My experience with the pcb manufacturer 3pcb.com

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by AndyJott, Sep 17, 2015.

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  1. AndyJott

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 17, 2015
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    Hello people,
    so my name Andy and I there I am. I like this site and hopefully will find some interesting things for my upcoming projects. But before I start new projects I have to finish my actual ones. But I try to keep getting inspired by sites like this one. My actual project is the Mutable Instruments Shruti. I am building 2 for me and 1 for a friend. What I want to tell to you is a recommondation for a pcb manufacturer called 3pcb.com . I know lots of you are interested in building cheap pcbs and because not everybody has the possibility to create his own pcb I'll show one of the, for my oppinion, best pcb manufacturers you can get. 3PCB is located in China which causes really very low prices, but with a high quality production. PCBs can get manufactured with a minimal amount of 5 units up to everything you want. "Oh, but I don't want 5 units" you'll perhaps say. But let me tell you that probably these 5 units cost less or not much more than the production of a single prototype board if you buy elsewhere. Let me tell you about the possibilities:

    Layers: ■1 Layer ■2 Layers ■4 Layers ■6 Layers
    Thickness: ■0.4 ■0.6 ■0.8 ■1.0 ■1.2 ■1.6 ■2.0 ■2.4 (mm)
    Solder Mask: ■Green ■Red ■Yellow ■Blue ■White ■Black
    Silkscreen: ■White ■Black
    Surface Finish: ■HASL with lead ■HASL lead free ■Immersion gold
    Finished Copper: ■1 oz Cu ■2 oz Cu

    11863504_1002609486436200_8350450467154050629_n.jpg

    I paid only 83 dollars plus the shipping costs for five board sets with a size of 385x100mm and a thickness of 1.6mm each. They would even be more cheap if I didn't want white boards with a black a silkscreen on it. And the quality is really great. There are no sharp edges or a bad silkscreen. Everything is very professional like it should be.

    So, but something more related to the people working there........

    I am not the most professional person when it's on to build up pcbs and I dodn't know how to order them correctly. That means I didn't know anything about what files I have to supply to a pcb manufacturer. All I knew is that there is something calles Gerber format which should be delivered. At 3PCB you have to upload your gerber files in a zip archive when making the invoice. After that they'll check the files and give a feedback to you if everything is correct and producable. I opened up Eagle and tried to export the ready .brd file which I have from the Mutable Instruments site to the gerber format. After opening the export page I felt very helpless. I didn't know which layer I should place into that file which gets written there. I did wrong in every aspect. I exported all layers to a single gerber file and uploaded this to 3PCB ( I hear you laughing :) ) . The next day I received a response from 3PCB where they told me, that I uploaded wrong files and they described me moer detailed what files they need. They told me about various files for the upper and lower copper, silkscreen, drills and holes and all that stuff. The text was written by hand and it was no kiond of copy and paste styles response what I got what I felt very happy about. I knew I got some real support from a real human. Suddenly I exported again some unusable crap. It has been several files, but somehow some details were wrong again. After I uploaded the faulty files and got a reply again after jut 24 hours. No joke. In that mail I was told more clearly about the differences of the kind of files I have to supply. The best thing was that they sent me a document where everything was described really clearly. The supplied a link to me, where I was able to download something like a 'preset' for exporting which I had to load in the Eagle export screen. Then I saw my (big) mistake. Now there were much more tabs and in each there has been exact specific setting for each of the files they needed. All I had to do now was to give the files names. After exporting the files all corresponding layers were grouped correctly and in the correct file format. I never were able to get this done without their really great help.

    12023073_1058996637479079_421480656_n.jpg

    So after the correct files has been delivered to 3PCB I was able to see the exactly production stage my pcbs were from the initial cuttings of the pcbs over to etching to silkscreening to drilling to electrical test and finally to the delivery to sending them out to me in real time down to minutes.
    When I talk about delivery ... you can coose between Hong Kong Post Airmail and DHL express. I've chosen DHL and after they sent out the PCBs they arrived in under one week. The hole process from the start didn't last longer than 2 weeks (including the correction I had to do on the files I supplied). If you are not satisfied you are able to open a complaint, but to this I can't tell you anything, because I had not to do it. I am really satisfied with their work.

    12025520_1058996270812449_1557617300_n.jpg

    So my tip for you, if you want to let produce some pcbs, go and try 3PCB. I just have the n ext project where I need to get some PCBs made. ( It's the Ambika of Mutable instruments ). The PCBs I need have a size of 325 x 280 millimeters. I'll order again the minimum amount of 5 pieces which costs only 190 dollars plus the shipping costs. In reality this are 5*7 PCBS, because its not one big pcb but one mainboard and 6 so called voicecards. Another nice thing is, that you dont need to order every single board. Instead of that you are able to put everything in a single layout and they cut the various pcbs for you. Isn't that great ? :D So last but not least I am very sure you ask why I tell all this to you so very detailed. The answer is that beside I don't want to let you not know about this great manufacturer is, that 3PCB gives redeem coupons if you share your expirience to other people. This will make your next order quite more cheaper than it is. They'll redeem from 30-100 dollars for it.

    Regards, Andy

    12041758_1058996527479090_1959355841_n.jpg
     
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  2. joeyd999

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 6, 2011
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    Nice spam, dude.
     
  3. AndyJott

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 17, 2015
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    Why spam ? It's a experience report .... You don't need to read it if you don't want to get some manufactured pcbs. I dont understand your hazzle. Some people are quite happy to get told about the possibility.
     
  4. DerStrom8

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
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    This doesn't strike me as spam. It appears to be a genuine PCB manufacturing service review, which is perfectly acceptable (and helpful) on this site. I think AAC ought to have a separate forum just for service/product reviews like this one.
     
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  5. DerStrom8

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
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    Thank you for the review @AndyJott . It is very informative!

    One quick question (on the design of the board, not on the manufacturing process), where is the silkscreen showing component designators? I see lots of resistor footprints but no way to know which is which, and what value they should be.
     
  6. joeyd999

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 6, 2011
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    Looks like an infomercial to me. And that was his first post ever. Spam in my book. IMHO.
     
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  7. DerStrom8

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
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    He showed actual products that he designed and had made by this manufacturer. The moderators should be able to tell if the member works for the company or not, so the choice is up to them. From my point of view, though, I wouldn't sign it off as spam quite yet.
     
  8. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    I don't think the moderators have a problem with this post, it was not a hit and run, lots of details and pictures, no links. Basically a well thought out article.

    Suggestion for the TS, start a blog, and link this thread to it.

    Similar to this perhaps...

    Wendy's Index
     
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  9. InspectorGadget

    Active Member

    Nov 5, 2010
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    I think this was a good post. I'm always looking for new and economical board houses for my projects and my clients.

    If you don't have the time to wait for Hong Kong Air Post, for about 50% more you can have Advanced Circuits in Aurora, CO do it. Fedex Ground usually gets it back in a few days. And strangely enough, their web site is "4pcb.com". Look for their $33ea 2-layer 5-day prototype deal. I don't know how 3pcb's pricing goes if you, say, go to 4 layers. Advanced Circuit's pricing doubles -- they ahve a $66ea 4-layer 5-day prototype deal. Other limitations apply (green soldermask, white ink only). Just FYI.

    I have no ties to 3pcb or 4pcb or any relationship with them except for being a long-time satisfied customer of 4pcb. So this isn't a SPAM. It's informational sharing so others may benefit from these services.

    I may give 3pcb a try in the future.
     
  10. Robin Mitchell

    Well-Known Member

    Oct 25, 2009
    732
    199
    I think posts like these belong in a blog and not on a forum page. If we go down that route I could just get someone to review the stuff I manufacture and post it here with pretty pictures.
     
  11. InspectorGadget

    Active Member

    Nov 5, 2010
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    Nobody's reviewing any products here. Nobody's reviewing anything that makes them money or their friends or relatives (speaking for myself, and I assume in AndyJott's case as well). We discussed a board prototyping service, which is very topical and could be of benefit to everyone on this site. And the subject line was very explicit. If you didn't want to hear about a board manufacturer, why did you read this thread?

    Unless you think AndyJott is lying and he's doing this for personal gain or that of his friends or family. That would be inappropriate, if not clearly stated.

    But otherwise, the only problem I see in this thread is the unproductive negative attitude of MITCH and Joeyd999.
     
  12. joeyd999

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 6, 2011
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    So, precisely how many different sites does he need to cross-post to until he is considered a spammer?

    Notice on both sites he was *not* a previous member. He signed up simply to advertise for this company. Yes, IMHO he is getting a kickback for his efforts.

    Edit: In addition, I am a long time customer of Advanced Circuits. Their web address, for years, has been 4pcb.com. It bugs me when I see cheap imitators trying to glom onto the success of their competition.
     
  13. DerStrom8

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
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    I am also a customer of Advanced Circuits, but it is a bit pricey for hobby-level work. for ~10 boards I either go through OSHpark or DirtyPCBs.

    @joeyd999 I'm not saying he's not a spammer, I'm just saying don't jump to conclusions.
     
  14. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
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    When I saw one single post and a "review" of a service provider I stopped reading an obvious
    Spam post.

    I doubt we will ever see this member again, unless he is here to divulge some other marvelous vendor or product so helpful on his project.

    My Mamma don't raise no dummies.
     
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  15. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    How could AndyJott's post NOT be SPAM? He says right at the end that he is getting paid to post it! It is SPAM by proxy.

    Last paragraph of first post:
     
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  16. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    Good enough, I missed the obvious. I've taken it back to the moderating staff for review.
     
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