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Which Drill Press for PC Boards?

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Lumpy, Jul 29, 2005.

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  1. Lumpy

    Lumpy Guest

    Recommend a drill press for drilling PC board
    holes, please.

    I drill boards about 3x2" with maybe 40 holes,
    maybe a dozen boards per week, max.

    I have a big Craftsman now (1/2" chuck) but
    it seems to be a little cumbersome when
    setting up for .100 spacing.

    Any thoughts appreciated.

  2. Tom Biasi

    Tom Biasi Guest

    I would use a smaller , more precise drill or perhaps a mini milling machine
    You can us an X,Y table on the drill press to make life easier.
    If you drill more than one size hole, a multi head tool would be nice but
    for the quantity you are doing probably not worth the money.
    I used a Unimat combo mini lathe and mill for most of my PC work and I was
  3. Chris

    Chris Guest

    Hi, L. The faster the drill bit spins, the better. It's easier to
    control the drill bit, because a sharp drill bit at high speed won't
    skate around. If you've got a few bucks, try a Dremel. They have a
    small drill press/holder available as an accessory which makes the hand
    drill ideal for small PCB drilling jobs. Don't use it without the
    little drill press, though. You can't keep the drill perfectly
    perpendicular by hand, and you'll break a lot of drill bits.

    The Dremel is good for a lot of other things, too. It might be worth
    it for you.

    Good luck
  4. vladdy

    vladdy Guest

    Recommend a drill press for drilling PC board
    A few years ago I made a 'relatively' simple PCB drill from a couple
    of linear slides, and a cheap dremel style drill.. Basically it
    drilled from the bottom up, and a centered guide pin allowed me to
    align the holes from the top [usually component only, no copper]
    layer..I made a foot pedal to lift the drill, and just held it with
    both hands, maybe 1/2" total travel. Turned out to work fairly well,
    quick and easy to aligh, as well no vibration on the hands, and the
    drill was straight.. The guide pin and the drill both moved up when I
    pressed on the foot pedal, when drilling through the copper first it
    seemed to make a noticably cleaner hole..

  5. Bob Masta

    Bob Masta Guest

    I'd strongly consider a hand-held Dremel
    instead of a press, unless these boards
    have to have perfectly vertical holes. And
    never, never use a drill bit. Drills for PC
    boards need to be made of carbide, and
    they will break at the slightest side load.
    Instead, use a ball-tip dental bur (ask
    your dentist where to get these). They
    will last essentially forever. (My set is
    over 20 years old and still going strong.)
    You will want to lightly center-punch your
    holes first, then you should be able to do
    about one hole per second or two once you
    get the hang of it. You can only drill one
    board at a time this way, but it's hard to
    beat it for speed or convenience.

    More details at

    Best regards,

    Bob Masta

    D A Q A R T A
    Data AcQuisition And Real-Time Analysis
    Home of DaqGen, the FREEWARE signal generator
  6. Fred Abse

    Fred Abse Guest

    Something using the Dremel tool, perhaps, or using a router motor. Small
    (.040") diameter drills, especially solid tungsten carbide ones need lots
    of RPM (20,000-30,000) if you're going to get any sort of precision and
    life out of them. It's all down to feet per minute peripheral speed.
  7. ehsjr

    ehsjr Guest

    Thanks to you mentioning the dental burs a while ago, I searched
    around for them. I got mine from Pearson dental supply.

    They're not cheap, due to $25 minimum order requirement.
    As I recall, they were 10 for $12.00.


  8. Lumpy

    Lumpy Guest

    I'm looking at pearson's online catalog
    as well as others. None of them seem to
    use the sizing convention mentioned at - where 010=1.0mm.

    Is there some other kind of measurement
    convention that the dental places use?

  9. steamer

    steamer Guest

    --Get a Criterion; they're made in Sonora, CA and they're slick
    as snot. I've had one for years; finally sent it in for a little
    maintenance and they went above and beyond at no extra charge; for all
    intents and purposes I got back a new machine. Good company.
  10. ehsjr

    ehsjr Guest

    I don't know what they use. It took me a lot of searching to
    determine that what I wanted was M580010 Midwest Carbide Bur No. 1
    That seems to be an ideal size for a PC board drill. I would
    recommend getting a larger size as well as the No. 1, but I can't
    say what size it should be. As a guess, I would say order No. 1,
    No. 2 and No. 3. That brings you above the $25.00 minimum.
    The coding I did figure out: FG = friction grip and SS = short
    shank. You want FG and you don't want SS.

    You could go to a different brand, like Miltex, to get over
    the 25 dollar minimum with 2 packs of burs instead of 3.
    For example. Miltex costs $13.05 for a 10 pack of one size.
    Add a second size and its $26.10.

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