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Old 10th November 2009, 05:39 PM   #1
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Default Has Anyone tried to use....

A vinyl sign cutter to cut the traces onto a PCB ???

I just bought a rather large one ( 24" wide ) and has a quite nice carbide tip cutter. I was thinking about cutting the traces on the clad side and then use the marker attachment to do the silk screen on the other side.

Anyone attempted this ???
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Old 10th November 2009, 05:51 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Adrculda View Post
A vinyl sign cutter to cut the traces onto a PCB ???

I just bought a rather large one ( 24" wide ) and has a quite nice carbide tip cutter. I was thinking about cutting the traces on the clad side and then use the marker attachment to do the silk screen on the other side.

Anyone attempted this ???
Never did it, but that is essentially the same kind of machine, just with maybe not the kind of accuracy available in a typical pcb router. You'll find that tolerance in all three axes is critical for fine traces, and maybe the particular composition of the cutter is important. (not all carbide is the same).

Last edited by Andrew Eckhardt; 10th November 2009 at 06:07 PM.
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Old 10th November 2009, 06:23 PM   #3
Spiny is offline Spiny  United Kingdom
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I use and support Sign cutters, 24" is the smallest we support . This is a standard swivel knife I take it. The cutting force on the majority of cutters is adjustable from 10 to 300grams with some going to 500grams.

I've never tried cutting copper clad board but I doubt there is enough force and the drag, if it cut would skew the PCB, these are designed for roll material in general. Try it slow speed. Possibly cut several times so your not at the highest force. I think it will do in the blade fairly quickly though

In my youth I used to look after real flatbed sign cutters, 7metre by 1.8metre beds with tangental cutters for vinyl and milling heads
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Old 10th November 2009, 07:09 PM   #4
audi0 is offline audi0  Australia
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Thumbs up Aggressive vinyls

Hi,

I think it would be well worth a try, I know for a fact that there are some vinyls in the marketplace that have very aggressive adhesive, i.e. can be applied to fairly rough surfaces successfully. If you were to cut a mask and apply it to the copper side, IMO you wouldn't have any problems retaining the copper beneath the mask when etching the board.
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Old 10th November 2009, 08:54 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiny View Post
I use and support Sign cutters, 24" is the smallest we support . This is a standard swivel knife I take it. The cutting force on the majority of cutters is adjustable from 10 to 300grams with some going to 500grams.

I've never tried cutting copper clad board but I doubt there is enough force and the drag, if it cut would skew the PCB, these are designed for roll material in general. Try it slow speed. Possibly cut several times so your not at the highest force. I think it will do in the blade fairly quickly though

In my youth I used to look after real flatbed sign cutters, 7metre by 1.8metre beds with tangental cutters for vinyl and milling heads
Mine has adjustable speeds from 100mm/s to 11000mm/s and pressure from 5g to 900g
So i tried a test "score" on one of the boards...
Settings were 450mm/s @ 250g came out a bit crooked on the first try.
All i had to do is increase the clamping force on the rollers to keep the material from "slipping" or shifting.
Second try looked pretty good and all lines were straight and even !!
This is the Unit i have....
picked it up for $200
PS:
I got 4 knifes with it - 2 x 45' and 2 x 60'

Last edited by Adrculda; 10th November 2009 at 09:14 PM.
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Old 10th November 2009, 09:36 PM   #6
Spiny is offline Spiny  United Kingdom
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Do know of them Good buy

Interesting idea, be interested to hear how it works out on boards.

Specs suggest 500grams and 800mm/sec flatout should be enough
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Old 11th November 2009, 01:09 AM   #7
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Also noticed that a sharpie fits perfectly in the knife holder
Now a fine tipped blue or black sharpie would be perfect for laying down the silk screen on the top side of the board.

But first i have to get a USB 2 Serial Converter till i can actually print my first circuit board

Also picked up a box full of boards from the same guy for $20 ( about 15 boards about 22" x 36" double layer with what looks like 1oz layers. )

All in all was a good yard sale
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Old 11th November 2009, 02:42 AM   #8
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Click the image to open in full size.

That's the pic of the "test", will be picking up the adapter later on tomorrow and will try to run a couple of boards to see how it comes out.
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