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Cutting blank Printed Circuit Board

Discussion in 'Hobby Electronics' started by Charles L, Nov 26, 2004.

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  1. Charles L

    Charles L Guest

    Has anyone got any tips or suggestions on the best way to cut a blank single
    sided PCB to size. I require a blank 300mm by 150mm as a 300mm by 300mm PCB
    is too large so I'll have to cut it in half.

    Charles L
     
  2. KLR

    KLR Guest



    I recall scoring it with a stanley knife on both sides using a
    straight edge as a guide - and then carefully snapping it along the
    score line. Usually sitting it on a table with the score line along
    the edge and bending it down carefully is a good way to do it.

    Other methods involving hacksaw or jigsaw (on a slow cutting speed
    with fine tooth blades) could be used but its hard to get a straight
    edge by these means I find, unless you are skilful with these tools.
    Also if the blade jams, you have good chance of cracking the PCB
    material easily.


    Professionally I believe that its done with a guillotine for PCB use,
    but doubt this is worth buying for limited home use.
     
  3. Don McKenzie

    Don McKenzie Guest

    A decent pair of tin snips will do it in seconds, however there will be a little
    "tearing" along the edge of the board. If you have tracks too close, you may
    damage them.

    But if it is a simple matter of cutting the board in half and the quality of the
    edge is of no real concern, SNIP IT!

    Works a treat for those boards that need trimming to squeeze into a plastic
    project box.

    Don...



    --
    Don McKenzie
    E-Mail Contact Page: http://www.e-dotcom.com/ecp.php?un=Dontronics

    VoIP USB/RJ11 Use Any Phone http://www.dontronics.com/phoneconnector.html
    USB to RS232 Converter that works http://www.dontronics.com/usb_232.html
     
  4. The edges can be cleaned up with sand paper or a file if you want a neater
    finish.
     
  5. Bushy

    Bushy Guest

    I've also used an angle grinder to cut smaller boards. Although it works,
    you have to feed it very slowly, and it will leave burn marks on the
    fibreglass substrate whenever it gets hot. I do this for one of my customers
    who needs replacement small boards 1" x 1.5" to fit a sensor and then hand
    draw the 5 tracks and colour in the earth area with a resist pen. It's the
    quickest way to cut multiple layers of boards at the same time out of one
    12" x 12" blank board.

    If you have a steady hand, and keep it slow, allowing the board to stay
    cool, it cuts very nicely and you won't see any burn marks. Maybe a wet tile
    cutting saw would do a really nice job and you would be able to feed a bit
    faster.

    Rubbing the clamped together boards on the cheapshop orbital sander with a
    bit of 400 wet and dry removes the last of the marks, and if you want them
    to have polished edges, (maybe for that product photo or demo model?) a bit
    of glass backing for some 1200 wet and dry makes them look fantastic, and
    you can get that warm fuzzy feeling!

    Hope this helps,
    Peter
     
  6. Stanley knife to score it and then snap on a table edge. May help if
    you score on both sides.
    Tin snips and the like tend to warp the board.

    Dave :)
     
  7. dmm

    dmm Guest

    Take the board to a local sheetmetal shop where they'll cut it with their guillotine.
    They'll probably not even charge you for the cut.
     
  8. Johnny

    Johnny Guest

    Use a hacksaw. If you are half competent, it won't be that ugly.

    regards,
    Johnny.
     
  9. Rob

    Rob Guest

    A Dremel with a thin black carbide looking cut-off wheel fitted works really
    well. Fast, clean edge & no burning, it doesn't appear to make too much dust
    either.

    Some of the methods others have mentioned will stuff up the resist coating -
    if pre-coated board is being used of course. The guillotine is definitely he
    ideal way.

    r.
     
  10. Albm&ctd

    Albm&ctd Guest

    I usually end up with a strange shaped board in the middle (a work of
    art really) after taking all the other various sized boards from the
    straight sides. I thought about making a saw from a 12 volt thermofan
    motor with a simple pwm speed control. Would anyone know of thin
    circular blade that would do this, needs to be about 4" (100
    mm)diameter. The idea was to mount it in a frame and push the board
    through it, maybe even dust extraction.

    Al
    2004 insult page awaits your contribution
    http://kwakakid.cjb.net/insult.html
     
  11. engygirl

    engygirl Guest


    Yep, this is what I use all the time. Very quick and neat.I suspect the
    dust is not very good to breathe tho.
     
  12. Andy

    Andy Guest


    Hi Al,

    I remember seeing what I think was called a "continuous rim diamond
    wheel" or similiar. I saw a boat bulider using one to cut through
    fibreglass. It was installed on a standard 100mm angle grinder and it
    made quite a narrow cut. Maybe this type of blade would suit your
    purpose?.

    Andy
     
  13. Albm&ctd

    Albm&ctd Guest

    Sounds good, I'll check Bunnings out. The cutting wheel would be the
    first place to start, then I'll get a shaft made up to mount it on.

    Al

    I don't take sides. It's more fun to insult everyone.
    http://kwakakid.cjb.net/insult.html
     
  14. Russ

    Russ Guest

    If you have a "Gasweld" franchise nearby, you should check out their tile
    cutter - it has a diamond blade and iI magine would be great for cutting
    PCBs as it has a little table, and from memory it was remarkably cheap.
     
  15. Rob

    Rob Guest

    IIRC they start are < 1mm thick and about $25 at Bunnings. I think they are
    intended for cutting tiles / ceramics.

    rob
     
  16. Bully

    Bully Guest

    I've always found a laminex cutter the way to go. Similar to the Stanley
    knife, score the PCB both sides then simply break along the score marks and
    polish the edges with fine sandpaper if required. I found it easier to
    scribe a straight line with this than a knife.

    Bully
     
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