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'[EE]: What thickness PCB? & cutting?'
2002\11\11@190031 by Tony Harris

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How does one choose what thickness PCB they wish to use?  I have some stuff
that is .064", but I also have some quantity of some REALLY thin copper clad
board.   .032" or maybe less (not sure, my eyes get crosseyed when looking
at it;).  I'd really like to use the .032" stuff I have, but I am not sure
how to determine if a project needs the thicker board.

I have mostly been using .064" (single board purchases and such), but if I
can, I want to use up the other material I have.

Also, on thicker boards, what are you all doing in terms of cutting the
copper clad board?  I still have several 3x5's (or there abouts) but I only
need 3x2's - so far I've been suffering thru hacksawing - anyone have
easier/quicker suggestions?  I have heard of PCB guilliteans (sp?) but I
haven't been able to find small ones in the states (all I seem to find are
"industrial" size units).

Any suggestions would be most appreciated!!

-Tony

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2002\11\11@190846 by Charles Craft

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I've had good luck cutting PCB with a lever blade paper cutter. Not where I
can measure the board material now but it seemed like regular thinkness single
and double-sided PCB material.

chuckc


On Mon, 11 Nov 2002 18:05:29 -0600 Tony Harris <.....tonyKILLspamspam@spam@ELROYNET.COM> wrote:

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2002\11\11@192545 by Rick C.

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Electrically, no real difference. The .032 will flex a little more but if its in
a box, it shouldn't be a problem. It is easier to cut and drill. You can use a
pair of tin snips or heavy duty shears.

The .0625 (1/16) board is more rigid and will need to be cut with something like
a paper cutter and edges cleaned with a file.
Rick

Tony Harris wrote:

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2002\11\11@232045 by Tony Harris

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> I've had good luck cutting PCB with a lever blade paper cutter. Not where
I
> can measure the board material now but it seemed like regular thinkness
single
> and double-sided PCB material.
>
> chuckc

What kind of paper cutter are you using?  the lever blade I picked up won't
cut thru the thicker boards - feels like I'm going to snap the arm (I think
I may have one that just isn't tough enough for this situation) - the
thinner boards cut easy though.

-Tony

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2002\11\11@232240 by Tony Harris

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> Electrically, no real difference. The .032 will flex a little more but if
its in
> a box, it shouldn't be a problem. It is easier to cut and drill. You can
use a
> pair of tin snips or heavy duty shears.

Well, that is definitly good to know, since I have about 10 12x12 double
sided sheets of the thin stuff.

>
> The .0625 (1/16) board is more rigid and will need to be cut with
something like
> a paper cutter and edges cleaned with a file.

What type do you use more often and how do you cut it?

-Tony

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2002\11\12@014724 by Charles Craft

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www.officedepot.com/shop/catalog/sku.asp?ID=330379&LEVEL=SK

Quartet GT II Series Trimmer, 12"

Stack up 15 sheets of paper and compare to your PCB thickness.

On Mon, 11 Nov 2002 22:25:02 -0600 Tony Harris <RemoveMEtonyTakeThisOuTspamELROYNET.COM> wrote:

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2002\11\12@015824 by Roman Black

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Tony Harris wrote:

> Also, on thicker boards, what are you all doing in terms of cutting the
> copper clad board?   I have heard of PCB guilliteans (sp?) but I
> haven't been able to find small ones in the states (all I seem to find are
> "industrial" size units).


Try any decent office supply shop. They sell
hand-lever guillotines in a few sizes and qualities,
about $40 USD should get you a nice big one. Get one
with metal frame (not plastic) and the strongest
lever blade.
There are good ones and flimsy ones. :o)
-Roman

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2002\11\12@023658 by Jesse Lackey

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I destroyed a good $40 paper cutter after 20 cuts of FR4 board.

I've used a grinding / cutting wheel on a dremel to cut boards, but its
very limited due to wheel / dremel body clearances, creates an enormous
amount of fiberglass dust, and often breaks wheels spectacularly.

I still don't have any sort of good means to cut up PCBs.  Its a
problem.  Hacksaw and nibbler.  Both tedious and make jagged edges.

Anyone?

J

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2002\11\12@025445 by Dominic Stratten

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Fine toothed jigsaw ? Works for me on a high speed. Just take it slowly and
try and support both sides of the board as close to the blade as possible.


{Original Message removed}

2002\11\12@030336 by Robert Rolf

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I've used a cheap paper cutter on .032 board for years. Not too
good for paper now, but I have another 'good' cutter for paper.

Small metal shear. Works great even after hundreds of boards.

Deep scoring both sides with utility knife and metal straight edge,
then breaking the board by pulling up against METAL straight edge while
pinning the board to the table top with great pressure. Make sure
you have at least 0.050 trace clearances to edge to ensure success.

It all depends on what budget you have and how fussy you need to be.

Robert

Jesse Lackey wrote:
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2002\11\12@063346 by Kyrre Aalerud

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If I need to do a board to test on really fast I use 0.8mm board.
Then I can simply cut it with a pair of scissors!

This isn't anything for a production version but is great for a simple
prototype.
They are also thin enough that there may be a printer here somewhere capable
of feeding them...

   Kyrre

{Original Message removed}

2002\11\12@064008 by Philip Pemberton

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Quoting Kyrre Aalerud <RemoveMEkreatureEraseMEspamEraseMEC2I.NET>:
> If I need to do a board to test on really fast I use 0.8mm board.
> Then I can simply cut it with a pair of scissors!
0.8mm board is also great for DIYing PIC-based smartcards - now most of my
sources have dried up. I used to get them from Crownhill Associates (?), who
could also print a design/photo/whatever onto them. But alas, they have
discontinued the entire range of PIC based smartcards they used to sell...
Perhaps because they found out that people in the satellite TV world were
using them for - shall we say, "illicit" - purposes.

> This isn't anything for a production version but is great for a simple
> prototype.
I just use 1.4mm (standard) SRBP board and dead-bug or copper-island stuff
onto it. I keep the FR4 for high-quality prototypes.

> They are also thin enough that there may be a printer here somewhere
> capable
> of feeding them...
Hmm... Laserprint straight onto a PCB... Is it possible??? Anyone want to
sacrifice a LaserJet II to find out?

Later.
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2002\11\12@081020 by Rick C.

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I've been using my cheap paper cutter for about 25 years and have been cutting
many hundreds of 1/16th boards. It will still cut a single sheet of paper with
precision. I think it is a Premier brand cutter. Any office store like Office
Max or Staples should have something like it. I cut the regular 12X12
sensitized boards purchased from Kepro. Just keep the sheet of thick spacer
paper on the bottom so as not to damage the resist. Use a little pressure to
the inside when pushing the lever down, and walk the 12 inch board into the
cutter (since its only a 8 inch cutting blade). If you search the PIC archives
back about 6 months ago, we went through this discussion in detail.
Rick

Tony Harris wrote:

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2002\11\12@092337 by Dale Botkin

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On Tue, 12 Nov 2002, Jesse Lackey wrote:

> I still don't have any sort of good means to cut up PCBs.  Its a
> problem.  Hacksaw and nibbler.  Both tedious and make jagged edges.

I have to wonder how well a cheap tile saw would work.  They've got
diamond blades that make very thin cuts, and are wet saws to keep the dust
under control.  Nice flat table saw with a guide to keep the piece
straight as it's cut.  And of course water won't bother the fiberglass...
I know you can pick these up at Home Depot or Lowe's pretty cheap.  I used
one to go through porcelain tile like butter.

Dale

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2002\11\12@112304 by Alan B. Pearce

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>And of course water won't bother the fiberglass...

No but ..................

typically for PCB's assembled for use in space, where every solder joint is
getting a visual inspection etc, we specify that the bare PCB be baked for
several hours (typically overnight) at 50C immediately prior to soldering.
This is to free the epoxy of any water content, as moisture will cool the
solder as it flows through a plated through hole, and causes the solder to
go into its pasty, not quite hot enough, won't wet the copper mode. In this
situation you are required to suck the solder out and remake the joint,
which counts as a rework, and with a maximum of 3 reworks to a component
joint, this is highly non-desirable (what were we saying about English as
she is spoke in another thread?).

Yes, water does not bother fibreglass, in that it will not cause
degradation, but it does affect its solderability properties (and I'm sure
someone like RF Jim will tell you that moisture in it will affect its RF
properties).

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2002\11\12@114609 by Dale Botkin

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On Tue, 12 Nov 2002, Alan B. Pearce wrote:

> >And of course water won't bother the fiberglass...
>
> No but ..................

Yeah, but you're in a production environment with stringent controls and
we would assume proper PCB cutting facilities.  I thought this discussion
was about hobbyist and low-volume production.  There is of course nothing
stopping one from baking the PCBs after cutting and before soldering.

As long as some drying technique is used, I'd suspect a minute or so of
exposure to water during cutting would not be a significant (or even a
detectable) detriment to anyone who would be using a tile cutting saw to
cut PCBs instead of whatever a real production facility would use.

Dale

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2002\11\12@121321 by Spehro Pefhany

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At 08:22 AM 11/12/02 -0600, you wrote:
>I have to wonder how well a cheap tile saw would work.  They've got
>diamond blades that make very thin cuts, and are wet saws to keep the dust
>under control.  Nice flat table saw with a guide to keep the piece
>straight as it's cut.  And of course water won't bother the fiberglass...
>I know you can pick these up at Home Depot or Lowe's pretty cheap.  I used
>one to go through porcelain tile like butter.

A shear is the very best way to go, no itchy swarf (very little, anyhow),
and the cuts are always straight. A few hundred bucks to a few thousand
depending on size and brand.

>Best regards

Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..."            "The Journey is the reward"
EraseMEspeffspamEraseMEinterlog.com             Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
Embedded software/hardware/analog  Info for designers:  http://www.speff.com

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2002\11\12@180557 by Josh Koffman

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Ironically, I was given a paper cutter today. Big beastie, about 19
inches square. So...does anyone have any tips and techniques they wish
to share about using it to cut PCBs? I'm guessing just holding the board
against the back stop, and cutting it will be best. Will the blade cut
in one motion, or will I need to "hammer" it a bit?

Thanks,

Josh
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Charles Craft wrote:
>
> http://www.officedepot.com/shop/catalog/sku.asp?ID=330379&LEVEL=SK
>
> Quartet GT II Series Trimmer, 12"
>
> Stack up 15 sheets of paper and compare to your PCB thickness.

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2002\11\12@182432 by Rick C.

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It's best to use a continuous firm motion, holding the handle with pressure
toward the inside. Sometimes the cut will tend to drift on a curve and the
board will start to twist. Compensate by rotating the board in the opposite
direction of the curve. Hammering the handle with your fist will cause the
cut to drift and possibly get away from you. Watch your fingers too! If you
use factory pre-sensitized bords, leave the spacing paper that comes between
the boards on the bottom to prevent the resist from scratching.
Rick

Josh Koffman wrote:

> Ironically, I was given a paper cutter today. Big beastie, about 19
> inches square. So...does anyone have any tips and techniques they wish
> to share about using it to cut PCBs? I'm guessing just holding the board
> against the back stop, and cutting it will be best. Will the blade cut
> in one motion, or will I need to "hammer" it a bit?
>
>

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2002\11\12@223530 by Josh Koffman

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Do you normally cut with copper up or down? I don't use photosensitive
boards.

Josh
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completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete
fools.
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"Rick C." wrote:
> It's best to use a continuous firm motion, holding the handle with pressure
> toward the inside. Sometimes the cut will tend to drift on a curve and the
> board will start to twist. Compensate by rotating the board in the opposite
> direction of the curve. Hammering the handle with your fist will cause the
> cut to drift and possibly get away from you. Watch your fingers too! If

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2002\11\12@225136 by Rick C.

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Josh Koffman wrote:

> Do you normally cut with copper up or down? I don't use photosensitive
> boards.
>

Never gave it any thought. I guess I always cut with the copper side up. I lay my
negative on the board as a template and cut about a half inch extra all the way
around. This allows for taping the negative, handling of the board and possible
irregularities in the resist near the edges.
Rick

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2002\11\13@005632 by Roman Black

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Dale Botkin wrote:
>
> On Tue, 12 Nov 2002, Alan B. Pearce wrote:
> > >And of course water won't bother the fiberglass...

> Yeah, but you're in a production environment with stringent controls and
> we would assume proper PCB cutting facilities.  I thought this discussion
> was about hobbyist and low-volume production.  There is of course nothing
> stopping one from baking the PCBs after cutting and before soldering.


Which is not hard, we have a wooden box with a
100W light globe and a couple of wire "kitchen"
racks and temp control which is 3 transistors
a pot and a 240v relay. It regulates temperature
very well and cost almost nothing to build. I
think the dearest part was a $7 digital thermometer.

Being able to dry boards and cure glues and inks
at 40'C or 50'C is very handy, it is one of our
most used pieces of equipment.

Another handy technique is to put the board on
the table and a 60W "arm type" desk lamp 3"
above it, this gives a fairly constant 50'C.
-Roman

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2002\11\13@032447 by Ashley Roll

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Hi Everyone,

Tile Saws work Great!

I bought one about a year ago and use it for PCBs..

They have a diamond blade which eats fibreglass like butter :) The edges are
ground smooth (assuming that you can move the PCB without going all over the
place - I use the guide and run the board edge along it. Just like a table
top saw for wood.

The blade that came with mine is about 3mm wide, but you can purchase
replacements that are much thinner.

The only problem is that you do need the water to keep the blade cool and to
stop the dust, but it gets EVERYWHERE! (you'll get damp if not wet when
using it) and when it dries out there is fibreglass powder where the water
was, but a little care and this is not too much of a problem.

Cheers,
Ash.

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> {Original Message removed}

2002\11\13@043012 by Alan B. Pearce

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Dale Botkin wrote:
>
> On Tue, 12 Nov 2002, Alan B. Pearce wrote:
> > >And of course water won't bother the fiberglass...

> Yeah, but you're in a production environment with stringent controls and
> we would assume proper PCB cutting facilities.  I thought this discussion
> was about hobbyist and low-volume production.  There is of course nothing
> stopping one from baking the PCBs after cutting and before soldering.

Hmm, for some reason Dale's reply didn't make it to me, so I'll use Roman's
quote

Yeah, sure we are doing it in a production environment, but I was more
thinking of the warning about having moisture impregnated fibreglass, and
wondering why your solder joints keep turning up as dry joints right at the
critical time in testing immediately before delivery :))) Certainly baking
the PCB's (well just put it in the oven after Mum has finished cooking
dinner, while the oven cools down) is worth doing to get around this
problem.

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