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'[OT] Experiments with cutting stripboard'
2006\03\28@183017 by John Nall

picon face
Well, it is pretty hard to compete with puzzles, diatribes, and such.  
But thought that I would report on the results of cutting stripboard,
boring as it may be.

I have a project which requires quite a few little boards, and the
easiest way to do it is to buy a few large stripboards and cut them
down.  The traditional wisdom (according to the Internet, which I think
perhaps cannot always be trusted) is to use a ruler, a sharp blade, and
"snap."

Not so.  I tried three different methods.  (a)  Ruler, blade, snap.  
(b)  A jigsaw.  (c)  A Dremel tool with a cutter blade.  The Dremel tool
wins hands down.  The ruler,blade,snap fails because it is is very
difficult to get that deep a score in a good quality board, and it
doesn't break even.  The jigsaw fails because when you get down to a
small piece, and have to hold one part in your hard, the jigsaw vibrates
and wants to move in a sideways direction.

The Dremel tool, doing a complete cut from left to right, is quick, easy
and extremely accurate.  I recommend a high RPM on it, but it it very
easy to hold a small piece in your hand and cut it.

John
(p.s.  Just to get into the spirit of things:  "Cuba libre!"  And
interpret it how you like.  :-)  And I'll just bet that I'm one of the
few people on this list who have actually been to Cuba (twice).  Very
nice people -- bad government, tho.

2006\03\28@184915 by Mike Hord

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> The Dremel tool, doing a complete cut from left to right, is quick, easy
> and extremely accurate.  I recommend a high RPM on it, but it it very
> easy to hold a small piece in your hand and cut it.

The only drawback to that is the dust it creates.  Not good for your lungs.

If you have access to it, a sheet metal shear is the bestest ever way
to do it.  Sheet metal shears being pricey and somewhat large, the
Dremel is probably a close second, once you get over the dust thing.

Mike H.

2006\03\28@184931 by David Minkler

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face
Somebody else's paper cutter (guillotine type) works well too.

Dave

John Nall wrote:

{Quote hidden}

2006\03\28@190400 by Jinx

face picon face
> (b)  A jigsaw

Small hacksaw with fine blade, and hold the board in a vice
when it gets small

2006\03\28@191438 by John Nall

picon face
Jinx wrote:
> > Small hacksaw with fine blade, and hold the board in a vice
> when it gets small
>  
.
I hate to disagree, but I tried that and still think that the Dremel
tool is better.  Problem is, when you tighten the vise enough to hold
the board, you score the copper.  I  tried it also with a couple of
boards isolating the board from the sides of the vise, and that did
help.  But I still think that the Dremel  tool with a cutting edge is
better.  No fuss, no muss, and only some dust (wear a respirator!!).



2006\03\28@191834 by Jon Chandler

picon face
A sheet metal shear works great for cutting apart etched PCB panels
too.  This has allowed me to get a lot of boards from Advanced Circuits
(http://www.advancedcircuits.com) $33 special.  At least 3 boards, up to 80 square
inches each, for $33 each.  Including silk screen and solder mask.  There
is a $50 additional charge for multiple boards on each panel, but you can
get a lot of boards made for a $150 charge.

I've used a shear similar to this one:
http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId
=6970&productId=210804&R=210804

Jon


At 05:49 PM 3/28/2006 -0600, you wrote:
{Quote hidden}

>

2006\03\28@194008 by Jinx

face picon face

> > > Small hacksaw with fine blade, and hold the board in a vice
> > when it gets small

> I hate to disagree

That's OK, you're allowed to. I use stripboard so rarely these
days and then only small bits to hold a couple chips. If I want
to patch an existing board or example. When I did need bigger
pieces I'd use either the hacksaw (as you say, a couple of bits
of scrap to stop the vice jaws marking the copper) or a Dremel
scrollsaw with a backing board for support. I've never found
stripboard tough to cut, and seen it only in phenolic, never in
anything like GR4

2006\03\28@200057 by Spehro Pefhany

picon face
At 05:49 PM 3/28/2006 -0600, you wrote:
> > The Dremel tool, doing a complete cut from left to right, is quick, easy
> > and extremely accurate.  I recommend a high RPM on it, but it it very
> > easy to hold a small piece in your hand and cut it.
>
>The only drawback to that is the dust it creates.  Not good for your lungs.
>
>If you have access to it, a sheet metal shear is the bestest ever way
>to do it.  Sheet metal shears being pricey and somewhat large, the
>Dremel is probably a close second, once you get over the dust thing.
>
>Mike H.

You need to warm the phenolic PCB material first or it will make a mess of
cracks around the edge when you try to shear it. Around 55-60°C perhaps.

Best regards,

Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..."            "The Journey is the reward"
spam_OUTspeffTakeThisOuTspaminterlog.com             Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
Embedded software/hardware/analog  Info for designers:  http://www.speff.com
->> Inexpensive test equipment & parts http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQsassZspeff


2006\03\28@201751 by kravnus wolf

picon face
The knife method never quite work with my clumsy
hands....... Dremel is great for cutting stripboards
and cleans hole in PCB :)

john

--- John Nall <.....jwnallKILLspamspam@spam@gmail.com> wrote:

{Quote hidden}

> --

2006\03\28@235830 by Howard Winter

face
flavicon
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Jinx,

On Wed, 29 Mar 2006 12:40:24 +1200, Jinx wrote:
>...
> I've never found
> stripboard tough to cut, and seen it only in phenolic, never in
> anything like GR4

I have!  Maplin sell fibreglass stripboard, where the copper strips are tinned.  It's about twice the price of
the classic phenolic/bare copper boards, but much nicer to work with.  When I was working with Veroboard a
lot, I used to scrub the copper as soon as I got it home, and then spray with the type of lacquer that was
designed to be soldered through, otherwise it was a nightmare to solder some time later when it had
accumulated oxidation and fingerprints.

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England


2006\03\29@093123 by Darrell Wyatt

picon face




{Quote hidden}

---- Oh come on, now - I've done this for years and years, and my lung feels
great!

_________________________________________________________________
On the road to retirement? Check out MSN Life Events for advice on how to
get there! http://lifeevents.msn.com/category.aspx?cid=Retirement

2006\03\29@122800 by John Nall

picon face
The results of a little bit more experimenting.  There seems to be
several suggested ways to cut a track (that is, to cut the copper so
that there is no electrical connectivity between the holes on one side
of the cut, and the holes on the other side).

The available literature seems to suggest that either a "stripboard
cutter" can be used, or a drill.   No stripboard cutter available in
these parts, so I tried cutting with a small Phillips head screwdriver.  
No joy.  Then tried slicing with a razor blade and lifting.  Again, no
joy.  The drill seems to be the way to go, with a bit of variation.  I
have a little Dremel drill press that a Dremel tool can be inserted into
and locked down.  This proved to be the ticket, because it comes
straight down, can be very easily controlled, and can be set so that it
is impossible to drill a hole even if your hand slips.  Works pretty
well, and checking with an ohmmeter verified that the cuts were clean.

2006\03\29@125221 by Howard Winter

face
flavicon
picon face
John,

On Wed, 29 Mar 2006 12:27:57 -0500, John Nall wrote:

{Quote hidden}

The cutters you mention are basically a drill-bit with a plastic handle, and they aren't any more accurate
than using a bare drill bit - just more comfortable!  The advantage of using a blade to cut through twice and
peeling out the included strip, is that you can do it between the holes - other methods "waste" a hole.  I'm
not surprised the philips screwdriver failed - the angle is too steep and the board behind the copper would
resist it.  The ideal tool would have a spigot in the centre to engage in the hole, and flat cutting teeth
around it, so you don't get the dimple in the board material that a drill bit leaves, but the cost of making
it is probably unreasonable.

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England


2006\03\29@133738 by Spehro Pefhany

picon face
At 06:52 PM 3/29/2006 +0100, you wrote:
>  The ideal tool would have a spigot in the centre to engage in the hole,
> and flat cutting teeth
>around it, so you don't get the dimple in the board material that a drill
>bit leaves, but the cost of making
>it is probably unreasonable.

I'm sure I've seen these commercially in the distant past. Seems like someone
with a small lathe and a bit of drill rod BrE: "silver steel" could make it
pretty quickly (and heat treat and temper it). Single cutting edge or
something like that. I'm not going to do it, so I'm not going to think too
hard about it, but "D" drill bits are easy to make by hand. A further
sophistication would be to have an outside stop that prevents the bit from
digging too deep, maybe just a collar and a bit of PTFE tubing over the
bit.

Best regards,

Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..."            "The Journey is the reward"
speffspamKILLspaminterlog.com             Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
Embedded software/hardware/analog  Info for designers:  http://www.speff.com
->> Inexpensive test equipment & parts http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQsassZspeff


2006\03\29@235720 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face

On Mar 29, 2006, at 9:27 AM, John Nall wrote:

> can be set so that it is impossible to drill a hole even
> if your hand slips.

But with stripboard, it's not really a big deal if you DO
drill a hole, is it?  I guess in some places where there
are a lot of cuts, you could end up weakening the board
structurally...

BillW

2006\03\31@001942 by Debbie

flavicon
face

--- Spehro Pefhany <.....speffKILLspamspam.....interlog.com> wrote:
> >
> >If you have access to it, a sheet metal shear is the bestest ever way
> >to do it.  Sheet metal shears being pricey and somewhat large, the
> >Dremel is probably a close second, once you get over the dust thing.
> >
> >Mike H.
>
> You need to warm the phenolic PCB material first or it will make a mess of
> cracks around the edge when you try to shear it. Around 55-60°C perhaps.

You sure do. Don't have to warm it much though - just hold it in front of a
hot-air blower.
Debbie


       

       
               
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