Jun 2, 2020|Product Innovations and Design

Find out what PCB V-Scoring is and how to start using it on your circuit board designs using our comprehensive guide. In this guide, we’ll help you learn more about what PCB V-Scoring is, why you need it, how to specify scoring, the general rules of PCB V-Scoring, and what the distance rules are for PCB V-Scoring. 

What is PCB V-Scoring?

PCB V-Scoring is the process of cutting a “V” shaped groove at the top and bottom of a printed circuit board (PCB). V-scoring allows you to split circuit boards while leaving the board intact, with a tiny bit of material to hold it together. V-scoring also makes it easier to remove discrete parts from a circuit board. 

You can imagine this process as a chocolate bar. Similar to how there are grooves on a chocolate bar to break off pieces, V-scoring will create grooves in your PCB to separate parts of the board. 

PCB V-scoring is a form of PCB panelization that allows you to fit multiple PCBs onto a single manufactured board and separate them after assembly. 

To V-score a PCB, you’ll need a unique scoring tool with a top and bottom blade to cut through the PCB itself on both sides. 

Why do you need V-Scoring on a PCB?

Scoring is mainly used when you need to group a set of circuit boards to make the assembly process more efficient. The idea and the purpose behind scoring the PCBs are to create a solid structure for the assembly process that allows you to apply minimal pressure and separate the assembled boards. 

The purpose of PCB V-scoring is to make more efficient use of board space and reduce manufacturing costs by making many of the same PCB on one manufactured board by providing a final board format that is more friendly for the manufacturer. You can also put two or more related circuits on the same assembly for more efficient sub-assembly later on. 

Proper scoring helps the customer, engineer, or technician separate the sub-PCBs that have been scored apart from the single manufactured PCB without breakage. This effectively turns on PCB into many.  

Being able to V-score PCB provides excellent value to you or someone that has hired you. Being able to V-score a circuit board not only saves time and money, but it also lets you easily separate parts from a completed assembly. 

During the PCB assembly process, V-scoring the PCB will allow you to act as if all sections of the circuit board are one single PCB. Then you can put components on each section of the board in a single run. Once you have all components where you want them, you can separate the boards at the “vees” that you made earlier, therefore making the assembly process much more cost and time-efficient. 

How do you specify scoring?

You can specify the V-score based on the depth of the score or by looking at the cross-section. The cross-sectional view will indicate the distance between the “vees.” The material left behind after making the scores is called the “web.” 

The standard way to specify the V-score is to divide each measurement equally: ⅓ cut on top and ⅓ cut on the bottom, which leaves ⅓ web in the middle. You can adjust this method based on the overall board’s overall size or if you want to be able to separate or de-panel the boards later. 

A lot of manufacturers give the option of a 90 degree or a 30-degree score as well. Ninety-degree scores break easier than a 30-degree score but take more space on the layout. It’s best to discuss these options with your manufacturer. 

What are the general rules for PCB V-Scoring?

There are several general rules for PCB V-scoring that you should follow to be successful with your circuit board designs. 

A general rule of thumb is that the spacing between boards should be 0mm. The minimum PCB footprint size for V-scoring is 75mm x 75mm, and the maximum size is 450mm x 1245mm. 

Another general rule is that the V-scoring line must be straight, but vertical and horizontal lines are possible. The general rule is that the score has to go straight across the whole board, but floating vertical and horizontal lines can also be done. 

The spacing between the V-scoring line and the outline of the PCB should stay at least 0.35mm. Lastly, we recommend a board thickness of a V-scored board to be at least 0.6mm to ensure the integrity of the PCB after scoring. 

What are the distance rules when V-Scoring?

Each project is going to be a little different, so it’s useful to know what the distance rules are when you’re V-scoring. Following these rules will help you to prevent burring on your PCB. 

Depending on your PCB thickness, you’ll want to follow different distance rules to make sure traces, pads, and metal layers don’t get damaged when separating sub-assemblies at the V-scores. 

If you’re unsure about what the best way to score your PCB is, or your specific PCB doesn’t fit into the distance rules provided below, contact Candor or whoever your PCB layout engineer is; they’ll be able to help you make the most of your PCB. 

Material Thickness Copper to V-Score Copper to Routing SMD Pads
0.80mm 0.40mm 0.25mm 20%
1.00mm 0.40mm 0.25mm 20%
1.55mm 0.50mm 0.25mm 20%
2.00mm 0.60mm 0.25mm 20%
2.40mm 0.70mm 0.25mm 20%
3.20mm 0.80mm 0.25mm 20%

Final Thoughts 

Knowing how to adapt your PCB to fit your specific needs is an essential part of creating new technology. PCB V-Scoring allows you to do this on your own, but if you need assistance to make your vision a reality, visit our site to learn more about how Candor can help.

Still have doubts on how we can help you? Call us now and we will answer your questions.

Author Profile

Sunny Patel
Sunny Patel is the Engineering and Sales Manager at Candor Industries. Sunny is trained as a IPC-A-600 trainer, AS9100 Lead auditor, IPC CID and got his Engineering degree at the University of Toronto.