Manual removal of the tabs depends on the design and thickness of the board. Extra care is required since using some tools such as the hook-shaped blade to break the solid tabs between the boards can be challenging and inefficient. For example, if the blade rotates within the small clearance between the boards, it can easily take a bite out of the useful part of the PCB. Also, taping the blade-cutting edge leaves a small part of the tab protruding from the board.
You can also see that I’ve made it very easy for heat to move away from the regulator (U1) and into the ambient environment or into other portions of the PCB. U1’s thermal tab is connected to a large copper pour, and this copper pour is shot through with vias that conduct heat down to the internal ground plane. If I were really worried about thermal issues I could also connect these vias to a copper pour on the bottom side of the board, but in this case, it would have been total overkill.
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