics are Gen 2, with an Arduino at the heart, and the firmware and host are variants of the RepRap firm and host.

After finding most of the ways not to do it I am finally getting high resolution, repeatable, double sided, drilled and scored, boards. Here is an opto endstop 2.1 board that recently came off my "tough" cnc.

I'm still documenting my experiences and getting some bugs out of my updated firmware and host. In the mean time I prepared a video of the board being made. Seeing is better than reading, anyways.

It is my hope that the lessons I've learned through making my own circuit boards will eventually lead to a true RepRap solution. Either Mendel will show itself to be tough enough, it can print something tough enough, or this work will lead to a new species all together that mills itself instead of printing itself. :)

Thanks RepRappers for all the help along the way!

Very impressive how you've adopted so much RepRap technology and made it work so well with your custom solution! I think it's a unique property of open source, take a bit, combine it with your own and integrate it with other open tools.
The PCB result is nice and I liked the movie too, well done!
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