Computing stuff tied to the physical world

Manual V-scoring

In Hardware on Jan 14, 2012 at 00:01

V-scoring is a low-cost way to cut up printed circuit boards. I use it in combination with routing to get al ’em plugs made out of larger panels. It consists of slightly cutting into the PCB material from both sides – when done properly, the resulting boards can be snapped off quite easily by hand.

Recently someone gave me a really neat breakout panel for SOIC and TSSOP IC’s. These are useful to try out SMD chips on a breadboard. Except that the board I got was still panelized…

Can’t look a gift horse in the mouth, and since I don’t have a mini bandsaw or such, I had to find another way.

As it turns out, it’s quite easy to do the v-scoring by hand:

DSC 2853

The basic idea is to lightly scratch all the lines about three times, and once there’s a decent groove, just take the hobby knife and cut two more times, pressing down fairly hard. Rinse and repeat for all the cuts on both sides, and things will come apart by pressing down firmly. Here’s what I ended up with after about 15 minutes:

DSC 2854

The edges can be a bit rough, as usual with v-scoring, but those rough bits can easily be scratched off with the knife.

And this is what it’s all about:

DSC 2855

Tiny chips, ready for breadboard use!

  1. Neat! If you are considering putting a similar board up on Eagle, it is worth adding in some uncommitted pads on the adaptor board for the “corner” pins – often Vcc/Gnd appear there and decoupling caps can be reflowed at the same time. More effective than down the “long” path across the adaptor and into the mother board tracks.

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