Experiments with Laser Cutting FR1 & FR2 PCBs into Irregular Shapes
Chris Holden tackles attempts to laser-cut FR1- & FR2-rated PCBs into irregular shapes – the results are interesting and when things failed the reasons for failure are perhaps not what you’d expect.
…a laser can’t cut through copper. But what we though was that perhaps we could laser cut a mirror image of the shape required, from the back of the board – so if we stuck to resin-bonded-paper (rather than FR4/fibreglass) boards, we should be able to laser cut the paper into any shape.
Then, when the board is etched, and the copper laminate holding the pieces together on the front is etched away, all the individual parts come loose and swish about in the bottom of a tank of ferric chloride (quite how to retrieve them, we haven’t yet worked out).