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Drilling PCBs

Discussion in 'PCB Layout, Design and Manufacture' started by mal007, Jul 12, 2011.

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  1. mal007


    Jul 8, 2011
    Not sure if this is the right area to post this, but basically i'm after peoples input/advice on drilling pcbs. What is the best drill/drill bits to use? I've got my eyes on two drills at the moment, one of which is a dremel and the other is a cheap 9.99 job (but which states that it can be used for drilling pcbs). From the reviews of the dremel, looks like it would be useless for pcbs as the drill bits wobble a bit in the drill. I'm also interested in making my own cnc router machine for accurately drilling plastic boxes, possibly pcbs etc. Who already drills pcbs/has a router and what drill do they use? Cheers
  2. davenn

    davenn Moderator

    Sep 5, 2009
    I have always used a 12VDC hand held PCB drill using drillbits from 0.5 to 1.0mm
    occassionally 2mm etc for much larger holes.
    for the hobbist its a great way to go and doesnt take too long to drill up to ~100 holes

  3. shrtrnd


    Jan 15, 2010
    DO NOT use the Dremel, the rotation speed is MUCH to fast, and you will dull
    your drill bits faster than you can drill the holes.
    I know, I did it.
  4. alfa88


    Dec 1, 2010

    I use a Dremel, Dremel drill press stand and an optional adjustable chuck. The Dremel is a variable speed. I got drill bits via EBay for cheap. Have a nice sharp Xacto knife handy should you need to 'center any' holes.
  5. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    Jan 21, 2010
    create your pads with a very small hole in the copper -- I'd start with 0.5mm. That makes it really easy to get the drill started on the centre of the pad. That makes a difference for DIL packages.
  6. daddles


    Jun 10, 2011
    First, you should choose the correct drilling speed; this depends on the material being drilled and the material the drill is made from. You can look up "recommended surface speeds" on the web or consult handbooks like "Machinery's Handbook". I know from experience that most people who drill small holes use speeds that are too low, especially if they're using carbide drills.

    One of the major problems with drilling small holes (especially if you're using carbide drills) is that the drills are very easy to break with side forces. For drilling a bunch of holes, you really want to use some kind of drill press setup.

    The cheap devices (including Dremel tools) often have lots of runout at the collet or chuck. This increases hole size and drill wear and makes it more likely you'll break the drill bit.
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