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PCB Drill

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by [email protected], Oct 16, 2006.

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  1. Guest

    I've been drilling PCBs for years with a regular handheld electric
    drill and non-carbide bits. I've had surprisingly good results and
    broke very few bits. But holding that drill does get old after about
    100 holes.

    I'm looking for an alternative solution to this. A drill press at looks decent for 150-200 USD. How about a Dremel?
    This seems like an ideal solution, but I've been reading a lot about
    the Dremel drill press stands that aren't precise enough (too much
    wobble for carbide bits). Ebay has a lot of super-cheap small drill
    presses, but the price makes me think they're junk.

    What does everyone do, besides pay a PCB house?
  2. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Pay a PCB house :)

    Anyhow, I'd just check out a Drill-Press stand at Lowe's or HD. You
    could even buy it, try it out and return if not satisfied. Provided you
    didn't scratch it or anything like that.

    My dream some day would be one of those micro lathes. Well, got to have

    If you need really good tools for precision jobs ask a jeweler. They
    know what works.
  3. I'd be inclined to look for a high speed model - maybe air driven?
  4. Luhan

    Luhan Guest

    Here is my setup - it works quite well....

    The drill stand is quite accurate.

  5. John  Larkin

    John Larkin Guest

    A small drill press or the Dremel with the drill-press attachment will
    work. Consider staying with steel drills, as the carbides break easily
    if speed and feed rates are not exact.

  6. ehsjr

    ehsjr Guest

    Dremel with dremel drill press attachment and
    dental burrs. The problem with breaking bits
    doesn't occur with dental burrs, in my experience.

  7. I drill boards with Dremel. When installed in their drill press it's just
    fine for carbide bits. I never broke one, even the tiniest bits are fine
    with that setup.
  8. Use surface mount and forget about holes altogether?

    Of course, if you make dual layered boards, you still need holes, but
    at least you'll need fewer of them.
  9. Nico Coesel

    Nico Coesel Guest

    I disagree. I have a Proxon drill + drill-press. It is similar to the
    Dremel stuff. I've drilled thousands of holes with it using carbide
    drills. In over 15 years I broke 1 or 2 drills. Steel drills get dull
    too quickly (after about 30 holes) when drilling epoxy/fiberglass
  10. Nico Coesel

    Nico Coesel Guest

    If you need dual layer, paying a PCB house maybe cheaper. These days
    you can have a lot of PCBs made before the 'investment' and hassle of
    having your own etching equipment pays itself back.
  11. In my experience carbide bits with thick shafts (3mm) break easily when not
    perfectly centered. You cannot seek for the hole in the copper island. So I
    tend to use carbide bits with thin shafts, as thin as the holes they are
    suppose to drill, normally 0.8mm. I ever started a project to use a camera
    and monitor for perfect centering but it is on hold. Busy, busy, busy with
    other things.

    petrus bitbyter
  12. ..
    Pay a PCB house!!

    Considering the time, effort, annoyance, storage space, ruined clothes, the
    tedious getting and disposing of chemicals and the often sub-standard results
    *I* got with home-made PCB's, I decided that the PCB house is well worth the
  13. Leon

    Leon Guest

    They are better quality than the Dremel and the Minicraft drill and
    stand I use; the bearings don't have so much slop in them. My Minicraft
    drill has nearly 1 mm play at the chuck, but I don't break too many
    tungsten bits.

  14. Gary Peek

    Gary Peek Guest

    I have been using one for 20 years. It has some wobble, but I have
    never broken a bit because of it. I have always liked it.

    Gary Peek
    Industrologic, Inc.
  15. Barry Lennox

    Barry Lennox Guest

    I have used a Dremel in it's stand, but found there was a fair bit of
    slop and wobble. I now use a 3-speed Proxxon 28121 with used carbide
    bits discarded by PCB houses. With the right contacts, you can get
    unlimited supplies for free. Start schmoozing.
    If you value your time it would be cheaper to use a PCB house, but
    sometimes your time is better considered free. All depends on your
    interests vs desire for income.

    Barry Lennox
  16. WiseOne

    WiseOne Guest

    What sort of price does a PCB cost for making a board?

    Can you give an example?

  17. Tom Bruhns

    Tom Bruhns Guest

    I can drill with small carbide drills in one of the particular Dremel
    drill press stands I have, though I've shimmed it so the table doesn't
    wobble so much. Also, I've shimmed the Dremel collet so that the
    drills run true. This is for #80 and smaller drills, the sizes I most
    commonly drill for "vias" in my mainly surface-mount work. But I like
    the drill press I have access to at work a bit better, even though it
    can't turn much above 10k RPM.

    I've thought of making a better stand for the Dremel (or for a Sioux
    1/8" air powered die grinder--love that 50,000+ RPM!). Since the
    travel distance required is very small, you can do it by making an "A"
    shaped frame, from wood even, mounting the drill motor to the apex of
    the A, and attaching the opposite ends firmly to a base. You can use a
    cam or lever arrangement to push the apex of the A (and the drill)
    down. If the legs of the A are a foot long or so, the offset that the
    arc that the drill swings through in drilling a 1/16" board is
    inconsequential, if the axis of the drill is aligned with the direction
    of travel accurately. With a single A frame, there is nothing to hold
    the axis of the drill motor perpendicular to the base (the frame can
    twist), but with two A's offset vertically by a few inches, the axis is
    also held rigid. Then only the bearings and collet contribute
    significant wobble. Springiness of the wood will return the drill to
    the "rest" position. The materials are cheap, but the construction
    would have to be done carefully to get things aligned right.

    I've broken plenty of drills over the years, but it's mostly because
    either I'm being careless or the drill is getting dull after a few
    thousand holes. Even without shmoozing PCB manufacturers (no longer
    common in every large town now anyway), you can get drills for $.50
    each or less.

  18. Nico Coesel

    Nico Coesel Guest

    There are dozens of companies out there with on-line calculators. Try or to name just 2 examples.
  19. Leon

    Leon Guest

    I keep meaning to make something like your 'A' frame out of a piece of
    Al channel with something like Oilite bushings to keep it as rigid as

    I use reground drills, a bit shorter than the new ones but fine for my
    purposes and a lot cheaper than new ones.

  20. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    FWIW, I've used a Dremel drill press, and always got good results. A real
    Dremel drill press thing is pretty stable, and I don't think they're
    anywhere near a hundred bucks.

    Good Luck!
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