Re: Help a drilling Klutz


I have used carbide bits for the last 30 years. 99% of the time I use a full sized Dremel tool. The one I have now is actually a Craftsman brand I bought 20 years ago. I only occasionally break a bit, you just have to take your time. This is especially true if you are using bits smaller than #68 or so.

I run the drill at the lowest speed (5000 RPM) and keep the drill as perpendicular as possible. Another thing that is really a requirement is for the board to be etched with no copper in the center of the pad. This keeps the drill from walking and breaking the bit. I drill two or three holes and swipe the dust off with my finger so I can see nearby holes. If you get in too big of a hurry with the drill and swipe method, you end up drilling your finger. This always breaks the bit.

I estimate I have drilled at least 100,000 holes over the last 30 years. However, with prototype board houses so cheap these days, the only time I do a home made board now is if I have to have it "today".

One nice thing in Phoenix is we have a place named Apache Reclamation where I can buy used bits 3 for $1. The bits are from PCB shops and no longer suitable for their automatic equipment but more than usable for the hobbyist. They seem to last forever as long as I don't break them.


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