PCB Manufacturers (have you used one?)

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by ke5nnt, Nov 19, 2009.

  1. ke5nnt

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Mar 1, 2009
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    I was wondering if anyone here has ever had PCBs they've designed manufactured by a PCB manufacturer? What was your experience?
     
  2. peranders

    Well-Known Member

    May 21, 2007
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    Indeed.

    [​IMG]

    The experience? Were easy to order but make sure you know what you are doing. The picture shows a 4-layer pcb with pure gold on the pads.
     
  3. Duane P Wetick

    Active Member

    Apr 23, 2009
    408
    19
    Generally, you supply a Gerber file which has all the manufacturing data for the PCB. Thats what the Mfgr. is looking for. Alternatively, you can use Autocad (I have) and generate your own artwork, drilling, solder mask, silkscreens etc. It can be expensive however, to make one PCB. The Mfgr. wants VOLUME! Thats how he makes money, and of course, the $/ PCB is low when the volume is high.
     
  4. StayatHomeElectronics

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2008
    864
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    Be sure you know exactly what files the manufacturer needs to build the board and how to generate them. Layers, silkscreens, drill files...

    There are some small order shops that have a fairly good price structure if you do not mind waiting... I'll look one up and reply again.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2009
  5. BMorse

    Senior Member

    Sep 26, 2009
    2,675
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    there are quite a few Online places where you can have anywhere from 3 to 10,000 pcs... I use express PCB, they supply you with the software to design the board and with a few clicks your order is placed...... and if you decide to have someone else make the PCB's, ExpressPCB will send you the Gerber files for a small fee...... I have used them for 1 or 2 prototypes, and mass production of PCB's..... The only thing I didnt like is their limited in parts in their database, but the software will let you create you own if you had to. You don't have to use their software either, they will accept gerber files.....


    My .02
     
  6. StayatHomeElectronics

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2008
    864
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    Here is a place with some good pricing. You will have to wait several weeks to get your boards though. I have not used them yet but I was going to try them on my next project.

    www.BatchPCB.com
     
  7. peranders

    Well-Known Member

    May 21, 2007
    87
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    You use a proper pcb cad software to produce Gerber files (for the copper) and Excellon files for the drilling. Autocad files are not very appreciated.

    I have used many times http://cograpro.se which do worldwide business and they are really fast if you are in a hurry. They have the pcb's ready the same day! I might add that they are really nice to doing business with. I have known them for 15 years. The webpage is in Swedish but ignore that and send them an email since they are good in English. I'll guess you can get something out of it if you'll use the Google translation service. You might also get a good laugh trying to translate.

    The red pcb in the post above has www.pcbcart.com made and they are really good and they check the gerber files for you.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2009
  8. rcbuck

    New Member

    Nov 10, 2009
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    I have used www.BatchPCB.com 2 times in the last year. Their prices are good ($2.50 sq in) with $10 shipping fee if I remember correctly. One order took almost 4 weeks to receive and the other one was delivered in about 2-1/2 weeks. It just depends on where they put your board in the manufacturing cycle. They explain this in detail on their website. The quality of the boards was excellent both times. I ordered only 2 boards each time.

    If I need 5 or 10 boards I use www.pcbfabexpress.com because they are lower cost for that quantity. You can select a 5 day or 10 day turn. Of course the 5 day turn costs more. I have placed about a dozen orders with them over the last 3 years. I always get excellent service and top quality boards.
     
  9. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
    22,182
    1,728
    Whomever you choose to make your PCB's, I suggest reading through BatchPCB's website. There are valuable tips on there in how to properly prepare your files for processing by a PCB manufacturing house.

    If you don't follow the directions, you will wind up with an expensive batch of coasters.
     
  10. John Luciani

    Active Member

    Apr 3, 2007
    477
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    I have had a lot of boards made by PCB Express and Advanced Circuits.
    Both offer excellent quality and service. I would not hesitate to send a board
    to either company. I choose one over the other based only on price and delivery.

    I had a great service experience with PCB Express. When FEDEX could not track
    my PCB package PCB Express remade the boards and shipped them overnight.
    They told me that if the original boards happen to arrive just keep them at no charge.
    The original boards arrived a few days after the remade boards.

    (* jcl *)
     
  11. ke5nnt

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Mar 1, 2009
    384
    15
    Just wanted to say thanks for all the recommendations. I think for just 1 proto board that I'll use BatchPCB, looks good for a single proto on price. Still checking around on larger quantities, but for now, best deal I can find is at a place called PCBfabrication.com. If I have a quantity made, I'm looking for black solder mask that also covers vias.

    I've noticed in my checking around that some of the places don't offer that, or they're significantly more expensive, but still more shopping around to do.

    Again, thanks for the replies.

    A quick question though, when saying that you want the solder mask to cover vias, that doesn't also cover plated through-holes for through hole components does it? I wouldn't imagine it does, but better to ask than be suprised.

    Best!
     
  12. rcbuck

    New Member

    Nov 10, 2009
    9
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    Just curious why would you want to do that?

    Anyway, that would be a function of your PCB software. The board house will just make what the gerber files say make.
     
  13. gootee

    Senior Member

    Apr 24, 2007
    447
    50
    Regardless of which manufacturer you eventually use, I highly recommend first using the FreeDFM design/file-checker utility at http://www.4pcb.com (Advanced Circuits). It's great! And it might save you from significant headaches, or wasting money. (And it also emails you a nice, high-resolution PDF file of each of your layers, which might come in handy.)

    Also make sure that you try changing the quantities, in the quote that is automatically emailed to you. It's amazing how many boards you can get for almost the same price as a few.
     
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