Circuit Technology Center

4.3.1 Circuit Cut, Surface Circuits

This method is used to sever a circuit or short. A small section of the circuit is removed, forming a break. The width of the break should be at least as wide as the minimum conductor spacing. The Surgical Knife or high-speed Micro-Drill System is used. This method is recommended for surface circuit cuts only. After cutting, the area is sealed with epoxy.

Note: This method is recommended for surface circuit cuts only.

Minimum Skill Level - Advanced
Recommended for technicians with soldering and component rework skills and exposure to most repair/rework procedures, but lacking extensive experience.

Conformance Level - High
This procedure most closely duplicates the physical characteristics of the original, and most probably complies with all the functional, environmental and serviceability factors.

Acceptability References
IPC-A-600 2.0 Externally Observable Characteristics
IPC-A-610 10.0 Laminate Conditions
Procedure References
1.0 Foreword
2.1 Handling Electronic Assemblies
2.2 Cleaning
2.7 Epoxy Mixing and Handling
IPC7721 4.3.1 Conductor Cut, Surface Conductors
Kits and Systems
Micro Drill System
Versatile power tool for milling, drilling, grinding, cutting and sanding circuit boards.
Precision Tool Set
Nine precision-crafted tools for detailed circuit board work.
Tools and Materials
Ball Mills, Abrasives, Cutting Tools
Ball mills, abrasives and cutting tools for working on circuit boards.
Color Agents
Use to tint the color of epoxy used for solder mask repair or circuit base board repair.
Circuit Bond Epoxy
Clear, superior strength epoxy in two-compartment plastic packages.
Knife with #16 Blades
A must-have tool for precise cutting, scraping and trimming.
Additional Items and Supplies
General purpose cleaner for removing contamination.
Continuity Meter
Meter and probes to test for electrical continuity.
Precision microscope with stand and lighting for work and inspection.
General purpose oven for drying, baking and curing epoxies.
Nonabrasive, low-linting wipes for cleanup.
Circuit Bond Epoxy
Circuit Bond is a clear, low viscosity, superior strength epoxy precisely measured out into two-compartment plastic packages, so it's easy to use, and there's no measuring. For over a decade, this high-strength epoxy has been qualified and used by thousands of high-rel electronics manufacturers across the globe.
1. Circuit Bond has a working pot life of 30 minutes. It should not be mixed until ready to use.
2. To use Circuit Bond, remove the plastic clip separating the resin and hardener. Squeeze back and forth from one half of the package to the other to mix the contents.
3. Cut a corner off the package and squeeze all the contents into a Plastic Cup. Stir the contents to ensure it is thoroughly mixed.
4. Circuit Bond may contain bubbles from the mixing process. If needed, use a vacuum system to remove bubbles.
5. Color Agent can be mixed in with Circuit Bond to match surface colors if desired.
6. Apply using a Foam Swab, Micro Probe, or Mixing Stick as required.
7. Cure Circuit Bond for 24 hours at room temperature or 4 hours at 65°C (150°F).
Packaging2 gram pre-measured packages
Mix ratio4 parts resin to 1 part hardener
Mix Ratio by Weight (R/H)100/25
ColorClear, transparent
Pot life30 minutes
Cure cycle24 hours at room temp (25 °C) or 4 hours @ 65°C
Thixotropic Index1
Specific Gravity1.20
Percent Solids100%
Viscosity (after mixing)2000 cps
Operating temperature range-55°C to 135°C
Hardness88 Shore D
Lap Shear, Alum to Alum1100 psi
Glass Transition Temperature, Ultimate92°C
Coefficient of Expansion, cm/cm/°C6 E-05
Dielectric strength400 volts/mil
Dielectric Constant, 1KHz@25°C4
Shelf Life6 months minimum
Color Agents
Color Agent is a one-part, air-drying, semi-paste ink commonly used to print hard surfaces, including circuit board base materials. Color Agent can be used to tint the color of epoxy used for solder mask repair or circuit baseboard repair. To use, mix a small amount of color agent with 2 part epoxy as the epoxy is initially mixed. Add more color agents to increase the color intensity if needed.
Part No. Description
115-9102 115-9102 Color Agent, Yellow
115-9185 115-9185 Color Agent, Red
115-9293 115-9293 Color Agent, Blue
115-9348 115-9348 Color Agent, Green
115-9358 115-9358 Color Agent, Light Green
115-9376 115-9376 Color Agent, Medium Green
115-9424 115-9424 Color Agent, Dark Gray
115-9457 115-9457 Color Agent, Light Brown
115-9560 115-9560 Color Agent, Dark Green
115-9561 115-9561 Color Agent, Green
115-9995 115-9995 Color Agent, Black
115-9996 115-9996 Color Agent - White
Images and Figures
4.3.1  Circuit Cut, Surface Circuits
Circuit Cut, Surface Circuit
4.3.1  Circuit Cut, Surface Circuits
Figure 1: Option A - Make two small cuts with the knife and remove a short section of circuit.
4.3.1  Circuit Cut, Surface Circuits
Figure 2: A high quality, Micro-Drill System is recommended for this delicate operation.

4.3.1  Circuit Cut, Surface Circuits
Figure 3: Make 1 or 2 cuts as needed to cut circuit.
4.3.1  Circuit Cut, Surface Circuits
Figure 4: Completed repair.
  1. Identify the circuit or short to be cut. Determine from the artwork or drawings where the best location is to make the break. The width of the break should at least match the minimum required electrical spacing.
  2. Clean the area.
  3. Carefully make two small cuts with the knife and remove the short section of the circuit. (See Figure 1) Or use a Micro-Drill as covered in the next step.
  4. Select the appropriate size ball mill and insert it into the Micro-Drill System. Set the speed to high. (See Figure 2) The ball mill should be approximately the same width as the circuit to be cut.
    Note: Ball mills should be dental grade carbide steel for precision cutting and long life.
  5. Carefully make 1 or 2 cuts as needed. (See Figure 3)
    Caution: Exercise care to avoid damage to adjoining circuits.
  6. Check continuity to ensure the circuit has been cut.
  7. Clean the area.
  8. Mix epoxy. If desired, add a color agent to the mixed epoxy to match the circuit board color.
  9. Coat the area with epoxy if needed. An epoxy dispenser may be used to control the application of epoxy. Remove any excess.
  10. Cure the epoxy per Procedure 2.7 Epoxy Mixing and Handling.
  1. Visual examination of cuts for spacing and unintended damage to surrounding circuits.
  2. Electrical tests as applicable.
Procedure for reference only.