How to Cut Pin Headers

Introduction: How to Cut Pin Headers

About: Sharon is a Headspring Technical Lead, developing custom enterprise software for her clients and coaching teams to deliver value without death marches. She is a .NET developer, open-source contributor, user gr…

You have a row of break-away pin headers for your electronics project, and you need to cut off a few so that they'll fit in your project's circuit board. I'll show you how to successfully get a nice cut.

Step 1: Sacrifice a Header and Pull Its Pin

Count off the number of headers you need, then count one more. You'll sacrifice one header in order to avoid the risk of shearing the insulation off a header you want to keep.

Use pliers to pull the pin out of the sacrificial header.

Step 2: Cut Through the Sacrificial Header

You now have an empty socket, which you can easily cut with wire cutters. Cut down the middle of the empty header. (If you aim for the groove between two headers, you're instead likely to shear too much plastic off a header you want to keep. She says, from experience.)

Step 3: Done!

Finished and ready to solder.

2 People Made This Project!


  • Make It Bridge

    Make It Bridge
  • Big and Small Contest

    Big and Small Contest
  • Game Design: Student Design Challenge

    Game Design: Student Design Challenge



4 years ago

Your starting picture and result picture show male headers, yet your technique shows female headers. They are very different beasts. The male ones take very little effort and can be done almost by hand and don't require a sacrificial pin. The female ones are much tougher and do require a sacrificial pin. You've mixed the two up when they are different.


6 years ago

Thank you for a wonderful and simple Instructable. Searched for ideas online........... because it just wouldn't come to me.......... but your idea to pull a pin and cut away, just made my day.

Needed it to build a shield for some easydrivers, to connect to an arduino for a small CNC machine (Pen PCB Plotter) which I have made by bread boarding as of now. But will use your idea to build the shield now.

You may want to see my instructable on the CNC machine. Here is the link to it :

Thanks once again and God bless :)


7 years ago on Introduction

I've tried this before without luck, but your instruction to pull the pin did the trick!