I didn't give up on the Roland CNC. Instead, I tried to make an SMD version of the simple 'Haunted Eyes' circuit for Haunted House.
As it turns out, it wasn't that simple to convert the through hole design to surface mount. After this experience, I think the future versions of this circuit I create will be through hole.
It was a good experience learning of all the advantages and pitfalls of SMD design and milling circuits. After the semester calms down I want to start work on a breakout board (for motor control & for LED control) for the LightBlue Bean Bluetooth module.
The milling process was successful, but I wasn't sure about the depth of the cuts. I was very careful to position the end mill. I had to run the dimension cut 3 times to cut out the board.
Tinning was an easy process.
And while tinning it was a good time to get that damn adhesive off.
Using the SMD station was okay, I found the suction system to be more difficult to use than tweezers.
When I first connected the circuit, nothing happened. Under the microscope I found a number of shorts. Including one under the capacitor. This was one of the worse off boards:
Working on the other three milled circuits I ran into different problems. It seems that often I applied far too much solder paste and often missed the connection between the pads when I placed the components.
My attempts to rework the connections resulted in some visually unpleasant boards.
In the end I got one working version out of the four boards I milled.