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Check The Pattern - Before You Cut The Tracks

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It's all too easy to make a serious mistake when cutting stripboard tracks. I've done it myself - more than once. That's why it's a good idea to mark the position of the cuts - on the tracks themselves. Use a felt-tip pen or something similar. Then you can double check the position of the marks - before you make any cuts.

I'm obliged to Peter Penton of Tasmania - for the following suggestion: - To check the position of your marks, print out the "Actual Size" drawing onto a sheet of transparent film - the kind that's used with Overhead Projectors. Then simply lay it over the board - and compare the patterns.

For those who can't obtain suitable sheets - I've devised another method based on Peter's idea. It's not as convenient to use - but it does work.

Print out the "Actual Size" drawing on ordinary paper. Then place it under a clear sheet of polythene - a piece of clear rigid plastic - or even glass. I use the clear portion of a CD or DVD jewel case.

Transfer the pattern onto the surface of your clear sheet using - a permanent marker - a felt-tip pen - small spots of coloured nail-varnish - small spots of paint - or whatever. I use the sort of pen that's designed to write on CDs and DVDs.

As before - simply lay your clear sheet over the board and compare the marks.

Whichever method you choose - it shouldn't take more than a few minutes - and it's time well spent. You'll know for a fact that the tracks are cut in all the right places. You'll also know that you can rely on the position of the cuts - as reference points - when you come to fit the components, wire links and solder bridges.

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