What is PCB milling

What is printed circuit board milling?

Printed circuit board milling (PCB milling) is also called isolation milling. It is process when copper areas are removed from a sheet of PCB material by milling tool on PCB milling machine to make the conductive tracks, soldering pads or isolation paths accordingly to PCB schematics or layers generated by PCB design software.

Advantage of PCB milling

1. PCB milling is a non-chemical process, which doesn't require any special environment conditions. PCB milling machine can be placed in any lab or designers office and is specialy suitable method for complete in-house PCB prototyping. With a PCB milling method is also possible to mill printed circuit boards with high resolution. With our machines we are able to mill tracks or insulation paths 0,1mm width.
2. PCB milling machine is able to make three steps of PCB production:
- creating of conductive tracks and pads or isolation paths or even signs on PCBs
- drilling holes for THT components, wires, terminals and connectors
- cutting outline of PCB from printed circuit board material (usualy FR4 or aluminium boards) and creating break-out-tabs
3. In-house PCB prototyping using PCB milling machine drasticaly reduce the time and costs of outsourcing when devoloping new PCB designs. Any changes of PCB design or even completely new designs can be imadiately transferred to the CNC machine and PCB can be milled, drilled and cut out from the PCB base material in several minutes. With prototyping SMT tools boards can be populated and tested in extremely short time.

What about quality of milled PCB's?

Quality of milled PCB's depends on two factors:

- Accuracy of PCB milling machine and possibility of milling parametrs choice (cutting speed - mm/s, spindle speed - RPM)
- Quality and correct choice of tool used for all steps of PCB machining (material of tool, tip, sharpnes, number of lips etc.)


Which tools are used for PCB machining?

There is wide range of tools used on field of PCB milling equipment. To achieve the best results of pcb milling we experienced to use folowing tools:

1. for milling contours of conductive tracks and pads or for milling of isolation paths we use isolation path cutter

2. for removing bigger copper areas from PCB we use end mills

3. to cut out the PCB from PCB base material is best to use contour routers

4. for drilling holes up to 3mm diameter we use
carbide drills