LPKF PCB Milling Machine
It can produce single- and double-sided PCBs from KiCad or Eagle layouts exported as Gerber files and Exellon drill files. A small 5x5 cm board takes about 10 minutes per side. Tool change happens automatically, a camera system helps you align dual-sided boards, and a vacuum table holds down your board. A kit for through-hole plating of vias is also available, and for SMD boards, the mill can dispense solder paste.
The material costs 15 cents (single-sided) or 30 cents (double sided) per square centimeter, based on the rectangular bounding box around your board. That's under 4 Euros for a single-sided 5x5 cm board.
In principle, the LPKF can also cut and engrave other materials like plexiglass (acrylic), some other plastics, and soft metals such as brass and aluminum. However, we have other mills and a lasercutter that are more suited to this purpose, and especially the lasercutter is much easier to use than any mill, so we leave the LPKF calibrated for PCB material (calibrating it is a pretty time-intensive process).
If you have any questions concerning the LPKF that go beyond the online documentation, email the responsible Fablab Hiwi.
Manuals and Documentation
- Guidelines: Designing PCBs for Milling in the Lab
- Tutorial: Exporting Gerber and Drill files from KiCad or Eagle
- Tutorial: Changing Material
- Tutorial: PCB Milling
- Tutorial: Dispensing Solder Paste
- Complete Manuals, Documentation, and Software (internal)
- More details, a product brochure, and demo videos can be found on the manufacturer's S104 product page.
The LPKF is operated via the Circuit Pro 2.1.x software that is already installed on the computer next to the mill. To keep the installation clean and working, please do not use the milling PC for any other purposes than running the machining applications.
Your PCB designs have to be provided as Gerber and drill files. Most CAD programs will have an option to export those. Tutorials for KiCad and Eagle can be found here.
Circuit Pro uses our own "rwth_easy" templates by default. These templates should be used if you want to create single-sided or double-sided PCBs exported as Gerber files. Only the available tools (see below) will be used. If you need to use the milling machine for more advanced PCBs or other materials please contact the responsible Fablab Hiwi or Anke Brocker.
We use these 19 standard tools in the automatic tool changer—please do not change them:
- Spiral Drill 1.0 mm
- Spiral Drill 2.0 mm
- Spiral Drill 0.8 mm
- Spiral Drill 1.2 mm
- Spiral Drill 0.7 mm
- Spiral Drill 0.4 mm
- Spiral Drill 0.6 mm
- Spiral Drill 1.5 mm
- Spiral Drill 3.0 mm
- Universal Cutter 0.2 mm
- Micro Cutter 0.1 mm (only use when needed)
- End Mill RF 0.15 mm
- End Mill RF 0.25 mm
- End Mill RF 0.4 mm
- End Mill 0.8 mm
- End Mill 1.0 mm
- End Mill 2.0 mm
- Contour Router 1.0 mm
- Contour Router 2.0 mm
The Contour Router tools can create holes of any dimension. For example, 2.3 mm holes use the Contour Router 2.0 mm, and 1.6 mm holes use the Contour Router 1.0 mm.
These tools can only be used with PCBs. Do not cut plastics with them—this will destroy them, and they're expensive.
If a tool needs to be changed please contact a Fab Lab Administrator so we can help and keep track. Do not attempt to change it on your own. Used tools must be marked.