This is the Mantis9 PCB mill. It’s the first time we’ve featured the project, but it’s already well known by some as it keeps popping up in the comments for other CNC mill projects. Yes, it’s made out of wood — which some frown upon — but we’re happy with the build instructions and the especially the price tag (parts as low as $85).
We did feature an earlier revision of the hardware back in 2010. Subsequent versions changed the frame to use an open-front design, but it’s the build techniques that saw the biggest evolution. The problem was getting the holes for the parallel rods to align accurately. In the end it’s a simple operation that solves the problem; clamp both boards together and drill the holes at the same time. A drill press is used for all of the fabrication, ensuring that the holes are perpendicular to the surface of the boards. From there the rods are given some bronze bushings and pressed into place. Only then are the platforms secured to the bushings using epoxy. This is to ensure that the bushings don’t bind from poor alignment. We think it should end up having less play in it than other builds that use drawer slides.
Check out a PCB milling run in the clip after the break.