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April 18, 2009

Fireball V90 CNC routes Hacked Gadgets into an Old Circuit Board

at 7:04 am. Filed under Computer Hacks, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks, Funny Hacks


I had mentioned in a few posts along the way that I would be getting a CNC machine shortly. Well as you can see it’s here and working. 🙂 The CNC machine that I purchased is the Fireball V90 CNC machine. If you are a Nuts and Volts reader, this was the one that they featured a few months ago (PDF). In the coming weeks there will be some articles covering the construction of the kit, wiring up the controller and configuring the software that is needed to operate the machine.


This is the first piece that I made other than some basic testing. I used a carbide circuit board routing bit to cut the image, as you can see there is lots of room for improvement. I don’t have a proper hold down system yet, this was routed using some masking tape (and my hands) to hold the item in place. The alignment of the text is a bit off and you can see that there are a few letters that are not quite right. The letter deformation was caused by the board moving slightly when the machine hit some hard items such as chips and capacitors. If I ever make another one of these I would reverse the text being cut out so that the component side would be the normally visible side. I didn’t think the cut components would look so interesting. Make sure you have a look at some of the images below, the ones that have cuts through the center of a chip looks very interesting.


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18 Responses to “Fireball V90 CNC routes Hacked Gadgets into an Old Circuit Board”

  1. svofski Says:

    Those half-removed SSOP chips look very pretty. Congratulations!

  2. Turd Says:

    Cool! So, what ya gunna make? 😀

  3. Fireball V90 CNC routes Hacked Gadgets into an Old Circuit Board | DIY How To Says:

    […] (more…) Leave a comment […]

  4. Alan Parekh Says:

    Hi Svofski,

    I was pleasantly surprised at how well it went through the chips. One of my original ideas was to only cut through the circuit board and then de-solder the chips and components that were in the way.

  5. Alan Parekh Says:

    Hey Turd,

    Glad to see you got a site going! First real project will probably be a crazy clock idea that is begging to be built in mind. The CNC will probably only be for the clock case in this case though. Stay tuned and you will see. 🙂

  6. Turd Says:

    “Glad to see you got a site going!” Thanks 😀
    I can’t wait to see the clock that you’ll make.
    This is as for as I ever got with a cnc 😆

  7. Alan Parekh Says:

    Looks like a good start Turd. Are those drawer slides? I was in at Princess Auto a few weeks ago and they had some monster drawer slides that were real long and had no play. I was thinking they would make for some nice and cheap CNC rails.

  8. Turd Says:

    Thats where I got those 😆
    I love that place!

  9. The voice in your head Says:

    Think it still works? 😉

  10. Alan Parekh Says:

    Hey Voice,

    It should be fine, I may have to touch up a few solder joints that may have been damaged when I removed the tape but other than that it doesn’t look like there was any critical damage. If there turns out to be more wrong than that I will just send it in for warranty. 🙂

  11. Robert Says:

    Awesome! That looks so wild. Just one more idea for cool Hacks. I have never seen a circut board cut.(just busted)// The pic’s give so much detail! Great Hack! How did the bit perform? Did you have any issues with breakage?

  12. Alan Parekh Says:

    Hi Robert,

    The bit worked very well, it’s still very sharp and it never felt like it was going to break. The Dremel did get loaded down though, I would think that it lost about 30% of its RPMs when it hit a chip.

  13. FrankG Says:

    Hey Alan,

    I’m excited for you – a CNC Mill!!! what a handy toy, er I mean piece of critical equipment
    to have for your shop…

    If you want to pay premium $$$ for some premium cutters, try “Drill-City”, or buy super cheap
    cutters by the bag from Electronics Goldmine…

    Does the mill come with proprietory design software or can you use any Vector based graphics
    editor, provided it exports to DXF…


  14. Alan Parekh Says:

    Hi Frank,

    Yes, I have a very important machine which just happens to be so much fun to play with. 🙂

    Thanks for the source tips, we have used Drill City in the past, I would cringe every time I snapped a bit because of the price…

    No proprietary software. I am just using Mach 3 to cut out G-code.

  15. Stu Says:

    Wow I am so jealous!!
    I love watching CNC machines at work (did u record a vid of it doing its stuff!?) I’m amazed at how well it ate thru those chips, and how smooth the edges were on some.
    I’m building a CNC machine myself right now, oddly I also had the idea of using drawer slide rails too and I think I might be a bit further down the line than ‘turd’ (nice name) and his slide rails, I made a basic steel frame bolted together meccano style, laid the drawer slides down for X axis, and I’m using clear acrylic layers cos its strong stuff. Added Y rails on top of the X to go the other way and topped that with a 10mm acrylic layer. Its roughly based on one of the designs that appears on instructables.
    Unfortunately with all that steel and perspex adding to the weight, it sags a bit as the axis moves along the rail, its okay if you dont drive it along too far tho. I’m thinking of a redesign.
    I recently test drove 2 axes using Routout CNC (routoutcnc.com) stepper drivers and some german NEMA23 steppers, and got it to pencil draw a circle onto paper using Mach3, its kind of like watching your baby come to life, its a great feeling!
    Speaking of this, isn’t your Fireball chassis essentially made up of MDF? I would have thought this would be the last stuff you’d use, as it would warp and the fibres compress over time as pressures are applied, and the temperature/humidity changes. Thats why I went with 8mm or 10mm acrylic sheets which retain their dimensions very well.
    But it may then have ended up costing a lot more money I suppose!
    Thanks for the article, I’m looking forward to seeing what you make with it!

  16. Fireball V90 CNC Router Assembly - Hacked Gadgets - DIY Tech Blog Says:

    […] comes in kit form requiring assembly. There was a sneak peak of its capability last week. See the text that the Fireball V90 routed into an old circuit board, with a PCB routing bit the Fireball V90 CNC Router easily went through everything that was in its […]

  17. Alan Parekh Says:

    Hi Stu,

    Your comment was stuck in a spam filter until right now… Sorry no vid of the process. You are right there are lots of better things that a CNC machine can be made from but MDF is very stable, strong and inexpensive. That is what allows the machine to be so economical. If it were to be subjected to very high humidity I am sure I would have issues eventually but if it is treated well I think it will remain quite accurate.

  18. Custom Machining Says:

    Nice toy you got there. I was looking for a custom made CNC but i think what you presented here could do the trick for me too.

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