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Topic: Safer proto boards? (Read 1 time) previous topic - next topic


I've read about the dangers of exposure to dust from cutting and drilling PCB boards. Are FR2 boards any safer or are they all pretty much the same? What are the drawbacks and advantages? My application does not involve extreme temperatures so warping shouldn't be an issue.

I'm interested in any other general advice on how to manage the risk or is it overblown?.


I believe the risk was mostly related to old phenolic PCBs. Nasty brown stuff. You don't see it in any electronics made in the last 40 years except the cheapest plastic toys.

I've never taken any special precaution breathing the dust from any type of PCB. Just don't make a habit of it.
"The problem is in the code you didn't post."


I recommend leaving the drudge work of fabricating boards that need holes and milling to professionals. Not because of fear for my own health, but just because it's so cheap to get boards made nowadays that I can't justify the time it takes to make boards myself - the boards come out looking crappy and taking a lot of work, when you can just get them made professionally with solder mask and silk screen and as many holes as you want....

For small numbers of boards, it's not worth worrying about. Wear a dust mask if you must, and of course eye protection when drilling/cutting boards...
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Thanks for the responses. What about just cutting strip board and perf board for making prototypes? Any issues there?


Does the strip board come with a sticker that says it's carcinogenic or "known to the state of California"? It's unlikely that you will be holding something immediately hazardous to your health. Your government does try to restrict the sale of poisons.

Normal precautions should be used, as if you were cutting wood.
"The problem is in the code you didn't post."


"known to the state of California"?
I was at a bar in CA recently where they had that same warning about the alcohol.  I told they must not be drinking it right.  Here in AR the only thing liquor causes is stupidity and pregnancy. 
|| | ||| | || | ||  ~Woodstock

Please do not PM with technical questions or comments.  Keep Arduino stuff out on the boards where it belongs.


I believe the risk was mostly related to old phenolic PCBs.
FR-2 is made with a phenolic resin; whether the same as the old boards or not, I'm not sure.

FR-4 however is made with glass fibers; the problem with the dust from such boards are the glass fibers - to breath that in is almost as bad as asbestos. Getting it in the eyes wouldn't be good, either.

I will not respond to Arduino help PM's from random forum users; if you have such a question, start a new topic thread.


I use a cylinder style vacuum cleaner (without the hose) standing vertically as a platform for cutting and grinding operations. 99% of the fine material gets captured. Only the heavier bits of copper make a bid for freedom. The instant removal of dust also makes it easier to see where the cutting line is.
I also work behind an illuminated magnifying glass.


Dec 02, 2015, 04:52 pm Last Edit: Dec 02, 2015, 04:57 pm by DVDdoug
I usually cut the stuff with a hacksaw and not much dust gets into the air.    Drilling small holes doesn't seem to put much into the air either.    Maybe if you are using a high-speed saw or milling with a Dremel tool or something like that you might need a mask.

If you work in a PC board factory where you are breathing the stuff 8 hours a day, you should probably take extra precautions.  But, if you are hobbyist and you're only exposed to the stuff once in awhile, I'd say just use common sense.

:D :D
I was at a bar in CA recently where they had that same warning about the alcohol.  I told they must not be drinking it right.  Here in AR the only thing liquor causes is stupidity and pregnancy.  
:D :D

Yeah, every grocery store (and probably every other store) here in California has a sticker on the door that says, something like, "This store sells products known to cause cancer."  Then, there's another warning sign in the liquor isle that has warnings about drinking while pregnant.     But I always laugh, because I'm with you...   I say drinking alcohol can cause pregnancy.

There's one grocery store here with a sticker on the door that says, "No guns allowed."  I guess that prevents armed robbery.  :smiley-roll:

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