How to Cut PCB at Home

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How to Cut PCB at Home

Printed circuit board is an amazing material, usable in almost any electronic device, especially computers. Unfortunately, the material can be tricky to cut. A normal blade does not cut through the material properly, and some methods leave behind toxic dust that can be a pain to have to get rid of. There are some very easy methods to cutting PCB material with common household appliances, however. See below to learn some facts about PCB, along with a couple systematic guides into cutting PCB with household tools.

 

Facts About PCB

Radios, alarm clocks, televisions, video game consoles; PCB is in almost all electronic devices. There are still a lot of interesting things to know about this material, however.

  1. Name: PCB stands for printed circuit board, also called printed wiring board.
  2. Multiple uses: PCB is not just for mounting the components of an electrical device, it assists in connecting those devices together.
  3. Material: PCB usually features a few different materials, but the most common one is glass fibre epoxy laminate. Copper features a thin layer on each side. This is why it can be difficult to cut properly.
  4. Creation process: Acid burns off the excess copper material, leaving only the copper necessary for the electronic signaling. An applied lacquer prevents corrosion over time.

PCB material is integral to the almost every electronic device available on the market. When working with electronics, people commonly have to cut off pieces of PCB material for their own uses. This can be very difficult, though, because normal blades do not cut through the material easily. Cuts can become jagged, uneven, and leave behind large amounts of toxic dust that can be hazardous if not cleaned up. Fortunately, there are a couple of very easy methods to cutting PCB materials with household tools.

 

Ways to Cut PCB Material at Home

There are many ways to cut PCB at home, and each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Paper Cutter

Some may think that this method is too clumsy to get the best results. PCB material does not crack or splinter from this method, however. The trick is to use the PCB as one would use a piece of paper on a paper cutter. Putting a generous amount of pressure on the material prevents it from sliding out of place. One must always be cautious of where their fingers are when using a paper cutter. Serious injuries can occur with this appliance, as the blade is very sharp and dangerous. After cutting the PCB material, sand paper helps to smooth off the edges.

Sharp Blade

The trick behind cutting PCB material is knowledge that one cannot simply cut it. One must scratch the surface of the PCB material on both sides. The scratches must be deep enough to form visible ruts in the material. If the scratches on both sides of the material align properly, the PCB material should snap apart with very little effort.

To make sure this is doable, a ruler and pencil help to make straight lines that align evenly on both sides of the material. A box cutter blade, or any type of sharp blade, scratches the blade well. Once the scratches are very deep, the PCB material snaps apart with a slight bend.

Be aware of any toxic dust that comes off during the process of scratching the material. This dust should be immediately cleaned and discarded away to prevent it from contaminating anyone.

 

How to Buy Pipes and Pipe Cutting Tools on eBay

Such household appliances are on offer by the sellers on eBay. Box cutters and paper cutters are easy to find by using the search bar. Prices vary from $10 to $30. Sand paper also comes in handy for smoothing out the edges of PCB material once cut. Sellers on eBay commonly offer this item and prices range from less than $5 to $20, depending on the type of offer, obviously. There is no recommended grit of sand paper, but 100-grit is coarse enough to smooth out the edges.

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