HOW TO – Build a PCB router

HOW TO – Build a PCB router

Overall-SmallJonathan designed a great printed circuit board router, he writes – “Printed circuit boards are usually manufactured by chemical etching (with iron (III) chloride or ammonium persulfate, for example). This is not very practical if only a few boards are necessary, because these etchants are messy and somewhat dangerous. PCBs can also be manufactured by “mechanical etching,” in which a trace is “etched” by milling away the copper along its perimeter. This requires software to generate a toolpath from the layout and a small CNC mill or router. Lots of companies make routers for PCB fabrication, but they are unjustifiably expensive so I decided to build one.” Link.

10 thoughts on “HOW TO – Build a PCB router

  1. Unomi says:

    I think for one time it must be said:

    “Lots of make , but they are so I decided to build one.”

    I just LOVE to read those lines over and over again. These people make our lives a little more worth living.

    I.o.w… GREAT!!!

    – Unomi –

  2. ch424 says:

    That’s awesome!

    At school we’ve got a second hand sign engraving CNC machine that one of the students hacked to accept gerber PCB layout files over serial. It’s quite amusing watching it drilling away. :D For a few minutes, I mean.


  3. theorb says:

    I do wonder if the guy who did this would be interested in making detailed plans for this, or even better, a kit. I’m sure I’m not the only geek out there who wishes he could make his own PCBs without lots of dangerous and difficult to get chemicals — especially hard for people who don’t have the luxuary of a garage to do this sort of thing in.

  4. unterhausen says:

    If you want plans, go to and poke around. Tons of people there have built machines and it’s the best place on the web to get help. There are other resources out there, but that’s the best I know of, and feedback is pretty immediate.

    It’s amusing that my plan and this author’s original failed plan are so similar. However, I am adding enough adjustability in that the stages aren’t going to get stuck. The first motion stage I ever made had the problem with sticking, and it was made on a milling machine.

  5. cjgaus says:

    I have built this circuit and have got the circuitry layout and component list if anyone needs it. I Have finished on the electrical side of things and now have started to program the pic. I dont like how he has made it for use with just eagle cad. I am researching on if and how i can edit the pic to handle other programs code or data. Im a newbie to pics so its not easy. If anyone who has any ideas or who has built one of these please contact me ( id love to get your opinion and ideas.


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