display panel

Preparing the boards:

Photo
(click for a larger view)
Description

The first step is dividing the board into sub-boards and cleaning them up.

The board as a whole is tab-routed, which means it's designed to break apart. Grip the board on either side of a tab and bend like you're trying to fold the breadboard header back onto the shield.

The tab should break across the line of holes.

Try not to twist while you're breaking the tabs, or the board could delaminate.

When you break the tabs, you'll see copper cylinders in the holes. They're a side-effect of the board fabrication process. The manufacturer drills and through-plates the holes before etching the traces.

(the left breadboard header, lower right, shows some delamination at its corner)

You can leave the broken tabs raw, but the boards will look better if you dress the edges.

The boards are basically fiberglass, so they're easy to work. You can use sandpaper, but a file will give you a smooth, straight edge with the least effort.

A coarse file will actually give you better results than a fine one. The one in the picture was chosen because it fits in the frame better than a big honkin' rasp.

Finished boards.

(dressed with about five strokes each from the aforementioned rasp after the previous photo was taken)