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An adventure in panelizing boards 
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Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:48 pm
Posts: 58
Real Name: Dan
I recently had a bunch of little breakout boards that I wanted to make. I looked at making the boards and realized they would all fit in a single 5cm x 5cm board, which means I could get them in a single order - if they were all on the same board. Here's the result:

Attachment:
P1040225.JPG


Although it worked out pretty well, I'm not sure if I'd do it again without some changes. The place I ordered the boards from (Seeed studio) allows you to put little panels together, but they ask that you not separate the sub-boards with anything other than silkscreen lines. That makes separating them harder. (Ideally, you'd have them score the boards, or put perforated drill holes in, or something similar.)

I tried separating them with by scoring them with an exacto-knife and then snapping them apart. It didn't work for me. I'm guessing I wasn't being patient enough to score deep enough into the boards.

Instead, I cut them apart with a band saw. That worked great, but was a little unnerving due to the sparks flying around when the blade connected with an adjacent sub-board's metal. Some of the boards were also a little small, requiring some jigs, etc, to cut them without having to have my fingers really close to the blade.

In the end... I'm still thinking I might just pay the little bit extra to have the boards separately made and routed next time.


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Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:12 am
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Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:48 pm
Posts: 58
Real Name: Dan
Oh - and here are a few of them with parts populated. I'm really happy with the biggest one. It's a breakout board for an ATMega32u4 -- basically like this: https://www.adafruit.com/products/296 or this: https://www.adafruit.com/products/199

I'm looking forward to using it to learn more about USB communication.

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P1040222.JPG


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Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:15 am
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Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2012 9:30 pm
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Real Name: Randy
Dan, did you do a solder paste and hot plate trick to mount those?


Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:42 am
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Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:48 pm
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Real Name: Dan
No, I soldered them by hand using a fine tip. You can tell if you see them up close. My solder joints aren't the prettiest things in the world, but they work.


Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:03 am
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Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:18 am
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A metal shear is one of the best ways for separating boards like that.
Image

One of these might be a good addition to the space!


Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:09 am
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Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:18 am
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dan.scof wrote:
No, I soldered them by hand using a fine tip. You can tell if you see them up close. My solder joints aren't the prettiest things in the world, but they work.

He still has good eyes Randy. ;)

I have to use the stereo microscopes here at work to see that stuff.


Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:12 am
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Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:40 am
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Real Name: Robert
Hi Dan,
Just did the same thing. For me the quick solution for my odd shaped daughtercards (see installed boards on the right) was a bandsaw. The dust is nasty stuff, so you need breathing protection. You also need a special blade for cutting fiberglass.

Bob


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Last edited by agemoz on Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:33 am, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:26 am
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Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:40 am
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Real Name: Robert
Quote:
A metal shear is one of the best ways for separating boards like that.


One of these might be a good addition to the space!


I do use a big shear (48") for straight cuts, but my board has a bunch of odd shaped daughtercards to fit on the destination board, so the shear wasn't an option here. I wouldn't use a small shear for this since you are cutting fiberglass and that is really hard on the cutting edge.

Bob


Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:30 am
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Joined: Tue Mar 12, 2013 8:08 am
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Real Name: Bob Hoffmann
I used to work in a PC fab shop (HP had one in Boise many moons ago) and we used routers to cut boards out of panels. I think a Dremel tool with router attachment and some carbide cutters would work...

Bob


Tue Mar 12, 2013 8:11 am
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Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2011 9:26 pm
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At the shop I've always used a large paper cutter as a shear for boards when we do home etch. It's an ample tool and the results are quick and clean if you are careful.


Sun Mar 17, 2013 7:40 pm
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