EverPrecision 2002 PCB mill

Hi all,

Just soliciting some input from anyone who's used an EverPrecision

2002-series device before (see
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for what I mean, similar to an LPKF S42, but slightly better spec). I've been looking around for a milling machine to create PCBs at home, and I've got a good offer (less than $4k) on a nearly-new (used a dozen times or so) EP2002-H model. That's about 1/3 the cost of buying it new...

On paper it all looks wonderful:

- the machine can do 4mil traces with a 60k rpm spindle (as in

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- it does an automatic surface-map of the part to compensate for defects in the copper-clad FR4 - tool height is automatically figured out and compensated for - it has double-sided support (and therefore multiple layers with some extra effort) - the software is downloadable, so there's no problems there - the guy I'd be buying from sounds genuine, and open to helping me out if there are problems after the sale.

Before spending that sort of cash, though, I was just wondering if there was anyone with experience with the thing to give me some background - I've not heard of the manufacturer before (though they seem to have been around a while)...

I'm aware that this is probably more expensive than using a board- house, but for me it's not the monetary expense that's the crucial thing, it's the time it takes to get a board back ready to start soldering. Even if you pay $$$ to get a fast turnaround, it's still slow compared to an hour or two on the mill. Actually, given that my last board cost ~$200 (Eurocard size, 2-day service, PCB-pool), it doesn't take *so* many of them to pay for the mill...

Thanks for any help, Simon.

--------------------- PS: Please don't tell me to just use toner-transfer / chemical etching. If it works for you, then great, I'm happy that's the case. I've never managed to get the knack, and my results are too variable. I'm sure it's entirely my own fault, but I've tried it over and over, and never managed to get a "do this and it'll always work perfectly" process down. I'm trying the milling approach *after* exhausting my patience for the chemical approach.

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I can't believe you would get the end product quality that modern day electronics demands with a machine like that... Are you so pushed that you can't wait a couple of days for prototypes? I use PCB express in the usa. send the plots in the afternoon, get the boards 2 days later....pcb pool seems a poor service( I'm in the UK) How do they achieve 4 thou track and gap? Is it a laser head??? Never seen a

4 thou router :)
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Not had problems from UK with PCB Pool/Beta layout, and have used them for several years, last batch was for 150 deg C boards. But smallest I normally do 0.2mm track and gap.

They claim to have 0.1 mm isolating mill bits, but I wonder how many you will go through as the smaller bits (drills/mill/etc..) I find wear out or break quicker.

Paul Carpenter          | paul@pcserviceselectronics.co.uk
    PC Services
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Paul Carpenter




I don't have a problem with PCB-pool either, they're a good layout service. I just don't want to wait so long.

Case in point: I've just had a week off work, I'd prepared, and sent a PCB out so it was delivered on-time for me to start building on it, and I found that I'd placed one of the modules inverted (I'd placed it onto the motherboard as if it were from below, rather than above). There are 100 pins on that module, including some direct connects to power signals and ground. The motherboard is a coaster :( It takes 10 minutes to redo the part footprint in Eagle to correct the error, and

4 days (at best possible return, 2 day turnaround, 2 day courier to USA) to get that motherboard re-made.

In fact, the design has to be there by 8:30 a.m to get the 2-day turnaround (I was working till 2:00am over here in CA and missed the deadline by a couple of hours, so the clock started ticking on Tuesday... So, it's now Friday on my week off, and the board has just turned up. Frustrating doesn't even begin to describe it.

Yes, I know. It's entirely my fault. Yes, I could use a US board-house to reduce that time lag, but (a) I'm familiar with the requirements of PCB-pool because I've used them a lot, and (b) they take Eagle BRD files directly which removes one of the variables - trying to get a new process down with the CAM system in Eagle to fit in with a new board-house's requirements would probably have taken the extra few days anyway...

I think the surface-map thing will help here - it figures out for itself where the copper is thicker or the board is warped slightly. I think most of the tools breaking are due to extra stresses placed on the tool when it hits an unexpected resistance. Of course, tools also just break, and delicate tools break more often than robust ones, but I think this will help.

To be fair, I'm not expecting to be pushing the limits of what the thing can do. The finest components I tend to work with are the 0.5mm parts, and not so many of them - this is all at-home stuff, so I try to make it as easy to solder as possible... :)

Anyway, this isn't answering my question... Anyone ? :)


Reply to

(Bump) No-one at all ? [sigh]

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(Final bump) Really - no-one has *ever* used one of these things ? ...

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Not me, but I do see CNC equipment discussed on rec.crafts.metalworking. You imght try posting a message there and crossposting to sci.electronics.basics and sci.electronics.design.

Hope this helps...

Frank McKenney

-- It is better to wear out than to rust out. -- Bishop Richard Cumberland

-- Frank McKenney, McKenney Associates Richmond, Virginia / (804) 320-4887 Munged E-mail: frank uscore mckenney ayut mined spring dawt cahm (y'all)

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Frnak McKenney

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