Help with cost estimation of a PCB design

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by NFranco96, Jun 9, 2019.

  1. NFranco96

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 9, 2019
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    Hello,

    I´m developing an electronic product related to PC videogaming. In order to validate the financial feasibility of the proyect, I need an estimation of the cost of designing a PCB for a controller. This controller has a custom shape that would fit a PCB of 56mm x 44mm max. It has an analog stick and 7 buttons on it. I don´t know much about the specifications of a PCB but they should be similar to the ones in a Playstation 4 controller (Dualshock 4) PCB to ensure durability of the device. Also, the controller should have a USB port to connect to the PC and be compatible. I know it is not a lot of information but I´d like to have an estimate, no matter how broad the range is, of the price of design and assembly that it would cost. Thanks for your help.
     
  2. MrSoftware

    Senior Member

    Oct 29, 2013
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    At a bare minimum you're going to need a functional specification before anyone can give you a ballpark. What exactly does it do, how many buttons, switches, etc.. what does each button do exactly, etc.. otherwise you're basically asking "how much does it cost to design a car, 4 wheels and 4 doors? " well.. that could describe a yugo or a Ferrari.
     
  3. narkeleptk

    Member

    Mar 11, 2019
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    You need complete design or just printing?
     
  4. SLK001

    Senior Member

    Nov 29, 2011
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    There's a four door Ferrari?
     
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  5. ronv

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 12, 2008
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    Maybe this will give you an idea.
    Try different quantities. That's really the biggie.

    https://www.pcbcart.com/quote
     
  6. bug13

    Senior Member

    Feb 13, 2012
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    If you really mean PCB only, this is properly the least thing you need to worry about. PCBs are very cheap these day.

    But if you mean developing a product, like circuit design, component selection, PCB Layout, firmware development, housing etc... that is almost impossible to answer.
     
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  7. ebeowulf17

    Distinguished Member

    Aug 12, 2014
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    Agreed - the cost of manufacturing the PCB itself is trivial, and even the cost of having all of its electrical components soldered onto it is pretty low compared to other manufacturing costs.

    However, the development work to come up with a suitable design can be expensive and unpredictable. If you need to contract out all of the software and electrical engineering development work, that could easily be tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. We're working on a project of minor bug fixes and very small feature additions to an otherwise mature design, and expecting to spend ~50k. Undoubtedly could be done for less, but we're paying a premium for a company we know and trust, who we know will provide good documentation, etc. and also be around the next time we need them.
     
  8. MisterBill2

    Distinguished Member

    Jan 23, 2018
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    I have had circuit boards designed for circuits that I created and for one that size a regular business that creates the board layout from a circuit complete circuit design would cost between $1500 and $2500 (USD). That is based on a completed circuit design with every component already specified. To have the same work done by a California company, triple the price.
    If you only have a functional specification that is complete and adequately detailed then you still need to have the circuit designed that will be a WHOLE LOT MORE, because now you are needing engineering services and not just a board layout service.
     
  9. BobaMosfet

    Distinguished Member

    Jul 1, 2009
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    So, approximately 2cm square.Layout and software design is going to cost you. You would need to contract to someone first, at a minimum have them sign an NDA so as not to take your idea, and then give them all the necessary details so they can quote you either: a) a full estimate, or a time + materials, at some nominal hourly rate.

    Based on the very rough description you've provided, I'd SWAG this at between $1600-$3500 (US) for PCB design, software design, testing and manufacture for 12 prototypes, and anywhere from 1 month to 3 months, depending on how well you define what you want done, or if there is creeping featurism involved. And the SWAG (Silly Wild A** Guess) is _just_ the PCB. If you want an enclosure on top of that (like for a full controller, that is raises the cost likely beyond what you could withstand for a prototype.
     
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  10. narkeleptk

    Member

    Mar 11, 2019
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  11. MisterBill2

    Distinguished Member

    Jan 23, 2018
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    There is a serious error in post #9:
    SWAG = "Scientific Wild A** Guess." The implication being that there is a basis for the guess but a bunch of unknown variables are not known.
    Now as for the video game accessory, for lack of a better thing to call your creation, you also need to consider the value it will provide to the users, and what price you are going to be able to sell it for and still make a profit. And a realistic estimate of how many folks would actually buy one at whatever price you pick. There is a rather lot of fairly brutal reality in bringing a new product to market. A whole lot of them fail, but some have spectacular success. And there are two other considerations, which are, if it is a great success, how long before there comes a Chinese copy at half the price, and how long before some hacker gets into it nd discovers how to change it.
     
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  12. avayan

    Member

    Oct 30, 2015
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    Intriguingly, nobody answered the question on how much will it cost to design a PCB. Agreed that it is not easy to answer, but for a ball park, I can tell you it could easily be anything in between 40 and 120 design hours if you have a decent idea of what you want. Then what you need to do is determine how much each hour costs. If you are going to hire a PCB layout guy (and you will do schematics and mechanics), then it is possible you will pay something in the 50 to 80 per hour. If you need an engineer to design schematic, PCB, mechanical footprint, I would use 80 to 200 per hour. Find it very hard it will be much more than this. I am assuming you already have a mechanical engineer to design the enclosure, so he/she should be able to design the PCB footprint and pass it along to the electronic design team.

    Now, be aware that the main problem of any design is not knowing what you want. If you are 100% sure you know what you want and you tell your designer "I want THIS, THIS and THIS!!!!", then it should take no more than 40 to 80 hours, to be honest. But if you are day dreaming with "Well, I am thinking I want this.. but wait, what if we do it like this? AH! How about this one?" Rest assured the hours will clock in like crazy! And you will wish it would have been a 120 hour job...

    One last note. Just because you know what you want doesn't mean it is possible to make it happen. So be aware you will need to spend some time negotiating what you want and what can be done! This is yet another reason why the hours clock in like crazy, and unfortunately there is not a whole lot you can do about that one...
     
  13. Berzerker

    Member

    Jul 29, 2018
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    I'll do it for $100,000 :rolleyes:
    Brzrkr
     
  14. MisterBill2

    Distinguished Member

    Jan 23, 2018
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    We have no response from the TS as to what is meant by "Developing a product". That could be anywhere from working out a description of what it looks like and what it does, all the way to having a prototype built and needing just the mechanical portion of the creation of packaging and implementation of the final hardware completed. So there we are, waiting for a response. Perhaps the reality of what is needed was overwhelming. I know that the successful product that I designed a while back did take a bit of work. But our company was able to do almost all of it in house. All of the mechanical design, the PCB layout, build, and final assembly. But the production run was about 50 units, which all sold.
    The problem was that the first iteration was done by an outsider source and it was a disaster. We did learn from that.
     
  15. DickCappels

    Moderator

    Aug 21, 2008
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    Not long ago I had a guy lay out two boards for US$1 per pad. Very professional job and no mistakes. I found him through Futurlec.
    http://www.futurlec.com/PCBDesign.shtml

    His cost was minor in the overall development of the board.
     
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  16. Berzerker

    Member

    Jul 29, 2018
    442
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    there you go NFranco96 it will cost somewhere between $1.00 and $100,000.
    I paid $33.00 a board for my first PCB. I knew nothing about electronics or PCB layout when I came here. I was told to study (Still do) and get a PCB program and learn. Best advice I've had in years. I now know some about electronics, components and how they work and I can make PCB's, edit patterns and components, Build libraries and make Gerber files. Just dig in! Buttons should be simple it only allows current through while it's pressed.....I'd have to go look up the analog stick part and read up on it before I could say anything. Built my own Arcade Machine using M.A.M.E. (Multi Arcade Machine Emulator). You do Know they already have a device that does what your asking for, for very little.

    This one is a keyboard emulator but you can get different types for different applications.
    https://www.amazon.com/I-PAC-Arcade-Controller-Interface-Cable/dp/B01N6TKDDH
    Brzrkr
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019 at 9:40 AM
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