A few questions

I bought a Vevor 1610 benchtop pcb mill initially with the aim of making circuit boards for my electronics projects to get away from using stripboard. But I was struck with the idea of using it as an engraver, and that’s where I have begun. I’ve run my first few cuts and made my first few stuff-ups and now I’m looking for some guidance.

I’m currently using the 30 degree 3 mm conical bits that came with the mill to engrave acrylic. I’ve guestimated a 0.5 mm cut depth and about 400 mm/min feed rate with the spindle speed at nominally 6000 RPM.

I trawled through the posts on speeds and feeds on this forum to get those figures, but I’d be interested to know if they are sensible.

I read on a howto wiki about cutting acrylic with a jigsaw that it’s a good idea to use a solution of sodium bicarbonate as a coolant and lubricant. After getting some re-welding in the cuts I’ve gone that way with the engraver. As a bonus, the coolant keeps most of the debris from the cut from flying around. What do others use for a coolant/lubricant?

Incidentally, I attached a couple of plastic sheets to the front and back of the table to catch the debris that would otherwise fall on the Y axis rails and leadscrew.

I’d like to get an idea of how long a tool bit will last. The mill came with 10, and I learned that plunging one into the table will dramatically shorten it’s life, so when should I be looking at replacing the remaining 9?

The mill came with a Vigotec grbl controller (not the current VG-L7X one) that I have so far not been able to find any details of. Has anyone come across any documentation for this controller?

I read that the rails and leadscrews are supplied covered with a packing grease that should be removed. I’m using a light machine oil to lubricate them. What do others use?


Hi @Pogo !

Welcome to the 1610 club, I got one to do PCB work on too a few years ago. And have had great success with milling and drilling circuits with it.

Mine came with a ER11 collet chuck fitted (the listing for yours shows a brass grubscrew based ‘chuck’), this will limit your choice of bits somewhat unless you fit something similar (or get a even faster spindle with a collet or chuck system pre-installed).

With Acrylic you need lower cutting speeds anyway, and I have had some good results cutting acrylic with good lubrication and careful testing to get the feedrates right.

My bit collection has expanded over time; I initially got more of the standard 50degree V cutters the machine came with, plus some 30degree ones with a 0.1mm tip which improved PCB results when coupled with a 36v spindle upgrade.

These days I use 0.8, and 1.2 mm ‘cornmill’ cutters for both milling tracks and cutting holes + outlines on PCB’s. They work well, are fantastically easy to snap, have 3mm shanks and are very cheap in little boxes of 10. For fine track work I have the 30degree cutters.

This reminds me that I really need to do a ‘show and tell’ on Tulip (my 1612) since I got a little carried away:

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Good idea, I should too!

I found PCB work blunts the simple V cutters really quickly… You can use a whetstone etc to re-touch them as needed (put the bit in a vice, move the stone, do not try the other way around! As the scar on one of my fingers can attest!)

Not readily, but I’m guessing it’s a ATMega328 based GRBL board (aka Arduino Nano); mine came with a ‘Woodpecker 3d’ board; very basic but got the jobs done… Send us a good photo?

I did the same; and just use a light ‘Handyman’ oil from my local thrift store. Some real machine oil would be better but I do not use this machine enough to justify it. I have removed and cleaned the feed and bed shafts + fittings a couple of times as I saw the oil getting contaminated.

Thanks Owen.

Mine came with an ER11 11 chuck. I read that that was a good thing and was more pleased with my purchase. I guess that they are too busy shipping engravers to get around to updating their web page.

My acrylic cutting has turned out rather well, considering. I have figured out that the Z axis isn’t rigid enough. Some cuts don’t quite line up when approached from different ends, and there is an audible pop when the tool runs off the end of the workpiece. I looked at what would be required to stiffen it. That would cost almost as much as I paid for the mill in the first place. It would be better to spend more and buy a stiffer machine. I decided that I had a lot more to learn before I can justify that. I I’ll try further reducing the feed rates. It’s not as though I have a deadline to meet.

Santa will bring me some new bits to try, and that will give me new capabilities. I am currently trying to learn how to use jscut so I can do more with inkscape than outline text and graphics.

Hmmm, I have found that I can use a whetstone to blunt otherwise serviceable tools. I’ll replace them when they are too worn, whatever that might be.

I was hoping that the processor on the controller was an Atmega as I have some experience with Arduinos and might be able to understand what was happening on the board, but a close look at the board shows that it is an STMG030 ARM processor.

Thanks for your helpful replies. I’m encouraged to keep learning. And when the muse next strikes me, maybe my next electronics project will be built on a real circuit board.