At NEDC, we are a build to print vendor. In my few years here,(7 if we’re counting- please don’t count though), I have seen customers put some funny things on their prints that imply, or request us to cut a certain way or bag a certain way.. Oftentimes driving up cost unnecessarily. For whatever reason, Epoxy Preforms probably have most of these odd requests. Oftentimes, I see customers put on their print “DO NOT LASER CUT- MUST BE DIE CUT”. I always kind of wince at that because I think a lot of that comes from an innate fear someone is going to laser blast the hell out of it – which I’ve seen happen. However, I think going with a reliable laser cutting vendor such as NEDC, that could be solved. I do say this with two caveats, and one comment:
Comments about Laser vs. Die Cutting Epoxy Preform Materials
A. There are some applications which I’ve seen where laser cutting is prohibited for a justified reason(s)(many not though).
These can include:A tougher preform material where laser cutting just burns too hot, too long. I’ve seen very few of these.Thin cross sections in the preform create precarious situations where I’d be nervous about burning any extra material.
B. Die Cutting does offer a better cut 99% of the time- there is no question about that- however, in complex preforms it can drive the cost up dramatically. Tooling on complex shapes that resemble circuit boards can send prices soaring.
- Some concerns I’ve heard when laser cutting epoxy preforms:
A. My edges will be burned so it won’t cure/flow properly- in my experience with OUR laser cut preforms this has never made a difference. It could be an entirely different story with another supplier. As a side note on this- curing of the edges a certain amount may actually may the preform a perfect fit for the application because when the edges cure – it stops it from flowing beyond the bond line intended space.
B. The RF signal won’t be properly shielded because of the burning, then subsequent attempt to cure. Again, I’ve never seen our laser cut preforms make a difference with that. However, I’m sure it could.
Pictures for a Juxtaposition of Laser Cut vs Die Cut
I’ve assembled some pictures below of what Laser Cutting vs Die Cutting Epoxy Preforms looks like to show a minor juxtaposition. If it was my money- I’d give this a hard look before tossing a note on the print “NOT LASER CUT– MUST BE DIE CUT” .