LPKF Protomat PCB Milling Machine

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LPKF Protomat PCB Milling Machine
Owner/Loaner PS:One
Make/Model LPKF Protomat 91S
Arrival Date 2016
Usability ?
Contact Anna Yu
Where Electronics Lab
Authorization Needed yes
Hackable no
Estimated Value $400
Host Area Electronics

LPKF Protomat PCB Milling Machine Area: Electronics https://wiki.pumpingstationone.org/wiki/LPKF_Protomat_PCB_Milling_Machine


This device is a CNC router, specifically meant for the creation of custom PCBs. Due to the very proprietary and tightly woven nature of the software designed for this machine, it's place in the space is currently up for discussion.

Current interface is a RS-232C serial.


Manual: http://www.lpkfusa.com/downloads/support/docs/man_95s.pdf
Software: BoardMaster 3.0
Download: http://www.lpkfusa.com/support/files/software/BoardMaster%203.0.143.zip
Manual: http://www.lpkfusa.com/support/files/manuals/BoardMaster%203.0-e-1-0.pdf
Additional HowTos: http://www.lpkfusa.com/support/product/Product.aspx?pid=141&cid=53
Registration Details: ???


  • Investigate if local pc even has serial ports. Possibly request serial->usb adapter.
  • Attempt to install/run/fabricate with original software.
  • Investigate electronics replacement with arduino/ramps shield or similar.
  • Investigate original software's import/export functionality.
  • Create simple enclosure /w vacuum, for working with glass fiber materials.

Update from July 2nd, 2017: I was able to get the machine running. I installed Windows XP on VirtualBox in order to get Boardmaster running. Other than that, one must set up VirtualBox to allow communication between the Physical serial port and the emulated one, making sure to set FIFO correctly and the baud rate. When you install BoardMaster, it has a long list of devices it can use, the correct one 'ProtoMat 91s' is a few pages past the first page of these devices. Once that is done, I followed these steps:

1. Turn off ProtoMat and the physical computer.

2. Turn on Protomat

3. Turn on physical computer

4. Boot up Windows XP on VIrtualBox from an off state.

5. In BoardMaster, go to Configuration -> Settings, the click 'Unlock', then 'Initialize'

6. Load up a testing design (there are a few preinstalled)

7. Select a layer, press +All to add all cuts to the queue, the hit 'Start'.


- The bits I got from Inventables are too short to work correctly with the machine in it's intended configuration. It looks like the correct size (length?) of the bits is 36mm

- This causes most of what you are getting out of this machine (highly reliable depth cutting) to not really work, as one has to adjust the depth by hand on each bit change (and there are lots of bit changes), and most likely is not good for the bits

i3 Detroit has more info about correct operation here: https://www.i3detroit.org/wiki/PCB_Mill as well as a proof-of-concept for open-source control of the machine.

At this point I think the next step may be to get some of the correctly sized bits and work from there, attempting to do another test cut.