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Old 3rd Aug 2019, 1:02 pm   #1
Malcolm T
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Default PCB nibbler tools

I,m looking for a hand nibbler to fabricate cut outs in homebrew PCB,s , i know theres a few different designs out there , just wondering what anyone else has used or heard of in the good tool department.

Thanks.
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Old 3rd Aug 2019, 1:12 pm   #2
MrBungle
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Default Re: PCB nibbler tools

I avoid this as much as possible. I’ve tried everything. Fretsaw works but the blade lasts about two minutes! I do use aviation shears successfully on FR4 board though for initial cut.
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Old 3rd Aug 2019, 2:00 pm   #3
barrymagrec
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Default Re: PCB nibbler tools

One of those thin cutting discs in a Dremel.
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Old 3rd Aug 2019, 2:07 pm   #4
Mike. Watterson
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Default Re: PCB nibbler tools

cutting discs or a quality mill bit on a Dremel or similar tool.
A stand is recommended.
You can also get a "plunge" adaptor to convert the Dremel or compatible into a miniature router for under 5 on eBay. Even comes with some milling bits.

I use a tile cutter with a deck, abrasive wheel and water bath for thin sheets of alloy, plastic, mdf and hardboard as well as cutting up sheets of any kind of PCB or tufnol.
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Old 3rd Aug 2019, 3:28 pm   #5
Malcolm T
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Default Re: PCB nibbler tools

Ok thanks for the feedback. Not an easy solution. In the past i have always used hacksaw but looking for another solution . Straight metal shears look pretty good .
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Old 3rd Aug 2019, 10:51 pm   #6
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Default Re: PCB nibbler tools

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike. Watterson View Post
You can also get a "plunge" adaptor to convert the Dremel or compatible into a miniature router for under 5 on eBay. Even comes with some milling bits.
Quite like the sound of that - can you provide a link please?
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Old 4th Aug 2019, 10:08 am   #7
Mike. Watterson
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Default Re: PCB nibbler tools

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Dremel-Ro...Q/232914752373

Despite the Italian it's from China.

IMO the only decent way to cut PCB sheets up is the tile cutting wheel with water bath. I got one originally, a plasplus, to cut quarry tiles and later got one with a metal bed. I think the cutting wheels are like some angle grinder wheels. Does a nice job of thin steel or aluminium sheets. Plastic is tricky. Thin MDF & hardboard can be cut too (best dry with no water bath).

I did have the use of an X Y Z computer controlled mill that used a sort of heavy duty "Dremel" style drill in my last job. It was a kit. First task was to mill the working bed. We used it to make 0.8mm fibreglass "PCBs" by drilling guide holes for pins first and then milling both sides. Then drilling holes. Eagle -> Plot file -> Utility -> PC Windows special application -> Controller in the mill.

I wish I could have kept it. However it means I'll only ever order in PCBs or buy one, never etch at home ever again. Actually not done home etching for maybe 30 years. First attempt was using mum's nail varnish as resist in about 1971.

Last edited by Mike. Watterson; 4th Aug 2019 at 10:17 am.
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Old 7th Aug 2019, 5:59 pm   #8
DonaldStott
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Default Re: PCB nibbler tools

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike. Watterson View Post
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Dremel-Ro...Q/232914752373

Despite the Italian it's from China.
Oops - when you go to the eBay Checkout you get this message (in Italian): -

"According to the HMRC (His Majesty's Collection and Customs Service) this seller does not comply with UK VAT regulations, so we have placed some limitations on the transactions that can be made with buyers residing in UK .

We recommend that you look for similar items at other sellers"


Fortunately there are lots of other sellers with the same (identical?) product on eBay and about the same price.
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Last edited by DonaldStott; 7th Aug 2019 at 5:59 pm. Reason: Typos
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Old 8th Aug 2019, 8:00 am   #9
FIXITNOW
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Default Re: PCB nibbler tools

great idea try here
item 143205787572
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Old 11th Aug 2019, 3:45 pm   #10
David G4EBT
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Default Re: PCB nibbler tools

I used to use a hacksaw with the PCB laminate clamped to the edge of a bench, but for some years until recently, I've used an electric tile cutter with a 75mm diam diamond wheel. The model is 'Plasplugs Compact Floor & Wall Tile Cutter Model DW082'. It has a powerful 300W motor and runs at 4,600 RPM off load. I bought it at a car boot sale for a fiver some years ago. They're often on Ebay, Gumtree and at boot sales but many are the larger 'XL' models, which have a water reservoir. The 'Compact' just has a dust collecting box, the lid of which lifts off.

It's served me well, but I've recently built a small PCB cutter using a 12V motor, a 50mm diamond wheel and a small variable speed controller, having seen a similar ideas on youtube. I'll write another thread about that.

Pic 1 is how I used to cut PCB laminate with a hacksaw. (I cut aluminium and steel sheet like that too).
Pic 2 is the Plasplugs tile cutter with the dust cover removed showing the diamond wheel.
Pic 3 is the cutter ready for use.
Pic 4 is the maker's label showing the data.

The only slight drawback is the width of the cut. Most PCBs I make are quite small and if say I have a piece of laminate 200mm wide and want two 100mm pieces from it, the diamond wheel takes maybe 5mm out of it. Apart from that, for the occasional PCB, a tile cutter is probably the least hassle and give the cleanest cut.

Hope that's of interest.
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Old 16th Aug 2019, 9:31 pm   #11
Oldcodger
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Default Re: PCB nibbler tools

What I've tried last was a hand tile cutter ( or rather scorer) designed for wall tiles. I score the laminate side as deeply as I can and then cut with metal shears. The score keeps the cut line to that made with the score.
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