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Topics - ktownsend

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I've been trying to learn the ins and outs of CNC routing and Mach3 (I just bought a license last night), and have been trying to mill a 0.02"/0.5mm sheet of anodized aluminum.  I've tried a 45°/'V' 3.17mm carbide bit that worked well on a piece of copper clad FR4, but it absolutely won't go more than about 0.1-0.2mm into the aluminum even if I put the z-depth on the cut to -1.0mm or higher, for example.  When I try to move the bit down manually (with the spindle on of course), it just won't 'enter' the metal.  I also tried a 0.2mm drill bit, but it did exactly what I expected ... snapped on first contact.  (If you even look at them the wrong way, they break though.)  I really want to be able to cut small holes out of 0.008"-0.02"/0.2-0.5mm aluminum, and didn't think it would be a problem, but I'm not really sure how to proceed now.  I'm assuming that it's just my drill bit, since I have a fairly decent spindle (Wolfgang precision spindle .... I forget the model number).  If someone can recommend a drill bit for cutting 'rectangles' out of this kind of thin metal (ideally that can be purchased online), I'd really appreciate it.

For reference sake, I'm trying to cut solder paste stencils out of sheet metal, and I have aluminum, stainless steel and brass to try, in 0.005"/0.02" (brass), 0.01" (stainless steel), and 0.02" (aluminum).


I'm trying to produce solder paste stencils internally to avoid the cost and delays of outsourcing them, and this seems like a natural fit for my CNC mill, but I'm really not sure what kind of aluminum I should be looking for.  I meausred a stencil I have beside me and it is 0.15mm thick, but I'm not sure what type of aluminum it is ... or where in the world I can buy it online.  If anyone has any suggestions on what type of material to use and a potential source, it would be greatly appreciated.


General Mach Discussion / Laser for Cutting PCB Solder Paste Stencil
« on: April 27, 2009, 12:24:45 PM »
I'm interested in converting my CNC Mill to use a laser to cut Solder Paste Stencils for PCBs, but I'm wondering if it's possible to accurately laser cut things down to 8mil?  Can someone suggest (preferrably a reasonably priced) laser that is capable of that kind of resolution, or at least give me an idea of what characteristics I should be looking for?  I'd prefer to cut the stencils in aluminum, but if this isn't possible I could settle for thin plastic transparencies as well.

I've seen some lasers on ebay, but I'm not sure what kind of resolution they offer?

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