What is the best way to cut stripboard/veroboard/perfboard?

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by JingleJoe, Aug 31, 2011.

  1. JingleJoe

    Thread Starter Member

    Jul 23, 2011
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    Title says it all really.
    What methods have you used? What methods require least additional tools? What methods do you personally find easiest? Does a specific tool for cutting stripboard exist?
     
  2. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
    22,182
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    I use a paper cutter, like this one:

    [​IMG]

    If you have a steady hand, you can use a Dremel tool. However, be very careful to use a mask so that you don't breathe in the fiberglas powder.
     
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  3. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
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    I find it easiest to buy the size I need to begin with. :D Not very helpful, but it's true.
     
  4. someonesdad

    Senior Member

    Jul 7, 2009
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    I use tin snips or a hacksaw with a fine blade.
     
  5. JingleJoe

    Thread Starter Member

    Jul 23, 2011
    185
    10
    Thankyou for the warning however I am quite aware of the dust of death, I own several full-face gas masks so nothing to worry about :)

    Thanks for all the swift replies chaps :)

    I have some tin snips and a hack saw but whenever I cut with the hack saw it allways veers off and cuts into the trace I wanted :(
     
  6. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    I use 2 wood blocks to guide a fine tooth hacksaw blade. Make a sandwich in the bench vise with wood on both sides of the circuit board, and...expect rough edges so leave some extra circuit board so you can smooth the edges after cutting.
     
  7. djsfantasi

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 11, 2010
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    I use a cutoff saw or a radial arm saw...
     
  8. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    Very interesting fantasi. I have a very nice 10 inch table saw. What kind of blade would work in that kind of a setup?
     
  9. steveb

    Senior Member

    Jul 3, 2008
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    I like the Sgt's idea - never thought of that.

    I typically use a razor knife (box-cutter) to score it (on both sides) and then just snap it. Then I file the edge.
     
  10. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    I like Wookie's idea, but I generally use a Dremel. I even bought a special saw attachment for the job, though a emery disk will work. The advice for a mask and safety glasses is also a good one, you will not regret it in 30 years or so.
     
  11. elec_mech

    Senior Member

    Nov 12, 2008
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    Ditto. I usually use an X-acto knife with a straight-edge like a metal ruler. 2-3 scores on each side and snap! Then a little filing.
     
  12. paulktreg

    Distinguished Member

    Jun 2, 2008
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    Score and snap usually works for me.
     
  13. someonesdad

    Senior Member

    Jul 7, 2009
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    I also like the scribing and snapping technique.

    I understand the problem cutting straight with a hacksaw -- it takes some practice. I use a hacksaw a lot, so there are some tricks to getting straighter cuts. A simple one is to make sure to draw a very visible line to cut to and correct the cut as soon as you see yourself veering from the line. You'll also have to blow cutting dust away from the line a lot so you can continuously see the line. Next, use a relatively fine-tooth blade. I use an 18 tpi hacksaw blade for most general purpose cutting in the shop (both wood and metal), but 24 or 32 tpi might work better for a fiberglass board. Probably the most important thing is to keep the angle between the blade and the work small; this has the advantage of keeping more teeth in the cut and helping you guide things better (and being able to correct errors). If you cut with the blade nearly perpendicular to the sheet and the blade starts to drift, you can have a hell of a time getting things back on course. For thin materials like perfboard and sheet metal, don't hesitate to use angles like 5 or 10 degrees if it helps.

    BTW, the hacksaw blade holder is important. I've tried a zillion different types and my favorite is the die-cast aluminum Sandvik design made in Sweden. Alas, I can't find examples of this design online anymore; it was a superb design and had the advantage of storing 8 or so blades in the handle.

    I've also cut perfboard on a table saw and chop saw and this can work OK and give straight cuts (use carbide blades if you're going to do a lot of cutting). However, cutting small pieces on a chopsaw isn't for newbies -- you have to have used a chop saw a lot and know how to properly support the piece to be cut; otherwise, the piece can be jerked out of your hand in a flash.
     
  14. djsfantasi

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 11, 2010
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    While I originally posted that technique, I have to thank someonesdad for pointing this out. It is not for a noobie! Regarding the radial arm saw (I would not use a table saw), you don't have to cut the board through; almost through will let you snap it easily and is safer.
     
  15. Genoil

    New Member

    Aug 5, 2011
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    1
    Thanks for the paper cutter idea. I happen to have a tile cutter (for bathroom/kitchen/floor tiling) lying around, that'll probably work great as well!
     
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  16. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
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    Snap and score works nice, as does a band saw.

    Either way I cut wide and use a belt sander to worry it down to size, I hate little tablets on the edges.
     
  17. Audioguru

    New Member

    Dec 20, 2007
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    Most perf board today is very cheap paper-phenolic that is a brown colour and it warps easily (humidity or temperature).
    I have always used epoxy-fiberglass stripboard that is hard to find today but it does not warp.
     
  18. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
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    I use a handheld nibbler. It can cut straight lines and also shapes quite quickly and works on front panels too. Works on phenolic or fibreglass PCBs. Or to make square holes.
     
  19. JingleJoe

    Thread Starter Member

    Jul 23, 2011
    185
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    Thankyou for all the great methods chaps :)
    I bid on a really nice old, wood and brass, paper guillitine on ebay. But now I've been outbid :rolleyes: I might see if I can make one, I know a chap who makes knives.

    Untill then I'm going to experiment with scoring and snapping as I already have a metal ruler and pointy things!
     
  20. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    I used to like nibblers, but then I had some experience in a machine shop and it spoiled me for life. The main thing I don't like about nibblers is the tool marks on either side of the square holes.
     
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