Sunday, 24 August 2014

Drilling a PCB Board

This is part 2 of my guide of how to make a home made PCB Board. If you are looking for part one, the link is here.

After etching and cleaning off the toner from the PCB board, the next thing that most makers struggle with is how to drill the PCB Board.

I personally had to experiment quite a bit as I could not find any good guide on how to drill a PCB board. What I am sharing here is my own personal experience, if there is a better way from the way that I am doing it, feel free to let me know.

The drill that I am using is a hand held drill that I bought at Sim Lim Tower. Nothing fancy. It has several attachments to use the different size bits. Only 1 button to turn on and turn off the drill.

I have found that the drill bit that you will most commonly need is the 0.8mm drill. You will also need a 1mm drill bit for slightly bigger pins usually found in connectors.

When you etch your board, make sure that you have a hollow point in the area that you want to drill. This will allow you to find the centre point easily and precisely.

To make your drilling work easier, use a sharp pointed tool and hammer into the center . This will create an indentation that your drill bit can sit into so that it will not move when you start drilling.

Now you are ready to drill. Do not turn on the drill first. Hold the board with one hand perpendicular to the table and the drill in the other. With the drill off, feel for the indentation first. Make sure that you hold the drill in such a way that you can turn it on while pushing it gently against the board. Note that you should not use much strength. Just gently push the drill. The drill bit is very small and can snap into half very easily. Then push forward and turn on the drill. You should be using your thumb to turn on the drill.

That's it!! With a bit of practice, you should have no problems drilling your PCB boards. As you can see from the picture below, it is possible to drill very accurately!!

Final note : If you are trying to drill a larger hole such as 2mm to 3mm, you may experience that the drill is not strong enough to drill such a large hole. The solution to this, if you do not have a stronger drill, is to drill a small hold first and that gradually increase the size. In other words, start with a 1mm hole, then to 1.5mm then to 2mm and so on.

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