P15311: PCB Router

Problem Definition

Table of Contents

Project Summary

Printed circuit boards use etched conductive tracks to connect electronic components. Historically, this etching is outsourced for fabrication, which induces long lead times and makes multiple board artwork spins non-existent due to very high cost. A prior MSD team developed a working model of a machine that can rout prototype boards in-house, but requires some performance improvements.

The goals of the project now are to analyze this current model and build on it by making improvements on debris collection, auto homing, system and process flow, user-friendly controls and possibly noise level. The most notable constraint based on the previous group’s work will be cost. The expected end result will be a refined router that can precisely etch features for finer pitched SMD, runs more smoothly, leaves behind little to no debris, and requires minimal operator skill and time.


Project Goals and Key Deliverables

• Analyze the design of the current router and identify all improvement areas.

• Modify the design to improve operator controls, setup automation, debris, and noise management.

• Define and document clear procedures from use scenarios and personal experience.

• Compile a quick start guide, user manual, troubleshooting guide, maintenance schedule, and replacement parts list.

Customer Requirements (Needs)


Engineering Requirements (Metrics & Specifications)



Our team must first understand the current state of the machine and identify problem areas. Changes will be made as areas are identified. As we already have a functional machine our focus will be on design, documentation and improvement aspects of the project. Will also look into potential outside customers. Our budget is $2000 which may be an issue because the previous team exceeded this amount.

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