How to use laser to cut FR4 circuit board? There are some ways to use lasers with PCB. Here, we will learn about PCB Applications for lasers and PCB applications that are not suitable for lasers. Printed circuit board (PCB) is the most common in various electronic equipment. They use conductive paths to support and electrically connect electronic components from etched or signal traces of copper, and then laminate them onto a non-conductive substrate such as G10 or FR4.
The vast majority of fr4 circuit boards are made by bonding a layer of copper on the entire substrate, then removing unwanted copper after applying a temporary mask (by etching), leaving only the desired trace of copper. Depending on the desired results, the epilog laser system can be used in the PCB field at various capacities. Here, we will study some different PCB Applications and their relationship with lasers.
Ideal laser PCB Applications:
1) Cut the label on the ready-made PCB board.
The following figure shows a circuit board that has been created. The operator can use the epilog laser system to cut holes with labels on each board so that they can be easily removed from the plate.
The best laser type for this application is fiber laser.
As long as there is no copper layer, epilog’s CO2 system will cut through PCB, while our fiber laser system (fibermark 24 and fusion M2 fiber laser) will cut through copper and copper free layers.
2) Mark graphics / text on the prefabricated PCB.
If you want to label printed circuit boards with barcodes, logos or serial numbers, our laser system can do the same.
The best system for this application: CO2 laser or fiber laser. When marking directly on PCB, our optical fiber and CO2 laser system can achieve low contrast marking. This is the application we want to test on the PCB used in your application lab to make sure it meets your needs.
Many PCB designs have various components. The PCB on the right contains a white area of engineering plastic that is ideal for barcodes, QR codes, or data matrix codes in this case.
Use epilog’s CO2 laser to process this 2D data matrix code. Our fiber laser can also mark the same white layer, but the contrast is not high.
3) The engraving passes through the PCB material to expose the copper layer.
Epilog’s fibermark and fusion M2 fiber lasers are able to carve on PCB material to expose the copper layer below. Because the layer is too thin, fiber lasers can also cut through the material.
While some PCB applications are laser friendly, others are more suitable for another technology.
The following PCB applications are not suitable for laser completion.
- Exposed copper
Lasers, especially the fibermark and fusion fibermark systems, can etch away the surface material to expose the copper underneath. However, even if it is very accurate, it still leaves traces of PCB material. Ensuring that the exact copper exposure required can be a challenge.
- Cutting PCB with CO2
Because CO2 laser can not directly etch metal or cut metal, we do not recommend using this laser to cut PCB.