Drilling the PCB

Written by Chuck. Posted in Drilling

Before I built a CNC PCB Mill I used to drill boards by hand.  At first I used a Dremel, then I found a cheap small $29 Chinese drill press.  But I still broke bits all the time and my holes were far from perfect.

With the CNC Mill I simply position the board and hit Cycle Start.  Whenever the routine needs a different size drill it shuts down, parks and tell me what drill to install.  It is a dream.

See video below

I buy my PCB drill bits on EBay for very low cost.  I just keep an eye out for an auction closing with a low bid, or a good set with a wide variety.  Over a year I built up a nice collection.


Picture of drills

I keep one of each in a drill rack for easy access, then the remainder I keep an inventory of.  In the rare case that a break a drill I can quickly locate a replacement for the drill rack.

Drill Inventory

In my drill inventory spreadsheet I calculated the fields needed for the pcb-gcode drill rack file.  So it is easy to cut and paste the list into a text file for use with pcb-gcode.

pcb-gcode file (Default.drl)

Here is a picture of the cheap Chinese  drill I used to use for drilling.  I still keep it around for circuit board repairs and other manual tasks.