Applications > Rapid PCB Prototyping > PCB structuring > Milling and Drilling

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Milling and Drilling of Single-Sided Printed Circuit Boards (PCB)

Single Sided Printed Circuit Board
Single-Sided Printed Circuit Board
Single-sided PCBs, such as simple circuit boards for power supplies, loudspeaker switches, and connectors are quickly and easily manufactured with LPKF ProtoMat plotter systems. Single-sided boards are typically produced on standard FR4 1.6 mm glass fiber epoxy laminate material for low cost, durability, and ease of production.

Single-sided board production:
  1. Import and configure the board production data files
  2. Drill the holes with the ProtoMat plotter
  3. Mill the top of the board
  4. Cut out the board
  5. Optional: Apply solder mask or solder screen

Milling Tools

LPKF plotters have a wide variety of milling tools. These tools remove copper from board material by applying precision tooling to create isolation paths as small as 100 µm (4 mils) and copper rubout areas as large as required.

Milling and Isolation Techniques
The following illustration shows a variety of milling and isolation techniques that demonstrate the versatility of LPKF plotters for accomplishing the most exacting board production tasks.

  1. Standard isolation – the fastest production time for simple boards.
  2. Pad clearance isolation – for easier soldering of components, especially SMD.
  3. Micro cut isolation – Micro cutter (0.1 mm) is used only where necessary.
  4. Track clearance isolation – wider spacing for high voltage or capacitance.
  5. Rubout – complete or partial removal of residual copper.
  6. Spike removal – same as item 1, but removes unstable small areas.

Milling and Drilling of Double-Sided Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs)

Double Sided Printed Circuit Board
Construction of a double-sided printed circuit board
Double-sided PCBs are coated with conducting material on both outer sides and have structured base materials. They are typically produced on standard FR4 1.6 mm glass fiber epoxy laminate material for low cost, durability, and ease of production.

LPKF circuit board plotters can be used for milling and drilling printed circuit boards (PCBs) of many different shapes, sizes, and component density and are therefore an ideal addition to the LPKF ProtoLaser S laser circuit structuring system. An important design consideration for a double-sided board is through-hole plating, which can allow the fabrication of more complex boards while drastically reducing the number of vias. LPKF offers a range of systems to facilitate in-house through-hole plating.

The basic steps involved in processing a two-sided PCB are described as follows:

  1. Data input

    The software supplied with the LPKF ProtoLaser S and the LPKF ProtoMats processes all standard layout data formats. They position the layouts on the blanks and control the structuring.
  2. Create fiducials

    The fiducials are drilled with the LPKF circuit board plotter. The LPKF ProtoMats can be upgraded with an optical fiducial identification system for more precise positioning of the boards. The LPKF ProtoLaser S has these already included.
  3. Structure the boards

    Once the fiducials have been made, the LPKF ProtoLaser S/ProtoMat® structures the tracks – first on the front, and after rotation of the PCB, also on the back. The fiducials are used for precise positioning.
  4. Drilling the holes for through-hole plating

    The vias for through-hole plating are drilled by the LPKF circuit board plotter.
  5. Through-hole plating

    The LPKF ProConduct® is used after the vias have been drilled to reliably create the through-hole plating without using any messy chemicals. The PCB is now ready for further processing or incorporation in a multilayer board.

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