Skip to content

Secrets To PCB Drilling – Even In This Down Economy

Are you looking for a way to learn more about PCB drilling? Do you need to strengthen your understanding of the process of drilling circuit boards? Would you like to learn how it can affect the time and cost of manufacturing? If so, this article is for you.

PCB drilling is an interesting topic to explore due to its multifaceted nature. It can be a daunting exercise to learn about PCB drilling as there are so many different aspects that have a hand in it, not just from the practical side but also from the business side.

At the end of it all, PCB drilling can make or break an electronic circuit board, and you don’t want your electronics failing on you. It is therefore comforting to know that there are many aspects to PCB drilling.

PCB drilling, or printed circuit board drilling, is the process of creating holes, slots, and other cavities into an electronic circuit board before soldering/mounting components onto it. It is typically done by using a PCB drill bit (an automated machine) that is slightly smaller than the components placed on it. The drilling is done in the same way as a regular drill bit except with a slight twist to it. The hole can be created either through electrochemical etching (chemical milling) or by mechanical means such as drilling, laser cutting, or punching. The most common method used in manufacturing today is the combination of chemical milling and electrochemical etching. Depending on how much the board’s contour is designed, a series of small holes will be drilled onto it, which will need to be filled.

The PCB drilling is a mechanical and chemical process in which the PCB gets drilled using a PCB drill bit to achieve a specific hole size, then using electrolytic etching to remove material from the hole. Since there are two different mechanical and chemical drilling processes, they are also called 2D or 3D drilling.

Drill Types

PCB Drilling machine
PCB Drilling machine

The types of drills used for PCB drilling are different from what you would find for normal drilling. Most people only know about regular drills being used in the drilling process, but there are also other drills present. The most commonly used drill is the twist drill which can be found in the sizes of 0.1-2.0mm and 0.3-4.0mm, as well as slotting drills that are usually found in sizes of 1.5mm and 2.5mm, as well as both various wood drills that are usually found to be wood files around 5-8cm long (of which some have been made specifically for PCB drilling). There are also twist drills used specifically for drilling PCBs as they are milled to have better stability than regular twist drills.

A few essential parts of a drill machine, including a drill chuck or clamp, are used to hold the bit in place. It is also responsible for having the bit spin when power is applied. The arbor, also known as the spindle, does just what it says; it allows the chuck to attach the bit through a shaft. The chuck and arbor are usually found in the same drill machine to make it easier for the user.

PCB Hand Drill

A PCB hand drill is a drill for use on printed circuit boards. The PCB hand drill generally has a chuck, which is a part of the hand drill that holds the drill bit in place. The chuck on a PCB hand drill can be tightened by using either an Allen key or an Allen wrench. A PCB hand drill comes with its own set of instructions and package contents.

A Back Drill PCB

A back drill PCB is a kind of drill designed to drill holes in a printed circuit board. The holes are then used for soldering or inserting wires or component leads into the holes by hand, hence the name. The PCB’s surface is cut away with a blade, exposing the copper layer. Then the exposed copper is removed using a tool called a burr cutter. Once this has been done, a back drill PCB can be fitted with components and connected electrically to its power supply circuit board.

The circuit board drill bit

The circuit board drill bit is a type of drill bit with a sharp point at one end and a flat face. The circuit board drill bit can create holes through which wires can be inserted or soldered into place. A good tip in using the circuit board drill bit is to ensure that the flat face is held firmly against a surface to stop moving in any direction. This will ensure that holes are drilled in the PCB at right angles.

Tips and Tricks

Circuit boards are created by drilling holes into a sheet of copper or other metal. The process requires careful precision and accuracy for each hole and detailed planning of where each drill bit will go to avoid damaging any components. Here are some tips to make the process of drilling PCBs foolproof:

1. Drill Pilot Holes for Proper Drilling

The first step before any drilling is performed is to drill a pilot hole. This is used to keep the drill bit from “walking,” which means the bit starts in one location and moves towards an unintended direction while drilling. It can be done by hand using a small drill bit or can be done with an automatic tool called a drill press.

If the pilot hole is made using a drill press, the drill bit heads are pulled out one by one from the tool. The number of bits used in this process depends on the size of the PCB to be drilled. For example, if a 0.2 mm drill bit is used, four of these can be pulled out for one hole. This process will usually leave a small metal mark on the PCB as each head gets removed.

2. Use a Straight PCB Drill Bit When Drilling at an Angle

It is a great practice when drilling at an angle. Drill bits are usually sold in sets and come in different sizes. The sizes include the following:

Wire gauge drill bit: This is used for wires that are 0.8 to 1 mm thick.

Small drill bit: This size is for holes between 0.7 to 2 mm thick or diameter and includes flat and round shapes.

Medium drill bit: This type is used for holes ranging from 2 to 10 mm thick or diameter and usually includes flat and round shapes.

Large drill bit: This size is used for holes that are 5 mm or greater. It can be flat or round, depending on the manufacturer.

3. Use a Correctly Sized Drill Bit

It is very important to make sure the drill bit you use for your PCBs is the right size. If the bit is too big, it can damage the components in your circuit board drill. On the other hand, if it is too small, you will not pass wires through the holes you drill.

4. Use a Drill Bit of Appropriate Speed and Power


The power and speed of your drill determine how fast or slow a hole is drilled in metal. The most common options are:

High-speed bit: This type of bit drills through metal quickly and efficiently but can also cause problems if used for too long at a time.

High-speed steel bit: This type is used for larger drill holes and works well to drill multiple PCBs that are not too thick.

Electroplated bit: These bits are used in the process of drilling circuit boards and plating, as well as when making holes in the thick board or for use with a high-frequency air hammer.

5. Use a Drill Press

A drill press is the best choice for making sure that you have the best chance of drilling accurate holes. They can drill at least four times more efficiently than a hand-held drill and usually use industry-standard bits. The only option is to buy a new one if you decide to go with this option.

6. Understand the Operation of a Drill Press

Drill presses vary depending on their cost and capabilities, but they all work by simply injecting the right amount of pressure needed to drill through metal. The more pressure applied, the faster a hole is drilled. There are also different types of drilling such as “cross drilling,” “plunge drilling,” “ventilated holes,” and “inclined ends.” The most commonly used type of drill press has perpendicular faceplates (a metal plate with drill holes facing up at an angle). When using this type, ensure that the drill bit is facing up and the angle matches that of the holes in the PCB.

7. Use a Drill Press to Drill PCBs

A drill press can be used in every phase of drilling PCBs. It is a great help, especially when you need to drill holes with precision and accuracy. Although it takes a while for your drill press to get adjusted, it will pay off in the end as long as you use it properly.

8. Be Careful When Drilling

Drilling holes in a circuit board can be challenging if you don’t have the right tools and materials. It is important to take your time and be patient when drilling holes because rushing through the process can cause damage to the board. When drilling, always ensure that your drill bit is not spinning too fast or too slow. It is also important to use goggles while drilling so that you don’t damage your eyesight.

9. Clean a PCB After Using a Drill

Once you are finished drilling your board, you must clean the holes with a brush and solvent. The solvents will remove any metal shavings that may have been created during drilling holes in PCBs. This will ensure that your board is ready for use when you are finished.

10. Apply Solder to the Drilled Holes

Once you are done drilling your PCB, you must apply solder to the new holes and use a soldering iron with a small tip to melt them. To ensure that the solder sticks properly, run a wire from one of the holes and apply heat. This will prevent the solder from dripping through the holes. Then lightly press it down to make sure that it is firmly attached.

Once you have the right drill bits, all you need to do is to make sure that they are free of small chips and debris when making a hole or a slot on your PCB. If there are any chips or debris found on the bit, this could cause problems with the drilling process and produce some unwanted results.

When it comes to PCB drilling, it can be accomplished without risking damaging your drill bit if you do it correctly. These tips will help you to easily drill your PCBs.

Your mechanical parts can be damaged if they come in contact with the bit while the machine is working. There are just too many factors that can make a PCB drilling process go wrong. You should always remember to wear protective clothing, such as gloves, goggles, and masks, as certain toxic fumes could be produced during your drilling session.

To those who are unaware, there is some small dust that comes out from the drill bit when you use it. This might not seem like much, but if you bring this into contact with your body and inhale it, it can lead to complications such as respiratory problems. Therefore, it is essential that you make sure that there is no dust left on your machine after each drilling session. You can do this by having a wet cloth handy whenever you finish drilling a hole on your PCB.


With the right tools and materials, anyone can make their PCBs. It is a very useful skill that you can learn quickly and easily. It is important to have the right equipment by your side at all times so that you can complete your circuit boards in time for your projects. Some of the best equipment to use for drilling holes in PCBs include drills, drill presses, saws, and PCB solder stencils.

    GET A FREE QUOTE PCB Manufacturing & Assembly Service
    File Upload