PCB or printed circuit boards have brought a breakthrough revolution in the communications and electronics industry. These PCBs are available in a variety of shapes and sizes, and at times, you might require cutting them to fit your operational requirements.
So, did you even think about cutting a PCB?
I guess even if you have tried to cut these boards at home with a manual PCB cutter or a PCB cutter tool, you have found the entire process clunky.
So, for your convenience, today’s tutorial will discuss how to cut PCB at home or workspace with ease.
So, are you up for it?
Different Ways of How to Cut PCB
PCBs comprise of copper lines along with the glass-reinforced plastic. When you purchase a large piece of the printed circuit board, it allows you to cut it into smaller pieces and engage in works as you need.
The process has two steps:
- The cutting
- The sanding.
The cutting process can be done using multiple PCB cutting tools. We will be discussing this equipment in the following sections. Now, let’s take a look at both steps with details.
Cutting PCB with a tabletop paper cutter:
- Before you can cut a PCB, you need to prepare it for the cuts. The preparation includes wiping the PCB with a clean rug or cloth. This way, excess dust and debris on the PCB will go away, and you will get a clean and tiptop board surface.
- Now, before you move on to cut the board using a PCB cutting machine, we suggest you wear safety gloves. It prevents accidental cuts and keeps your hand clean too.
- Raise the blade height of the tabletop paper cutter and slide in a paper on its surface. It will protect the boards underneath the portion from abrasion.
- Unless you use a table paper cutter, you also can use a table saw. In this case, place the paper next to the table saw blade.
- When you place the board on the surface, it’s copper or aluminum base should be kept face up.
- Now align the board’s edge right with the tabletop paper cutter or table saw guide.
- Stop the board’s movement forcefully with one hand. Then use the other side to cut the board using the PCB cutting blade of the PCB saw.
- The printed circuit board should be cut into your desired sizes now.
Cutting PCB with Dremel:
Dremel is a famous American power tool manufacturer. They manufacturer some great power tools out of which their rotatory device is the most popular. Nonetheless, the Dremel rotatory come beneficial to cut PCBs with ease.
The process steps include:
- At first, you will require to use a sharpie to outline on the PCB. The outline will permit you to know exactly where the cut will take place on the copper clad.
- Now you will need a mini saw bit to use with the Dremel. Cut the slots away from the board using the mini saw. It is similar to the reversing of trace laying by isolating the paths on the board.
- As you isolate the path with the Dremel and mini saw bit, make sure the cuts are crisp and clean. Sometimes you may need to create holes on the board to attach wires and other parts with the PCB. Before you start cleaning the board, make those holes if required.
- Then use a pad made of scratcher steel wood to remove the burrs from the board carefully.
- Now it’s time to finish off your PCB cutting boards. For this, carefully and ardently add all the parts one by one slowly,
- At this stage, your printed circuit board should be ready for your wished projects.
Cutting boards with a homemade PCB cutting machine
If you don’t own a PCB cutting tool, there’s also an alternative to cut the board with a homemade PCB cutting machine.
For this, you will need to collect a 12V DC motor drill. Then you will have to prepare the sliding mechanism for the cutting machine. Use a motor bracket and adaptor to help the sliding mechanism run on the table where you will cut the boards.
Lastly, you will require a circular saw blade to cut the printed circuit board.
Once you have collected the blade, then, find a wood piece to create the surface for the cutting machine. After that, saw away right on the wood surface to create depth so that the saw blade can move freely on it.
Now assemble all the parts, including the motor, adaptor, and motor bracket. Make sure all these are arranged in perpendicular sideways so you can perform the required 90-cuts on the printed circuit boards.
To install the sliding mechanism, use screws. It will hold the sliding mechanism tightly on the position enabling you to cut with the highest accuracy. Once the tool is ready, you can insert the circuit board in it and perform the required cut.
How To Cut Circuit Board For Jewelry
If you have an unused or extra circuit board, you can actually use it to make interesting jewelry, such as earrings. Yes, it’s possible if you are ready to unleash your creativity.
For this, get a damaged or old PCB at first. After that, outline the earring shape on it using a sharpie. Then use the Dremel rotatory tool and saw blade to cut away the outlined shape. Lastly, spray golden paint on it or silver and let the PCB board soak.
Also, make a hole in the middle to add strings to wear it in the ear. That’s it, and you now own an exotic electric circuit board made jewelry.
Sanding the PCB:
Whether you use the cut PCB for electronic devices or jewelry, you will require to sand it for the necessary polish-ness. For this, use a200 grits sandpaper. Keep sanding until the edges become smooth. Lastly, use a rag to wipe off the excess dust from the board’s surface.
PCBs have transformed the whole world with its brilliance and versatile usability. So, when you follow the aforementioned steps to thoroughly understand how to cut PCB in different shapes and sizes, you unleash a myriad of multitasking with the PCBs.
Hope, it comes handy for all electricians and mechanics who every day come across the printed circuit boards for one reason or another.