The evolving technological development over time keeps hitting new heights. PCBs moved from a single layer design to multi layers having new additions. The PCB V Cut is one of such. It is the V frame that cuts the lines uniting the two exteriors.
The motive that drives the designing of the V cut is to help PCB producers bisect the PCB after fabrication. To divide the PCB, V cut scoring gadget is commonly used to set the V modeled groove. The circular blade of the scoring gadget helps to cut through.
However, the V cut could also be manually broken. Though, manual breakage is not recommended to avoid the PCB from bending.
The printed circuit board is also known as a PCB array. Although a single board that incorporates multifold separate boards. When put together, the panel is then severed one by one into single PCBs.
PCB manufacturers enjoy cost reduction in the fabrication process. The V cut opened up the avenue for manufacturers to design multifold boards on a large panel. They are then severed without any fear of damage to the PCBs
What is PCB V Cut?
The PCB v cut is the last step in the fabrication process. It is sketching the PCBs and splitting them away from the base panel using the scoring gadget. PCB v cut means the slashing out V cut from the top and base edge of the PCB leaving out a tiny layer to grip the board jointly.
It could also mean the pre-detachment process of the PCB. The V shape on the repeated printed PCBs is slit out to allow a slim surface some space between the Vs’. The boards are normally arranged alongside one another. The edges are close to each other to enable easy breakage with little pressure applied.
Designing PCBs in more than one dimension brought about the choice of V cut (also known as v score, v groove). It takes a singular process over the regular separation tabs. The benefits added to this design include easy removal of a part from the panel. It is cost-effective and it allows usage of extra space on the panel.
In designing multi-faceted PCBs, two areas of concentration are the angle of the V cut and the depth of cut. The broader the angle of cut, the easier its part removal becomes. A slim angle allows slimmer access. As such, it gives the producer extra flexibility with placing images.
Possible Issues Here
However, PCB comes with varying issues. It could be that parts get away easily which cracks the board or measurement issue. These issues could rise as a result of a bad singular procedure and wrong measurement.
Stiff resistance in detaching parts from the assembled design could be as a result of how it was earlier fixed. Therefore, many times, manual separation has not been a good option to detach the assembled parts. The effect of this creates more problems for the board. Forcefully detaching parts from the assemblies could lead to components breaking. Fiberglass could break as well the resin base laminate.
To reduce or put an end to some of the issues faced by this process, observing a few rules will be helpful
- Spacing on the board layout must be at 0.0mm
- The V cut lines have to be straight, although the vertical and horizontal line is viable.
- The lines should run from one PCB outer edge to another
- Separation done by hand should be on a PCB density of 1 mm
- Jump cutting is feasible as well.
The PCB has brought a quantum leap of revolution to the electronic industry. They are available in different frames and sizes. Present in every electronic device with each difficulty level. The PCB could either be rigid or flexible.
Each designed shape and size is to meet different operational demands. Cutting the PCB to fit such demands becomes necessary. PCBs with a single layer are easy to cut due to their small size. But, others with multiple layers could be more complex to deal with.
All the elements on the board either single or multiple layered are in the two major categories. They are either mechanical or electrical components. During the cutting process, a duty of care must be diligently taken. This is to ensure that all the elements remain functional after the cutting process.
Furthermore, PCB cut provides an avenue to get the precise board size. Having a sizable Printed circuit board allows cutting into portable pieces. This enables putting up more designs to meet demands.
To successfully perform PCB cuts, safety is an important requirement. This entails the proper use of protective wear such as nose masks, hand gloves, and safety goggles.
In addition, in cut PCB, there are two major procedures required. Cutting the PCB comes first while sanding the PCB to get leveled edges comes next.
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Cutting PCB Board procedure
The cutting procedure must be carefully done to avoid wrong cuttings. Time, resources, and energy waste could become the aftereffect of wrong cutting. Therefore, a few basic steps are vital in the process irrespective of the type of cutting tools used.
The steps include:
- Mob the PCB with a neat piece of cloth. This is to ensure a cleansed surface without dirt and particles
- Proper usage of safety protective wear. (Hand gloves, nose mask, and safety goggles). They will serve as protection against injuries caused by particles and inhaling of fumes.
- Verify the measurement to avoid wrong cuttings
- Ensure proper alignment
- Finally cut into the desired dimension
This is the second process associated with cutting the PCB. It is commonly neglected by people but very vital to achieving an even-edged PCB. In preparing for this process, it is necessary to wipe the edges gently. This will take out any kind of dust, smears, and rubbles that could be dangerous. Use 200+ grits sandpaper to smoothen the edges until all becomes plain and even. The final cleaning uses a damped cloth to take out dust, smears, or combustion.
Laser Cut PCB
Laser Cut gained popularity due to the rise in PCB’s multiplicity and element ratios. It is one of the most advanced means of splitting up circuit boards from the general panel. In this process, the earlier fabricated PCB is cautiously taken out of the panel.
Lasers are more flexible than the routine methods on materials and application. They can cut, melt metals, perforate and prune materials on the PCB. Lasers take away the connection between the PCB by a process of disjoining.
In addition, the standard method of splitting up PCBs uses die cutters, dicing saws, and routers. However, as PCBs become smaller and modern, the process becomes obstinate. PCBs are open to mechanical pressure which results in wreckage and limitations.
The laser cut system curbed the limitations by presenting significant accuracy, decisiveness, and momentum. This brought improvements to the general design consistently without defacing the substrate. It also offers the notable benefit of a touch-free process with a programmed free cutting put in place.
Laser cut uses heat energy to get rid of materials track by track on the PCB. Its repetition causes a pre-defined density of the material to melt and evaporate. Fumes generated, as a result, disappeared by a strong absorbing system. Residue depositions are minimal due to the powerful absorbing system and little particles.
The use of Laser cut PCBs has the following advantages
- Improved visual recognition of the PCB which enhances the quality of the product
- No replacement of damaged parts of the PCB
- Top-quality cut
- Cost effective
- Flexible layout
- There is no mechanical pressure
PCB Separation is also called the Interconnect defect. This occurs between the inner layer of the board. As part of the production process, holes are created to connect the inner layer circuit. This is through electroless copper called Via. Via serves as the link between various layers on the board to enable functionality.
This fault occurs at or near the copper-plated hole which opens up the circuit. It leads to interconnect default which affects the function ability of the PCB. Each component on the board must be properly connected to allow the PCB to function.
The separation occurs in a swift response to heat shock caused by the soldering effect. PCB separation has two regular root causes. They are Debris based interconnect defects and Copper bond failure ICDs.
Debris based separator
This interconnect defect is a result of residues left in the holes after the drilling process. These particles ought not to remain in the holes but when the ICDs are present, the residues are active. Residues such as drill rubble residues, drill smear, and pieces can fill up the inner copper layer.
Proper cleaning and removal of these residues are part of the standard requirements. Although, at times manufacturers neglect or do not take out the residues. A rise in this type of ICDs seems connected to the high usage of low dielectric materials. These substances bring about more drilling residues and are most often chemical resistant.
Copper bond failure PCB separator
PCB separation occurs when there is a physical breakage of the copper connection. This could be as a result of strains while assembling or the copper bond gets weak. This fault is common to PCB design. An increase in hole size, PCB thickness, and wave soldering are all risk factors as well. Therefore, unpreserved boards are also at the risk of PCB layer separation.
PCB Separation Types
Separation can be classified based on where they occur within the PCB. They fall into one of the classifications:
- Separation at the inner copper layer and the electroless copper connection area
- Separation at the electroless copper and electrolytic copper connection area
- The classification that falls within the electroless copper layer
Separation at the inner copper layer and the electroless copper link area are due to bad controls. These occur during the copper bonding process. The mid highlighted separation is residue based.
Prevention of PCB Separation
To get rid of or reduce the risks of PCB separation, detailed attention to each step of the production process is important. These few little steps will be of help
- Adopt materials with intense heat resistant
- Meticulously raise the standard for drill holes
- Confirm that the electroless copper has the required thickness to resist high stress.
FR4 Laser Cutting
FR4 is a category of base material that possesses an adhesive fabric mixture used on the PCB. Its name is relatively coined from its adhesive properties. Certified as an extreme combustion and flame inhibitor composition. In addition, the attached number 4 specifies its resistance class defined by UL94V-0.
FR4 is classified material. Its properties and requirements for cutting could vary. Using laser cutting as a tool, a broad variation of FR4 could be a substitute. This will help to separate mechanical procedures. Laser cutting does not produce automatic stress on materials. It is due to its non-contact procedure. It also avoids dirt that could lead to PCB malfunction in the process.
The laser could combine efficient cutting speed with cutting edge quality on FR4 substrate. A blend of FR4 materials with other additions could be neatly separated. Fixatives and copper on coatings could be efficiently separated through laser cutting. It delivers great cutting quality and production with flexibility.
Laser holds an edge not only by delivering on a good performance but it is also cost friendly. This is better rather than use other machines for cutting procedures. Constant replacement of parts is not needed in Laser. Laser cutting FR4 materials do not supply stress on the material or the board itself. Also, damages to elements that could increase production costs are off using the laser.
PCB has illuminated the world through outstanding contributions and its flexibility. It is consistently evolving to meet demands as it changes in the electronic industry. Applying the steps and information gotten from this article will increase your knowledge. It will also help on how to cut your PCB to sizes. This in turn upholds your relevance in the manufacturing and fabricating industry.