Drilling DIY PCB

Hi guys;

Right now, I am making my own PCB. I am doing OK so far. The trace are not small, but I am doing OK. The do the trace smaller, I know I need smaller “foot print” permanent ink pen ( Dollar Store will be nice or Office Depot ) As for drilling, well my drills bits keep braking up, I do have a “Dremel” tool, and I did a few, but what I am looking for is : Where do I buy special PCB drills bits so they fit my Dremel tool and also where can I find a Manual Drill → a small one, I do have one → large manual, but it is too big for the tiny drills bits. I guess I will look at the hobby store who sell model kits - Panthers Hobbies may have them… I will check…

Anyway, I know you guys are better knowlegable than I am. I don’t mind order on-line ( 1. Canada 2. USA 3. UK 4. Europe 5.China ) ← My preference levels…

Any help / hint will be nice.

I think a drill press is pretty much a "must" for this. I used to do my own, I used 0.031" and 0.040" drills mostly, and rarely broke them. The funny thing was, I had this ancient Craftsman benchtop drill press that was missing the return spring on the spindle. So instead of pushing the drill down, I was holding it up, and letting it down little by little. I think this actually gave a better feel. Get carbide bits if you can, the fiberglass dulls high speed steel in a hurry, and go slow.

Never saw one in person, but I remember a pin vise that could hold the small drill, and fit into the drill press chuck, but it had its own splined shaft that could be operated manually. Might be worth googling around for something like that.

I use the photographic methos for making the boards, positive type chemistry. And the drills can be purchased from Harbor Freight in assortment packs of 10 bits. 1/8" shank carbide bits. I have some as large as 3/16 and others as small as 5mil. A small tabletop drill press bought and used exclusively for pcb work is a must, you don't want any spindle wobble :D

Maybe you can fit an end cutting end mill bit with the right shank in the dremel? However, for doing it for real, I recommend a drill press, like the others. (Or a CNC mill if you have the budget :-)

There is a drill press that holds a dremel - google "dremel drill press"

I got this: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Smaill-PCB-Drill-Press-Drilling-0-8mm-Drill-12V-/330601724583?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4cf965faa7

and these: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/20pcs-0-8mm-Twisted-Drill-Bit-Tip-Electric-Drill-/160709600127?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item256b09e37f

I wired a small tactile switch to the side of the motor for momentary on/off. It works just fine (although it gets too hot to hold after running continuously for about 300 holes and needs to cool down). Likewise, those bits last about 300 holes. It's not perfect, but it works for my (limited) PCB diy. I can do about 12-15 holes a minute with a sharp bit.

Thank for the reply gentlement.

I will look into these advises / tips. A drill press is very interesting, but I am not sure about very tiny drill bits. I did use a small manual drill way back, I use the RS small manual drill, the chuke was small to fit the bit, but sometime, the rotation of the bit is not center… it wobble… a small wobble, but a wobble who can give me problems ( drilling ) and the major cause of the breakdown of the bit. My “Dremel” I have is from Rona, their model and it was cheap to buy… heh a real dremel is WAY expensive… :astonished: And beside my “dremel” is doing it job, and it come with a flex shaft, so I use the flex shaft. I know a drill press will be steady, but I am worry about the “wobble” problem …

Anyway, gentlement, I will check A1 Electronics this week-end to see if they have more dills bits ( under $1 each ), buy at least 10 22pF for my Arduino projects, and check for a —> Foot Switch <— rated 240 AC @ 10 A if possible, rig a AC prong to connect my drill, and the foot switch will act as a on / off switch, and I have a few AC cord with AC plug. So when I drill, I hold the bit at the board, use my other hand to hold the board and the foot controlling the foot valve. My temp solution.

Thank guys for the responces, I will into those sudgestions.

@John_S

I look at the link, and :grin: Perfect for model kits... using a small ( toy ) electric motor, a special chuck for the bits... Cool !!! I guess I better register on e-bay.

About the bits, I have some tiny bits, I baught them at Sayal.

I bought the dremel drill press made life soooo much easier

holes down to 0.5mm dead easy if you etch the copper properly it even helps to centre the drill bit!

I use the laser transfer method for laying down the pattern - works a treat

mmcp42: I bought the dremel drill press made life soooo much easier

holes down to 0.5mm dead easy if you etch the copper properly it even helps to centre the drill bit!

I use the laser transfer method for laying down the pattern - works a treat

Are you referring to the direct print positive type etch resist sheets?

ajofscott:

mmcp42: I bought the dremel drill press made life soooo much easier

holes down to 0.5mm dead easy if you etch the copper properly it even helps to centre the drill bit!

I use the laser transfer method for laying down the pattern - works a treat

Are you referring to the direct print positive type etch resist sheets?

nope

just print onto photo (shiny) paper iron it on to the copper let the paper soak peel it off rub away the remainder (wet fingers) ta-da!

Since I don’t have enough space for a drill press I came to this solution: I bought a small pin vise, and I put the drill bit deep into it, so that only 5mm are visible. I start making the holes using the pin vise with my fingers (just a couple of movements to leave a guide mark). The I put the pin vise in my electric drill, and finish the holes.
Not the quickest way to do it, but the less space consuming one :slight_smile:

I guess every trick work.

As for etching the board, I use platic lunch containers. I bough them at NoFrill in the dollar store section of the store ( NoFrill at Eglington Ave W / Blackcreek ) a small container, a mid size container and a big one. My etchant goe into the small one or the mid-size. And I place the small / mid size into a big one full of hot water from the tap or stove kettle. The temp is about 50 C to 70 C. Warm water. The time to etch is about 1 hr. You change the water every 1/2 hr. And then, dispose the etchant - properly, clean the container with cold water and scrub the etch board with a SOS pad. You have a nice & clean Home-made PCB ready for drilling.

@mmcp42

That is a nice method to place mirror image of the artwork. I read it on the net, I was planning to do that method. Beat punching & trace by hand with a permanent ink pen.

I am really interrested to lean that technique.

Let me get this :

just print onto photo (shiny) paper ← I got that - print the mirror PCB artwork on a high gloss photo paper.
iron it on to the copper <— I got that. like ironing your pants
let the paper soak ← I don’t get that ??? paper soak ?? soak with water ???
peel it off ← I get that - remove the paper carefully
rub away the remainder (wet fingers) ← wet finger ?? rud away ?/ I don’t get that ???

About the drill press, I wil check Home Depot & Rona if they have it.

just print onto photo (shiny) paper ← I got that - print the mirror PCB artwork on a high gloss photo paper.

But only using a laser printer, or a xerox/photocopy machine. The toner sticks to the board.

For the ironing part my recommendation is: first heat the raw PCB board and then apply the printed paper. The toner sticks to the PCB almost instantly. Iron it slowly for 3 to 5 minutes.

A friend of mine uses transparent foil instead of paper. Never tried it, but he says it works fine and its easier to remove than paper.

A laser printer... :astonished:

I don't have that !

I just have a lousy ink jet... =( I guess I will try it using what I got.

Iron it slowly for 3 to 5 minutes

And set the iron to ---> Dry Ironing...

Anyway, today I just [rant] broke another drill bit ... and a good one too :0 [\rant]

The cause : It got stuck, and by forcing it out ... I well broke it ... =(

I did finish my project and it is a new DIY shield with 8 red led's, 3 on/off micro switch and 2 potentiometer of 50 K and a reset switch and a green led for 13. work just fine. A bit tight at the Ardiuno, but it is fine.

An inkjet printer WILL NOT WORK!!!

The reason is it uses ink which is absorbed by the paper. A laser printer OTOH deposits a plastic polymer on the paper. When you heat it up, the plastic is redeposited onto the copper.

I’ve found some success doing the following:

  1. Clean the copper thoroughly. I use a steel SOS cleaning pad and scrub in little circles until it is clean. It has to be shiny.

  2. Preheat the clean copperboard with an iron on it’s maximum setting.

  3. Carefully lay the paper (with the toner on) onto the hot board. It will stick like a sticker. Be careful and get it right the first time, you don’t want to move it around and smudge the design.

  4. Press firmly down on the paper on the board with the iron. Be sure you get all the corners. I usually do this for 4-5 minutes using a thick phone book underneath as a heat shield.

  5. Put the board into a dish of water. The water should sizzle if the board is hot enough.

  6. Let it cool and let the paper soak. Carefully peal off the paper. You can remove the paper residue with a (old) toothbrush, or just carefully rub it with your fingers.

  7. Carefully inspect your board for broken traces (may be fixable with a permanent marker) or bridges (scratch away the toner with a sharp tool). If there are too many problems, go back to step 1.

  8. Viola! Your board is now ready for etching.

@TECHONE email me at StgIIIOvrDvn@hotmail.com, I have some catalog pages for DATAK products that may be of interest to you.

@John_S

An inkjet printer WILL NOT WORK!!!!

:P

That suck !! I only have a ink jet. Can't afford a laser printer...

@ajofscott

Thank :open_mouth:

I will e-mail you... I just hope I can afford their products...

You can print to inkjet and run a photocopy at kinkos for the same effect. Assuming they let you copy onto glossy (advertising / magazine) paper. Btw: I had an inkjet and my family ruined me. I got a cheap laser, and the cost per print is a lot less (if you print a lot)

black/white laser is the way to go as mentioned by many above it's the toner that's the secret tiny plastic balls that fuse onto the paper

not tried photcopying an inkjet picture things to watch out for: loss of resolution in the two step process most printers don't exactly print 100% so two print steps will make this worse for example I made a board for a SparkFun serial LCD which need bolt holes at 3.8" centres lost 0.05" across the width :(

trick is to "calibrate" your process print out a very large matrix of dots at 0.1" centres measure the extremes then adjust to fix EAGLE print has the facility to calibrate (but I've not tried it yet)