Design and fabrication of printed circuit boards (PCB) are a basic skill needed in electrical and electronics engineering education. However, many engineering institutions lack access to PCB machines due to high cost and annual maintenance cost, and difficulties in maintenance and repair. A very low-cost DIY PCB prototyping machine constructed with a CNC machine, on-board microscope, and open source PCB software can be used in electronics laboratory classes and faculty/student projects with significant learning outcomes. The machine is capable of semi-automatic fabrication of double-sided PCBs, with isolation routing/milling, and drilling.
It is planned to pursue future work on pick-and-place mechanism so that the PCB assembly can be made fully automatic. Surface mount technology (SMT) PCB milling is also currently being studied using our PCB prototyping machine.