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'[EE] Drilling PCBs'
2009\07\18@025804 by solarwind

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The most time-consuming part of making PCBs is the drilling part. How
do you guys drill your PCBs? What's the best and fastest and cheapest
way? (Olin, don't give me the "you only get to pick two" thing :P)

-- [ solarwind ] -- http://solar-blogg.blogspot.com/

2009\07\18@094620 by Mark Rages

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On Sat, Jul 18, 2009 at 1:57 AM, solarwind<spam_OUTx.solarwind.xTakeThisOuTspamgmail.com> wrote:
> The most time-consuming part of making PCBs is the drilling part. How
> do you guys drill your PCBs? What's the best and fastest and cheapest
> way? (Olin, don't give me the "you only get to pick two" thing :P)
>

Design your board for SMT.

Or, http://www.delorie.com/pcb/dremel-stand/

--
Mark Rages, Engineer
Midwest Telecine LLC
.....markragesKILLspamspam@spam@midwesttelecine.com

2009\07\18@101848 by Carl Denk

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face
Neat, I would put a rod between the top and bottom plywood pieces near
the Dremel, nuts top and bottom to clamp the Dremel, so it wouldn't come
out. Enlarge the 5th view from top, and notice the etched hole in the
copper to get the drill started. The yellow plastic collar comes on some
drills is not a problem with or without. I don't know if the color is a
code for size?

My old drill press has a knob on one side to feed the drill, that works
well. The new model has a lever handle, that should work well also. On
the DIY, I think it would depend on how steady your hand is. Gentle
steady pressure is required for accuracy and drill longevity. Some
clumsy or senior folks may have issues. I think it would be easy to add
a lever feed with a cam shaped piece of wood.

Mark Rages wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2009\07\18@102201 by olin piclist

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solarwind wrote:
> The most time-consuming part of making PCBs is the drilling part. How
> do you guys drill your PCBs? What's the best and fastest and cheapest
> way? (Olin, don't give me the "you only get to pick two" thing :P)

That fact that you asked me not to mention it means you've already learned
something.

Holes and vias was always a issue with the boards I did manually years ago.
I found a drill press a must.  Surely you know someone who has one.  The
trick about leaving little spots of etched copper at holes to act like
guides helps, but such small spots can be problems themselves.  You may have
to manually make a dent with a centerpunch for each hole, then drill with a
drill press.

As for vias, you can consider most holes for thru hole leads as a via
opportunity by soldering both on the top and the bottom of the board.
Unfortunatly this doesn't work for DIP sockets since the top ends of the
pins are not accessible.  One time I used wire wrap sockets just to get the
long leads.  All the DIP sockets were then up off the board so that I could
get at the top end of the pins.  It looked silly but it worked.


********************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.

2009\07\18@105946 by Mike Harrison

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face
On Sat, 18 Jul 2009 10:23:13 -0400, you wrote:

>solarwind wrote:
>> The most time-consuming part of making PCBs is the drilling part. How
>> do you guys drill your PCBs? What's the best and fastest and cheapest
>> way?

The first thing is to use surface mount as much as possible to reduce the number of holes needed.


>Holes and vias was always a issue with the boards I did manually years ago.
>I found a drill press a must.  Surely you know someone who has one.  The
>trick about leaving little spots of etched copper at holes to act like
>guides helps, but such small spots can be problems themselves.  You may have
>to manually make a dent with a centerpunch for each hole, then drill with a
>drill press.

The trick is to print the artwork with small holes at the centre of the pads, but SMALLER than the
final hole size, to get good centering and avoid any problems from over-etching. I usually set all
holes to 0.5mm for PCBs to be printed .

A good drill press is essential, as are solid carbide bits and a drill with no wobble.
A bright light on the drilling area is also very helpful.

>As for vias, you can consider most holes for thru hole leads as a via
>opportunity by soldering both on the top and the bottom of the board.
>Unfortunatly this doesn't work for DIP sockets since the top ends of the
>pins are not accessible.  One time I used wire wrap sockets just to get the
>long leads.  All the DIP sockets were then up off the board so that I could
>get at the top end of the pins.  It looked silly but it worked.

Turned-pin sockets are easy to top-solder.

For lots of good tips on homebrewing PCBs, check my page http://www.electricstuff.co.uk/pcbs.html

2009\07\18@134543 by Dwayne Reid

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face
At 08:23 AM 7/18/2009, Olin Lathrop wrote:
>As for vias, you can consider most holes for thru hole leads as a via
>opportunity by soldering both on the top and the bottom of the board.
>Unfortunatly this doesn't work for DIP sockets since the top ends of the
>pins are not accessible.  One time I used wire wrap sockets just to get the
>long leads.  All the DIP sockets were then up off the board so that I could
>get at the top end of the pins.  It looked silly but it worked.

We use machine-pin DIP sockets for exactly that reason - the bottom
of the pins extends well below the plastic that holds the pins in
place.  That makes it easy to solder the top-side pads that need soldering.

I mentioned that we used to make our own PCBs for the products we
were selling (early '80's) - volumes were too small for the board
houses and AP Circuits didn't exist back then.  Making sure that we
soldered ALL of the needed top-side pads under the DIP sockets was a
problem for a while.   What we did to solve it was mask off all of
the top-side pads that did not have traces going to them - that made
it easy to ensure that all top-side solder joints were soldered.  If
it had a pad, it needed to be soldered.  Easy!

dwayne

--
Dwayne Reid   <.....dwaynerKILLspamspam.....planet.eon.net>
Trinity Electronics Systems Ltd    Edmonton, AB, CANADA
(780) 489-3199 voice          (780) 487-6397 fax
http://www.trinity-electronics.com
Custom Electronics Design and Manufacturing

2009\07\18@143526 by Alan B. Pearce

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>The first thing is to use surface mount as much as
>possible to reduce the number of holes needed.

I would agree. 1206 size resistors and capacitors are real easy to solder.
Tantalum capacitors are larger (there are 5 basic case sizes) and ICs in SO-
series packages are easy to deal with, so select those packages where
available.

2009\07\18@143742 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>We use machine-pin DIP sockets for exactly that reason - the bottom
>of the pins extends well below the plastic that holds the pins in
>place.  That makes it easy to solder the top-side pads that need soldering.

Agreed. I will use only these sockets from a reliability point of view
anyway. They also make nice chip carriers for EPROMS and the like, as the
solder pin is fine enough to plug into an identical socket.

2009\07\18@170729 by Marechiare

picon face
> Holes and vias was always a issue with the boards I did
> manually years ago. I found a drill press a must.

A precise high speed motor + 1mm drill socket would work too.

Some years ago I did it with capstan motor from old Magnetic Type
Storage device. The idea was from Internet, I don't remember the link.
The DC motor was long and narrow sort of 50W. Such motors are super
precise by definition, at about 10000 rpm you would think it were
under 1000 rpm.

I fixed it horizontally with the drill socket off of me, its shaft at
the height about 1/2 PCB height. You need to pull the PCB with your
fingers towards the fixed motor. With short and sharp drill bits it
worked just fine at that 10000 rpms for me. (Caution: the dust is very
dangerous, taking care of it is a must). One hole per second, that's 3
to 5 mins per PCB.

2009\07\18@175545 by Marechiare

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> Some years ago I did it with capstan motor from old
> Magnetic Type Storage device.

Magnetic Tape Storage

2009\07\18@203846 by Marcel Duchamp

picon face

>> Some years ago I did it with capstan motor from old
>> Magnetic Type Storage device.

I store my magnetic type on my refrigerator.

2009\07\22@153055 by Herbert Graf

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On Sat, 2009-07-18 at 02:57 -0400, solarwind wrote:
> The most time-consuming part of making PCBs is the drilling part. How
> do you guys drill your PCBs? What's the best and fastest and cheapest
> way? (Olin, don't give me the "you only get to pick two" thing :P)

Use a cheap drill press.

Other then that, use SMT parts as much as possible, nothing better then
not even having to drill holes in the board.

TTYL

2009\07\22@154243 by solarwind

picon face
On Wed, Jul 22, 2009 at 3:26 PM, Herbert Graf<EraseMEhkgrafspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTgmail.com> wrote:
> Use a cheap drill press.
>
> Other then that, use SMT parts as much as possible, nothing better then
> not even having to drill holes in the board.

And I suppose certain parts can be MADE to be surface mount? For
example, bend the pins on a DIP package, bend the pins on though hole
resistors, capacitors and so on?

2009\07\22@160519 by Tamas Rudnai

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On Wed, Jul 22, 2009 at 8:40 PM, solarwind <x.solarwind.xspamspam_OUTgmail.com> wrote:

> And I suppose certain parts can be MADE to be surface mount? For
> example, bend the pins on a DIP package, bend the pins on though hole
> resistors, capacitors and so on?


You can do that, however, usually through hole components are bigger and
heavier therefore such a mount may be mechanically insufficient. Once I cut
a window to a dip IC in a way that I could bend the pins all the way
sideways, so the IC was sitting in the window and the pins were surface
mounted on the edge of the window. Can't remember what was that but I needed
to make the circuit very flat. The work needed for this was much higher than
placing a through hole or a normal surface mounting.

Tamas

2009\07\22@160612 by Mark Rages

face picon face
On Wed, Jul 22, 2009 at 2:40 PM, solarwind<@spam@x.solarwind.xKILLspamspamgmail.com> wrote:
> On Wed, Jul 22, 2009 at 3:26 PM, Herbert Graf<KILLspamhkgrafKILLspamspamgmail.com> wrote:
>> Use a cheap drill press.
>>
>> Other then that, use SMT parts as much as possible, nothing better then
>> not even having to drill holes in the board.
>
> And I suppose certain parts can be MADE to be surface mount? For
> example, bend the pins on a DIP package, bend the pins on though hole
> resistors, capacitors and so on?

This will work, but not if the circuit is subject to much vibration.

Regards,
Mark
markrages@gmail
--
Mark Rages, Engineer
Midwest Telecine LLC
RemoveMEmarkragesTakeThisOuTspammidwesttelecine.com

2009\07\22@161955 by Herbert Graf

picon face
On Wed, 2009-07-22 at 15:40 -0400, solarwind wrote:
> On Wed, Jul 22, 2009 at 3:26 PM, Herbert Graf<spamBeGonehkgrafspamBeGonespamgmail.com> wrote:
> > Use a cheap drill press.
> >
> > Other then that, use SMT parts as much as possible, nothing better then
> > not even having to drill holes in the board.
>
> And I suppose certain parts can be MADE to be surface mount? For
> example, bend the pins on a DIP package, bend the pins on though hole
> resistors, capacitors and so on?

Absolutely, if that's your fancy. Personally I'd just stock up on large
SMT components, i.e. 1206 size resistors and caps. For ICs many of the
newer better ones now are only available in SMT, so your choice is often
made for you.

The only area I'd steer clear is anything mechanical. Things like DB9
connectors and such should still be through hole. While SMT alternatives
exist for many off board connectors the extra strength through hole
gives you is worth it IMHO.

TTYL

2009\07\22@173138 by olin piclist

face picon face
Herbert Graf wrote:
> Absolutely, if that's your fancy. Personally I'd just stock up on
> large SMT components, i.e. 1206 size resistors and caps. For ICs many
> of the newer better ones now are only available in SMT, so your
> choice is often made for you.

1206 is rather big.  0805 is still easy to handle, but takes less space and
parts are more widely and cheaply available.  I use 0805 when there is no
reason to use anything different, like small size or high power.

> The only area I'd steer clear is anything mechanical. Things like DB9
> connectors and such should still be through hole. While SMT
> alternatives exist for many off board connectors the extra strength
> through hole gives you is worth it IMHO.

I totally agree.  SMD connectors are problems.  If it needs to withstand
forces exerted by users I want pins thru the board.


********************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.

2009\07\23@110333 by Herbert Graf

picon face
On Wed, 2009-07-22 at 17:32 -0400, Olin Lathrop wrote:
> Herbert Graf wrote:
> > Absolutely, if that's your fancy. Personally I'd just stock up on
> > large SMT components, i.e. 1206 size resistors and caps. For ICs many
> > of the newer better ones now are only available in SMT, so your
> > choice is often made for you.
>
> 1206 is rather big.  0805 is still easy to handle, but takes less space and
> parts are more widely and cheaply available.  I use 0805 when there is no
> reason to use anything different, like small size or high power.

You are right Olin, and actually you bring up another point which I
hadn't considered: 1206 is sometimes hard to source. Many of the larger
distros mostly carry 0805 and smaller, so I agree with Olin and modify
my recommendation: it's better to go with 0805.

TTYL



2009\07\24@070403 by Tamas Rudnai

face picon face
On Thu, Jul 23, 2009 at 4:02 PM, Herbert Graf <TakeThisOuThkgrafEraseMEspamspam_OUTgmail.com> wrote:

> You are right Olin, and actually you bring up another point which I
> hadn't considered: 1206 is sometimes hard to source. Many of the larger
> distros mostly carry 0805 and smaller, so I agree with Olin and modify
> my recommendation: it's better to go with 0805.


Actually if you spend 1 day practising with 0402 components then 0805 will
be pretty easy for your rest of your life :-)

Tamas




>
>
> TTYL
>
>
>
> -

2009\07\24@082000 by olin piclist

face picon face
Tamas Rudnai wrote:
> Actually if you spend 1 day practising with 0402 components then 0805
> will be pretty easy for your rest of your life :-)

Yeah, mere mortals can still do 0603, but they are definitely more tricky
than 0805.  But 0402 are only for machines and little elves in a hollow
tree.  I only use them when necessary, but then I get someone else to handle
them and build the boards.


********************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.

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