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Old 5th April 2013, 10:40 PM   #1
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Default Circuit board cutters

Looking for a better way to trim my circuit boards to size. What are guys using out there for affordable PCB cutters?
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Old 5th April 2013, 11:00 PM   #2
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Maybe you better define affordable and if this is a passing fad or a long term affliction.

Some people are tool junkies...... I place myself in that category.

I shear mine on a small bench shear if they are small enough which is like 99.9% of the time. Once on a not so small board, I used a diamond saw blade, run wet.

Cyclotronguy
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Old 5th April 2013, 11:17 PM   #3
Johno is offline Johno  Australia
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Score with box cutter, snap and file smooth with a double-cut bastard. With a deep score you can snap out inside shapes.
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Old 5th April 2013, 11:42 PM   #4
AJT is offline AJT  Philippines
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yes, for longer cuts, pvc cutter on both sides of the board and snap, then sandpaper 220 grit then 400 grit to smooth out the edges.

for shorter cuts, i use a heavy pair of scissors, make sure to preheat the board on an oven to prevent cracking the edges...
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Old 6th April 2013, 01:34 AM   #5
JMFahey is offline JMFahey  Argentina
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Strongly agree on preheating the board, I use a heat gun.
Since I make my own PCBs for commercial use, I bought an industrial shear with a 30" blade, but for ages I have scored them and cracked along it.
With care, don't even need sanding.
FWIW I still do it if away from home, I resharpen the tip of an XActo knife as a "hook" , so it scrapes a deep narrow precise cut in 2 or 3 passes.
Standard blade sharpening is useless for this.
It should end looking like this, and what cuts is the tip of the "claw":
Click the image to open in full size.
I sharpen it to a more aggressive angle.
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Old 6th April 2013, 01:31 PM   #6
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Brahahah! Passing fad? My wife would love that! A good bench shear is about the only thing I don't have. It's a struggle to find places to put it all and if I take any more room for the lab I'll be living alone.

Sorry but that line killed me...I should have been more specific. I've used every method out there, I think, to cut my boards but nearly all my stuff is SMD these days so the boards are getting a bit to small to handle easily. I've looked at shears but never purchased one (I went for the oscilloscope, or the function generator, the etching tank, the drill press etc...ha ha). Anyway, it's time to get the shears and I'm looking for recommendations.

I live in Canada (Toronto area) so if anyone has a recommend from whats available up here that would be great.

Thanks

Last edited by Copper Dog; 6th April 2013 at 01:44 PM.
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Old 8th April 2013, 01:47 AM   #7
Chartal is offline Chartal  Canada
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Hi.

Have a look at KBC Tools and Busy Bee Tools.
They have 12" hand shear for 175$
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Old 11th April 2013, 08:56 PM   #8
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Copper Dog

Muhahaha indeed, this coming from the guy with a rather complete machine shop in a too small garage.

Just last weekend I was bemoaning that a 5 min project required a 2 hour retool on the milling machine.

Wife sez: We'll why don't you buy another milling machine and avoid this? No she's not gullible. To which I reply...... NO ROOM.

Wife suggest...... well if it was clotting up the driveway, I'll bet you'd find the space.

I love my wife!

Cyclotronguy
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Old 11th April 2013, 09:33 PM   #9
JMFahey is offline JMFahey  Argentina
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Quote:
a 5 min project required a 2 hour retool on the milling machine.
That's what a lot of people don't get.
They "see" the 5 minutes work, don't consider the preparation time, or having to get a very expensive die first, or special cutting tools or whatever.

EDIT: but if your problem is that now you are into small PCBs, that 12" bench shear takes little space, somewhat less than a drill press.
Although the one shown in the picture does not look 12".
Also remember that 12" blades (in that kind of shear) do not mean you can cut 12" in one pass, because blades are crossing each other at the back end.
Consider you "lose" at least 1" , sometimes a little more.
But it will be incredible useful for lots of other stuff.
Custom chassis and cabinets anybody?
At least custom front panels.

Last edited by JMFahey; 11th April 2013 at 09:39 PM.
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Old 11th April 2013, 09:47 PM   #10
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Spot on Mr Fahey! The task is usually governed by the tooling, the set-up, the tear-down and the clean-up. Frequently the job itself is fairly trivial.
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