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What to use for PCB Drilling ?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by 3v0, Jan 21, 2007.

  1. 3v0

    3v0 Coop Build Coordinator Forum Supporter

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    I was sure this was asked before but a forum seach came up with ZIP.

    I need to get somthing better to drill PCBs with. What do you use ? How well does it work? Do you break bits?

    We have a dremel but some have said there is too much play in the dremel drill press stand to use it with carbide bits. Others say it works fine.
    I have found "Milescraft 1097 Rotary Tool Drill Press Stand" for $35 on Amazon.com. It looks similar to the Dremel 220-01 Rotary Tool Work Station $40.

    I would rather not spend the money on the MICROLUX 3-SPEED STANDARD DUTY DRILL PRESS $160 + shipping. But if the others are iffy I will.

    3v0
     
  2. k7elp60

    k7elp60 Active Member

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    I have been using a 8" bench top drill press for many years. The spindle speed is about 600RPM. I do a lot of electronic construction and it works fine for drilling holes in plastic boxes, aluminum boxes, and on PCB with the carbide drills or for that matter regular drill bits.
     
  3. ericgibbs

    ericgibbs Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    hi 3Vo
    If you just want to drill a few holes from time to time, you can buy a small
    6 to 12volt dc, handheld drill. The drill sizes I use are 0.7mm, 1.0mm and 1.5mm. [ this smaller drill is useful if you need to drill an extra hole in your pcb and useful for cleaning out a hole with solder in it]

    You can use a full size bench mounted 'pillar drill', providing the drill chuck
    will firmly hold a 0.7 or 1mm drill. I have done this many times, place your
    pcb on a flat piece of wood, tape it at the edges if its a small pcb.
    Keep your fingers clear of the drill chuck.

    Set the drill speed to a low setting, drill firmly but slowly or you will break the
    drill bit. You will find if you insert the drill bit into the chuck and leave about
    1 to 2cm protruding out of the chuck, the drill is less likely to break.

    As always, if you are using a drill remember to wear safety glasses.

    Regards
    EricG
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2007
  4. dave

    Dave New Member

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  5. 3v0

    3v0 Coop Build Coordinator Forum Supporter

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    This is going in the wrong direction.

    I want the drilling to be as painless as possible. Maybe a CNC drill some day down the road but for now I have other projects that come first.

    I know it is less work (and better quality) to send the boards off to have them made by sparkfun or olimex. If I ever make more the one or two of anything I will do that after I am sure the thing works. Till that time I would rather make my own low density (easy to probe/work on) boards.

    The board I am currently working with has a 28 pin PIC and 147 holes. It is a simple board.

    A friend and I made PC boards back in the 80's and the quality was always less then desired and the process a mess. We tried several of them including silk screen. Now that I am retired I wanted to try it again. I choose the Pulsar system using a laminator to transfer toner and their foil that seals the toner prior to etching. Their site says you can print and etch a board in 15 minutes. Not the first time, but once you do the process it is quick, easy and about as foolproof as it gets. This is the first board I have made with their system and it came out very well.

    [​IMG]
    For an even larger view of the board see http://www.rocklore.com/images/UBW_RS485/etchedBoard2.JPG
    The 4 lines show the process resolution. They are .01, .012, .016, and .024. The scratches you see are from the maybe too course scotchbrite pad I used.

    3v0
     
  6. Thunderchild

    Thunderchild New Member

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    just use a small 12 Volt drill they can also come with a stand to make a small column drill.
     
  7. HarveyH42

    HarveyH42 Banned

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    Carbide PCB bits need high speed, or they tend to break. Drilling PCBs is the biggest pain, a drill press is a good investment if you do a lot of holes. Also makes other drilling task easier and cleaner.
     
  8. ericgibbs

    ericgibbs Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    hi 3vo
    Have I missed a post ?. Your posting: 'this is going the wrong direction'

    Please explain

    Regards
    EricG

    Like your pcb.
     
  9. evandude

    evandude New Member

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    you definitely don't want to be using something like that microlux, the drill speed would be WAY too low.

    many of the versions of the dremel drill press attachments have been wobbly and terrible for PCB drilling. Some have been OK; the trouble is making sure you are buying the right one. The model 220 drill press started out terrible (I had one), was replaced by a much better model (which I got as a replacement), and now it seems they've replaced it with another terrible version. They're all the same model number though, so if you buy one you have to be careful about which it is.

    The sears/craftsman rotary tool stand that they are selling right now appears to be exactly the same as the GOOD version of the dremel model 220 that I have.
    http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/prod...al=TOOL&subcat=Rotary+Tool&BV_UseBVCookie=Yes
    You can identify this version by the fact that the metal rod part of the mechanism protrudes from the top of the housing, and the lever attaches with a single screw. (the crappier versions have a slot cut in the lever, in which a sliding pin rides and moves the mechanism - the good one uses the much better rack-and-pinion mechanism) The one I have (dremel brand, but should be the same thing) has a number of set screws all over it, and once adjusted properly is clean enough to not break bits, though not entirely free of slop.

    Another option, and a more foolproof one without a lot of wasted time shopping around, is the "PZ541 Vertical Drill Stand" from http://www.minicrafttools.com/Attachments.html
    (yes, I have one of these too) It clamps around the body of the rotary tool, so it can work with many different rotary tools - dremel and others. And, the entire thing is made of metal and is a very simple mechanism. It's somewhat more expensive, but it is compact and I never had a problem with mine.

    Personally, I tend to use my (good version) dremel model 220 workstation most of the time, rather than the minicraft drill press - simply because the 220 has a larger, longer lever, making it marginally more comfortable to use.
     
  10. 3v0

    3v0 Coop Build Coordinator Forum Supporter

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    Nope you did not miss anything,
    I am looking to step up to a better tool using carbide bits to reduce the time it takes to drill.

    The posts at that point were mostly about drilling the boards uisng hand drills.

    3v0
     
  11. 3v0

    3v0 Coop Build Coordinator Forum Supporter

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    Hi evandude,

    This is exactly the sort of info I was looking for, Thanks..
    I was confused by what was said about the Dremel stand and now I know why. They are not all created equal.

    I will most likly get the PZ541 Vertical Drill Stand.

    I have to mail order everything so ordering a Dremel or Sears unit could possibly result in a problem. Also I like the fact that it is all metal.

    Thanks a bunch. I own you one.

    3v0
     
  12. Dean Huster

    Dean Huster Well-Known Member

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    At the school in Oklahoma where I taught, I used a Dremel tool (ball bearing) at about 75% of maximum speed with the Dremel drill press. No problems. Carbide bit breakage was strictly due to operator error.

    A home, I have the Sears Craftsman version of both. Same good results.

    Now, to get the good results, lower the drill "headstock" until the bit clears the surface of your PCB by about 1/8-inch. That will reduce any play in the assemply, play that only increases with long reaches of the "quill" of the "headstock".

    A small fan blowing across the drilling surface will keep most of the "chaff" blown away. And mounting one of those big, lighted bench magnifiers so that it will move to right in front of the PCB will provide, light, magnification and eye protection. And have everything mounted on a bench tall enough that when you sit, your eyes are just above PCB surfact height. With all that, you should be able to drill comfortable for hours with few delays.

    Dean
     
  13. 3v0

    3v0 Coop Build Coordinator Forum Supporter

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    An update.

    I called Dremel customer service to ask about the current shipping version. They are in agreement about the unit you returned. They were so bad they pulled them from the shelves. According to them the replacement model is still shipping. I read the rep your info about how to tell good from bad and they said they were shipping the good version.

    I was going to go with the PZ541, I could try a dremel if I can get it from a place that will take it back. Then again I am not sure its worth the hassel. I have about 2 weeks to think about it since I just blew my monthly hobby allotment at Mouser... :)

    3v0
     
  14. testingpurpose

    testingpurpose New Member

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    Hi,

    I work with this tools from proxxon (heavy duty) german:
    http://www.proxxon.com/

    Support mounting : fast >10000T
    Professional Drill/Grinder IB/E
    Only for high speed carbide drill. Quick work, but need sharpen cut : with speed, used drill tear off copper.

    Slow <3000T
    Bench Drill Machine TBM 220
    low speed dedicated to low cost HSS, or best diamond or titanium. It's a good compromise between cost and drilling quality.

    Have a nice day.
     
  15. 3v0

    3v0 Coop Build Coordinator Forum Supporter

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    The TBM 200 looks like the same machine as the MicroMark I mentioned in the first post. This would be a bad choice for me in that I have a stock of fiberglass board stock that would chew up HSS drill bits.

    I found the "Professional Drill/Grinder IB/E" but am not sure what you are using as a stand. Or do you use it hand held ?

    3v0
     
  16. testingpurpose

    testingpurpose New Member

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    Hi,
    I made a search for micromark. It's seems to be like proxxon (a copy ?) but perharps not with SKF high quality ball bearings. I use speed < 2000T with standard epoxy FR4 for HSS. Avantage only low cost. I tryed titanium, but more expensive and in fact not really interesting.
    The other tool, stay on a stand not shown on website. May be cause I have my tools since more then seven years now. But there is a stand for it.
    Carbide bits are interesting if you have a lot of drills to do without changing bits. But you have to sharpen bits if you want to keep low costs.
    May be you have very poor HSS... before you change your drill machine, try some others drill bits.
    Have a nice day.
     
  17. skan

    skan New Member

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    Could someone help me to choose?

    Hello.
    I'm also trying to decide what drill machine to buy.
    As I don't like the removable collets system I've been looking into the 3-way grip OR keyless chuck ones. Though there is not much variety too choose among if I need a "micro"drill.

    I've reduced my search to 3 Proxxon: (*)

    Micromot 50/EF
    http://cgi.ebay.de/PROXXON-Nr-28512...ryZ27654QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

    FBS 12/E
    http://cgi.ebay.de/PROXXON-28462-Fe...ryZ27654QQrdZ1QQssPageNameZWD1VQQcmdZViewItem

    FBS 240/E
    http://cgi.ebay.de/PROXXON-Nr-28472...ryZ27654QQrdZ1QQssPageNameZWD1VQQcmdZViewItem
    features at english web pagess, I link this because it was easy to link the pictures.

    I can't decide among that three. I can't perceive if they use the same system to grab the drill bits. Could anybody confirm it?

    I don't know whether is better to choose a 240V (or 120V in USA) or a 12V with an external power supply. I guess choosing the 240V doesn't have any disadvantage, Does it?

    Are bigger drills less precise?


    (*) Maybe someone could advice me to buy a Minicraft or other brand.
     
  18. 3v0

    3v0 Coop Build Coordinator Forum Supporter

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    The slop/wobble in the drill stand is a much greater source for error then the runout in the drill/tool.

    I can not give any sage advice regarding the 12V vrs 240.

    I am thinking that either would work for drilling boards. The choice may depend on what else you intend to use it for.

    What would the advantage of a 12V be if you are going to use a power supply to run it. I stay away from most battery operated tools in that they are only useful as cord free tools as long as the batteries last. An unused AC powered tool will last nearly forever.
     
  19. skan

    skan New Member

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    decision

    Thanks for replying.
    I think I'll buy the 240V and a good drill stand.

    greets
     
  20. 3v0

    3v0 Coop Build Coordinator Forum Supporter

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    According to evandude the best bet for getting a stand that works is to buy the all metal PZ541 Vertical Drill Stand. His one problem with it was that the handle was too short but I should be able to make a longer one if needed.

    [​IMG]
     
  21. skan

    skan New Member

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    doubts

    Hello

    Since I was thinking in buying a Proxxon drill I also wanted to buy a stand of the same brand:
    http://www.brimarc.com/home.php3?page=products&pc=28606
    It's cheap but I don't know whether it will firmly grab the drill machine. I say that because It has just one fixing point, at the very end of the drill machine.

    Do you think PZ541 is better?. Will it be OK for proxxon drills?.
    For a little bit more you can buy this one:
    http://www.altunel.com.tr/shop/prod....html&XTCsid=cc0887d78466704a1b2e6562469b3d19
     

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