Electronics > Manufacturing & Assembly

Cutting PCBs

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Currently I use a tile cutter to cut PCBs. My PCBs have photo resist and a protective film on both sides. The cutter has a platform and a guide rule to allow me to cut to quite precise widths. The quality of the cut is good, but there is a bit of munching of the copper and the plastic film. There is also a lot of dust and noise generated. I could insert a tray full of water under the tile cutter, as it is meant to cut tiles wet, but as I have it on my desk I have not done so yet (fears of spillages) plus I am not sure if the wet blade would produce a cleaner cut. And it still makes a lot of noise.

I have looked at guillotines as the best way to cut the board cleanly, without cracking on either side, and without reaping out the protective film. Both heavy duty paper cutters and metal shears seem to work on the same principle. There is a flat straight edge at the bottom and a curved blade at the top. The moving blade is slightly curved  so that the angle of cutting always remains the same. Metal shears have the thickest and strongest blades.

As I have never used the guillotines to cut the PCB would like to ask:

1) how is the PCB prevented from flipping during the cut since the (thick) blade is pushing it down?
2) If using metal shears, how would you keep the PCB steady while cutting, so as to cut in a straight line?
3) The blade stretches the cut-out part of the PCB while cutting: does that make that piece unusable? For example if I wanted to cut a large PCB into two equal pieces, would the blade deform/crack one of the pieces?

Edit: 4) Some heavy duty paper guillotines, for example with capacity of 400 sheets of 80 gsm paper, have a completely horizontal blade, not angled. Do you think these would be able to cut through 1.0 or 1.5mm of PCB board, both the cheaper type and fibreglass without cracking?


Replying to my own post: I took the plunge and bought a heavy duty A3 sized paper cutter with 400-500 sheet capacity as shown here: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/140926103196?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2648

Hopefully it will do the job!

let me know if it works!  :D

I use a metal shear, works well:

Oh, I bet it works well! But how much does it cost?


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