Brighten up your PCB drilling station

Being able to see what you’re doing can be the hardest part of drilling the through holes in those freshly etched printed circuit boards. We don’t know why we didn’t come up with this, but [Markus Gebhard] solved his shadowy woes with his 20-LED Dremel light ring. Honestly, how many times have we seen lights rings in photography without putting it together that a light ring is perfect for this purpose. So kudos to [Markus], now we’ve got to go and dig up some surface mount LEDs and uncork the copper chloride.

PCB drill press on a budget

An accurate drill press is an essential tool for making your own through-hole printed circuit boards at home. Reader [Josh Ashby] offers up a solid design using scrap bin materials.

A major issue with PCB drilling is that even the slightest horizontal play will snap the delicate carbide drill bit. Hobbyist-grade tools such as Dremel’s drill press attachment are usually too sloppy for this task, while a more precise instrument might set you back a couple hundred bucks.

[Josh’s] design uses a nylon “sled” moving vertically in an aluminum u-channel track. Most of these materials were salvaged or were acquired inexpensively from a local hardware store, and assembled in less than a day. Surprisingly, this low-tech approach has proven sufficiently smooth that he’s yet to break a bit while drilling. And the entire setup, including the knockoff Harbor Freight rotary tool, cost less than the wobbly name-brand accessory alone.

CNC brought to you by zip ties

Gimp skillz.

[lucassiglo21] let us know about his finished 3 axis CNC (Translation via Google). While home CNCs are nothing new, we really liked this masterpiece. The CNC is entirely custom, from the electronic control boards (connected to a PC via parallel port) to the physical mill (with an end result of 30x30x15cm workable area). Our favorite part is the use of screw/band clamp zip ties to hold the Dremel – a true showing of hacker geekyness. For those who haven’t seen a CNC drill a circle before (and honestly, who hasn’t?), check a video after the break.

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Drilling precise grids

precision_hole_drilling

Drilling precise grids without a CNC machine can be tough to pull off. [Ookseer] has come up with a nifty method for dilling aligned holes with a drill press. He uses a right-angle jig on a Dremel drill press with stacks of business cards as spacers. The same number of cards is added between the substrate and the jig to space each new hole evenly. This method comes in handy when drilling grids in an enclosure for speakers, temperature sensors, or for an aesthetically pleasing design.

Steampunk vibrator

steampunk_vibrator

[Ani Niow] built this steam powered vibrator. It has a milled stainless steel shell with a brass motor structure. The motor is a Tesla turbine made from a stack of Dremel diamond cutoff wheels. This drives an off-center weight to create the vibration. She tested it using a pressure cooker as the steam source. It worked, but became so hot it had to be held using welding gloves. It works just as well with compressed air though. You can see the device at the Femina Potens Art Gallery in San Francisco or later this month at Maker Faire.

[via Laughing Squid]

UPDATE: [Ani] responds in the comments.

Kindle screen transplant


[blakebevin]‘s sister shattered the screen on his Amazon Kindle, so he decided to try replacing it with the screen from a Sony Reader. He disassembled the Sony Reader and used a Dremel to mill down most of the aluminum tabs on the E Ink screen. The screen plugs into the same harness as the original Kindle screen the only problem is fit. The new screen interferes with some of the button movement and without trimming the case will bulge a little. Performance wise the screen ghosts on page turn and [blakebevin] assumes this is due to older technology. We’d hope to never have to do this, but it’s good to know the transplant option is there and not very difficult.

Home made PCB drill press


[yellowduck] took some fantastic initiative with this home made PCB drill press. Many people have a rotary tool already. Just add some scrap wood and four hinges. The drill press isn’t perfect; it pivots a little as it lowers. This shouldn’t be a problem for drilling printed circuit boards though. The PCB should be thin enough for the pivot to have little effect. After some test runs, he added a lamp for better lighting and intends to add a return spring and foot switch. It’s definitely a better solution than drilling multiple holes with a hand drill.

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