EMRFD Message Archive 401

Message Date From Subject
401 2007-01-30 17:10:10 Dino Papas Cutting PC Board
Ok guys....who has a good way to cut PC material for boards and
enclosures? I've used all the bad ways in the past; the score and
snap method does work but it's not really easy, especially the
scoring part. I'm about ready to bite the bullet and buy one of
those hobby shear/brakes and just get it over with. Back in the day
in electronics shop in high school all we had to do was walk next
door to the metal shop and use their big shear/brake for cutting PC
board and bending aluminum chassis (boy, what a memory from 40 years

Harbor Freight sells one for ~$130; MicroMark for ~$200 and a company
on eBay has one for ~$150. They all are made in China and sure do
look alike....I'm leaning to the MicroMark model as a review I found
says it has the most complete set of accessories, especially the
cutoff length guide which ensures a square cut. If anyone is
interested here are the web sites:

http://www.pacificsites.com/~brooke/8MSB.shtml#Des (review)

Itemnumber=90757 (Harbor Freight)

MerchantID=RET01229&Action=Catalog&Type=Product&ID=83213 (MicroMark)

QsspagenameZWD1V (eBay)

Now if someone can offer a good way to do it on the cheap I'm all ears!

Thanks in advance!

Dino KL0S/4
402 2007-01-30 17:13:07 Joe Rocci Re: Cutting PC Board
For routine breadboarding, I buy pieces of .031" thk material on e-bay and just cut it with scissors. Easy to cut and easy to work with.
----- Original Message -----
404 2007-01-30 17:31:05 Jay Re: Cutting PC Board
I am not an expert by any means but I have cut a few PCB's in my time. 
If the item is small, a Dremel tool with a cutting tool works quickly.  Wear eye protection as the cutting wheels tend to self destruct with any type of lateral exertion.
I have used sheet metal scissors with some success, but this tends to bend the PCB a little.
Lately, I have been using this item from Harbor Freight:
This is a mini-table saw.  It comes with one of those thin "diamond" cutting blades that really don't last very long.  Cheap diamonds, I guess.  It also comes with a 4" tipped cutting blade, similar to a wood cutting blade.  That is what I am using to cut PCB.  I got one of these on sale for $29 and have no complaints what so ever. 
As always, your mileage may vary and the usual disclaimers apply, yada yada yada!! 
The secret words are "EYE PROTECTION" and a face mask to keep those small fiberglass particles out of your body.
73 and good luck

Mobile, AL

408 2007-01-30 21:06:26 Loren Moline WA7S... Re: Cutting PC Board

I cut some PC board with my table saw. I use a plywood blade and parafin wax
for lube. I also cut aluminum the same way.

One important thing to remember. It works better to cut thin plywood at the
same time. It supports the metal or pc board to avoid cracking of pc board
caused by the blade grabbing the material.


----Original Message Follows----
410 2007-01-31 06:54:56 D Re: Cutting PC Board
412 2007-01-31 08:06:20 a1ncsky2 Re: Cutting PC Board
I disagree somewhat with the earlier post regarding the use of a
Dremel tool to cut pc board material. I should say I use almost
exclusively FR4 (G10) fiberglass board. Some of it I found on eBay is
quite thick but I can till cut it handily.

You can use a Dremel tool surprisingly effectively, freehand, to cut
pc board for pc boards themselves. Not so much enclosures where
everything needs to be very square and several pieces exactly the same.

The key do doing this is to use the fiberglass reinforced cutting
wheels. The regular ones, that are sort of dark brown in color are
very brittle and break easily, although they can be used.

The most important requirement is to use one of the flexible driver
attachments. Not that you need this to cut per se, but the diameter of
the Dremel tool itself is greater than that of the cutoff wheel. Not
so the flexible attachment. So, with the latter you can reach over and
cut a dimension "deeper in" than just however much the cutoff wheel
extends from the chuck without trying to cut at an angle to the board.
Hard to keep straight when cutting at an angle.

Carefully mark the line where you want to cut, clamp the board
material down (I use a couple of C-Clamps with a scrap of 1x2 board to
hold the material down. You will be amazed how straight a cut you can
make freehand with the tool. What happens is that the fiberglass
cutoff wheel "guides" itself somewhat, thereby tending to keep it in
line - you have to be careful but not that much so.

In fact, this works so easily that when I need a piece of board for an
ugly constructi
413 2007-01-31 08:15:21 Graham Haddock Re: Cutting PC Board
For one of a kind work, I use an Adel Nibbling tool

http://www.adelnibbler.com/ $19

or $15 to $17 from tool supply houses.

The advantage is that it "nibbles" in about 1/10 inch by 1/4 inch
bites. It produces mostly little rectangles, and very little
glass dust. Because of the general lack of dust, it can be
used indoors, unlike what happens when you saw a
fiberglass board.

The disadvantage is that it cuts with a 1/4 inch wide kerf,
so it wastes a one quarter inch wide stripe of material
for every cut. Hand operated, so your hand gets tired after
6 or 10 inches of cutting, but few of my projects are that

Very handy for small quick one-of-a-kind board cuts.
It takes a little practice to cut a smooth straight line, but
if you scribe a line in the board where you want to cut,
you can learn to follow it quite nicely.

Cuts soft metal to 16 guage or so, also. Drill a 7/16 hole,
and nibble out any interior hole shape you want.

I have had mine for 20 years or so, and have yet to
wear out my first punch.

414 2007-01-31 09:13:46 Andy Re: Cutting PC Board
> For one of a kind work, I use an Adel Nibbling tool
> http://www.adelnibbler.com/ $19

I used one of these nibbling tools YEARS (decades) ago. Slow as heck, but
it works. And your forearms get a good workout by the time you are done.

423 2007-02-01 14:17:35 kb3wk Re: Cutting PC Board
Hi, Dino:

I have had pretty good luck cutting PC board with my bandsaw. I use a
1/4 inch bimetallic blade. The "bimetallic" part is pretty important,
as a regular blade will get pretty dull in short order. Use a blade
with at least 14 teeth per inch, as you will otherwise get a severe
amount of chipping.

John, KB3WK