Author Topic: Cutting solar cells down to size  (Read 2739 times)

Ecobion

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 18
Cutting solar cells down to size
« on: September 03, 2014, 05:21:50 AM »
Has anyone had any experience with cutting solar cells down to size?

I'm considering scoring with a laser at the moment, as the monocrystalline cells I'm using have a 45 grain orientation to the sides.

SeanB

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1012
Re: Cutting solar cells down to size
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2014, 12:27:15 PM »
How about just using a diamond scorer or a glass cutter? As the cells are brittle this should work well, though you might have rough edges with the glass cutter. Carbide glass and tile cutter probably would work well, and the units are cheap and easy to use.

Ecobion

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 18
Re: Cutting solar cells down to size
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2014, 01:40:58 PM »
Hello Sean, I considered those before, but without much luck. Have you ever tried handling and cutting solar cells before?

Solar cells are crystalline, and are extremely brittle, whereas glass is amorphous, meaning that the solar cells have a grain structure that runs 45 to the edges of the cell (with monocrystalline cells), whereas glass does not have a uniform grain structure, so follows a fault such as a groove created from scoring, but better uniform strength.

I've found a couple of things with this:

- Scoring a solar cell using a scriber tears at the grain, giving an irregular surface with micro-fractures that bleed current.

- Diamond cutters need to run at high RPM with sufficient coolant, otherwise they tear at the grain, and I've found that removing layers using a diamond cutter rather than cutting straight through to be the best approach, but the friction still catches into the edge of the crystalline matrix causing tears.

if I can get access to a laser sorted out, would anyone be interested in seeing a video about it?

SeanB

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1012
Re: Cutting solar cells down to size
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2014, 12:02:28 AM »
I did cut a few scrap cells a few years ago, and yes they are brittle and crack easily. Video of a laser ( likely a CNC laser cutter) would be nice.