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Welcome to our site! Electro Tech is an online community (with over 170,000 members) who enjoy talking about and building electronic circuits, projects and gadgets. To participate you need to register. Registration is free. Click here to register now.
I always just used a bandsaw myself. A table saw may chip the crap out of the board and a router is going to make lots of dust.
Scoring them with a razor blade and snapping them works ok, a little sanding on the snapped off edge and they are fine.
There two kinds of common backing material for PCB's, phenolic, which is brown coloured and fibre glass which is usually greenish or blueish.
Phenolic is pretty easy to cut, the copper film is the toughest there.
Fibre glass is hard on cutting blades, a band saw with a metal cutting blade would be the safest. I've cut them with a fine, tungsten tipped, circular saw blade on a bench saw but one has to be very careful and the blade has to be very sharp.
I think the commercial PCB makers use a guillotine type cutter for that job.
If you just got the odd board to cut try a hack saw if you do not have a band saw, just clamp it well between two pieces of scrap ply and cut carefully and very close to the ply edges to stop vibrations.
For a professional cut, when I worked at a printed circuit company we used a "shearing table" pretty much the same as what you would use for sheet metal, however that is out of most peoples price range.
if you have a local sheet metal or HVAC company they can zip it off for you really quick, to dress the edges a peice of emery paper tacked to a peice of wood helps with that.
some of the government work we did we used a machining technique, high speed drills (20,000 + RPM) for the weird angles and curves.
For small jobs, I use a Dremel tool with an abrasive cut-off wheel (dremel #409). It helps if you have a drill-press mount for the tool, lock it at the desired height and slide the pc board across the drill-press base. It makes a nice, clean cut. This approach works best for trimming off less than 1 1/4" of the pc board, more than this and you run into the dremel's body. If you go this route, work slowly and score the board on the first pass, those cut-off wheels are fragile.
Well I myself use a hacksaw, it's light, has a thin blade, made for cutting metal, and seldom leaves sharp or uneven edges. The only problem is getting a straight cut, since the blade is so thin, it tends to bend easily, and can put a curve in the edge. The only way to stop this is to get good at cutting with a hacksaw.
I'm thinking about investing in a dremel, but I also want to go to college for stone, and metal sculpture, so I figure a dremel would be good.
Plus a dremel is a good drill for people who play games like warhammer, and other miniature games, since you can use it to customize your miniatures.
I have a cheaper Sears Craftsman version of the Dremel, it's one of the most useful tools I've bought. It takes all the standard Dremel attachments. For small jobs, it's hard to beat, and there are always new uses for it. Ex - instead of buying specialized tools for nonstandard screw heads (torx or others), you can often notch the screws across the center using a cut off wheel and then use a standard flat-blade screwdriver. The cut off wheels and the drill-press base were the two most useful accessories to have, IMO. The drill-press lets you do precision work with the tool.