Choosing a Drill for PCBs

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by TheLoneMilkMan, Mar 22, 2017.

  1. TheLoneMilkMan

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 22, 2017
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    Hello all! First post here.

    So I've looked through a lot of similar threads here but haven't gotten a clear answer. Lately I've been collecting everything I need to start etching my own pcbs (probably more than I need too but I want everything to look pretty). So now I just need to choose a drill for the through hole components. I know it's not ideal, but would your standard Home Depot drill press work even though it only goes up to 3000RPM? Ideally I'd like to get this, as there's definitely been times where I wished I had a drill press but didn't. I know a lot of people use Dremel type tools, but I always hear how they have a lot of play and are not very accurate. Though I guess I'd probably rather buy one than a jewelers type high speed press since I could use it for other tasks (though I've never thought to myself wow I need a rotary tool), but I'd buy it if it was sufficiently cheap ~$50.

    Hopeing you guys could help me out!
     
  2. nigelwright7557

    AAC Fanatic!

    May 10, 2008
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    A drill press is vital for getting accurate neat perpendicular holes.

    I no longer make my own pcb's as I can pick them up for peanuts in China.
    I use www.pcbway.com. 10 pcb's for $10 + $25 shipping.
    They are here in a week or two and always very good quality.
     
  3. TheLoneMilkMan

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 22, 2017
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    Yeah I know that the Chinese fabrication companies are likely to be at least just as cheap with bulk but I'd rather etch them myself. I could easily make revisions, do one off designs, and it just seems more satisfying. Plus I could have some fun making my up exposure box.
     
  4. dl324

    AAC Fanatic!

    Mar 30, 2015
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    JWHassler likes this.
  5. hp1729

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 23, 2015
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    Absolutely, drill press, titanium drill bits. A Dremel is a great tool for many things but not for drilling in PCBs. My drill press has cross hair LED for guiding. Dremel does make a drill press attachment but quality of the result depends on your skill, not the tool.
     
  6. spinnaker

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 29, 2009
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    Don't tell @cmartinez . He drills with no drill press.

    What if you can only use one? $35 is awfully pricey for one board. Plus newbies are prone to make PCB design mistakes. Awful long wait and expensive only to find you need to do it all over again. ;)
     
    Dr.killjoy and cmartinez like this.
  7. cmartinez

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 17, 2007
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    I don't need a press... the reason is that I'm near sighted, I have a -5:50, -3:50 prescription ;)
    That allows me to see quite well with my glasses on, and lets me clearly see an object only 4 inches away from my left eye with glasses off, even though I'm 52... plus, I've got perfect pulse... :cool:
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2017
  8. djsfantasi

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 11, 2010
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    Look at Osh Park, the purple PCB people. Their price is $5 per square inch for 3 boards and 5 day shipping for free. My last order cost me $15 total.

    Oh, and they are made in the U. S. of A.
     
  9. spinnaker

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 29, 2009
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    And VERY steady hands. You should have been a surgeon. ;)

    I am far more near sighted. I have excellent close vision even at 57. But, no way can I hold my hand that steady.
     
  10. cmartinez

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 17, 2007
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    It's all in the technique, man. If you're right handed, like me, then what you have to do is tape the PCB to the table, then hold the drill with your right hand while laying your right elbow on the table. Then, using your left hand's index finger, you guide the drill to the point that you want to drill.
    I use flexible shaft extension on my dremel, while the motor itself is hanging from a hook on the wall.

    That way, slightly pushing the drill's grip cap with your left hand index against your right hand, you obtain perfect steadiness for drilling purposes.
     
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