Ordering universal PCBs from custom PCB manufacturers

Thread Starter

Kihun Song

Joined Nov 23, 2017
16
Would it be a good idea to order universal PCBs like the picture below from custom PCB manufacturers?
Because some Chinese manufacturers can get it manufactured for less than the cost of pre-made universal PCBs on market. I mostly use JLCPCB and it's a bit cheaper when ordering in large quantities. Also, I can customize the universal PCBs as I wish: chamfer corners, replace the pads on the sides with holes and connect them altogether for power routing.
But would it be too evil to order 100pcs of board with hundreds of holes in them each?

 

ebeowulf17

Joined Aug 12, 2014
3,307
Would it be a good idea to order universal PCBs like the picture below from custom PCB manufacturers?
Because some Chinese manufacturers can get it manufactured for less than the cost of pre-made universal PCBs on market. I mostly use JLCPCB and it's a bit cheaper when ordering in large quantities. Also, I can customize the universal PCBs as I wish: chamfer corners, replace the pads on the sides with holes and connect them altogether for power routing.
But would it be too evil to order 100pcs of board with hundreds of holes in them each?

There's nothing evil about it. The companies should have policies in place to make sure they don't make things that aren't profitable for them. I know when I submit orders to ALLPCB, it always gives me an instant price estimate, but it also includes some warning language about the possibility of price changes after the files are reviewed for production - I assume "unreasonable" drilling or routing requirements that would drive up production costs are among the things that they might bounce back and demand more money for.

Honestly, I've wondered the same thing you're asking for a while now, but just never got around to getting bids on them. Now that I know how cheap and easy it is to get custom PCBs made with the exact traces and layout I want (including a lot of non 0.1" pitch items,) I don't have nearly as much need for perf-board style stuff. It's nice to keep a little around, but I'm leaning more and more towards just designing the exact board I want for any given project (I kind of like the design process anyway, so it's part of the fun.)
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
13,850
You will need to create artwork and a drill template in the format that the manufacturer requires, so the task is not trivial. And, for a project like that with plated through holes,you need to specify copper thickness and hole diameter. Not hard to do, but more that just asking for boards.
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
27,946
Would it be a good idea to order universal PCBs like the picture below from custom PCB manufacturers?
Because some Chinese manufacturers can get it manufactured for less than the cost of pre-made universal PCBs on market. I mostly use JLCPCB and it's a bit cheaper when ordering in large quantities. Also, I can customize the universal PCBs as I wish: chamfer corners, replace the pads on the sides with holes and connect them altogether for power routing.
But would it be too evil to order 100pcs of board with hundreds of holes in them each?

Nothing evil at all about it -- if the company is willing to do it, it is because they have determined that it is in their best interest to do it. If they determine it isn't, they will let you know, probably by telling you at what price it becomes in their best interest to do it. Then the shoe is on the other foot -- you get to decide if the higher price still makes it in your best interest to go that route. Nothing evil in either direction, just two parties determining if a particular transaction is mutually beneficial.
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
11,087
Like others, I have thought of doing what the TS suggests. Currently, I use Sparkfun's solderable breadboards, #PRT12699 @$8.85 each (7.7"x 2.5") and #PRT1270 @ $4.95 each (3.7" x 2.5"). The larger board is $85.00 in a quantity of 10 and free shipping. For me, designing the pattern is a done deal -- that 's how I convert a schematic to a proto layout. At present, I have used about 4 or 5 of the smaller boards over the past few years.

I checked some instant quotes at JLCPCB and ALLPCB for the larger board. In each case, quantity =10 and usual board construction with green solder resist.

JLCPCB for 200 mm x 65 mm = $16.70 and 430 grams. Shipping adds $18.50 for 160 grams. No way to get an all-up quote including shipping without submitting Gerbers.

ALLPCB for 200 mm x 65 mm = $32.00 including shipping. Making it red added $4.

Sparkfun's boards are a known quality and are received within 1 week of ordering, but are more than twice as expensive on a per unit basis in units of 10. I do like the red solder resist. Maybe, I will order a stock from my usual board house this Winter.
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
15,487
Would it be a good idea to order universal PCBs like the picture below from custom PCB manufacturers?
What price would you get?

100 5cmX7cm boards from Aliexpress is less than $50. If you don't need the edge pads, single sided is $11 per 100. You might find slightly better prices if you look at more sellers. I just looked at the first two that came up in a search.
5pcs-5x7cm-5-7-Double-Side-Prototype-PCB-diy-Universal-Printed-Circuit-Board.jpg
 

Thread Starter

Kihun Song

Joined Nov 23, 2017
16
What price would you get?

100 5cmX7cm boards from Aliexpress is less than $50. If you don't need the edge pads, single sided is $11 per 100. You might find slightly better prices if you look at more sellers. I just looked at the first two that came up in a search.
View attachment 164917
It takes a little less than 50$ for 100 boards ordering custom PCBs, not much different from Aliexpress or Ebay. But here in S.Korea, it's around 100~150$ for 100 of those 50*70mm boards, so I though I could save some money. I can also customize the boards a little bit if I want.
 

ArakelTheDragon

Joined Nov 18, 2016
1,353
I know I am going against the common opinion, but I disagree.
Starting with an order of 100 is bad. First you need to test the manufacturer and see will you like him.

Second: why not make your own PCBs at home? Its very easy and takes about $20 for preparation which lasts a long time.
 

Thread Starter

Kihun Song

Joined Nov 23, 2017
16
I know I am going against the common opinion, but I disagree.
Starting with an order of 100 is bad. First you need to test the manufacturer and see will you like him.

Second: why not make your own PCBs at home? Its very easy and takes about $20 for preparation which lasts a long time.
Price per board is 10$ for 20pcs which is the same when ordering 100pcs. 10$ isn't that much, so I went ahead and ordered 20 of them.
I'm talking about universal PCB with 450 holes in them each for 50mm*70mm size. I wouldn't consider etching a copper board and drilling 450 holes for a universal PCB. Also, etching PCBs at home would be too much work which wouldn't even have silkscreen and soldermask. Maybe later when I might need a PCB within hours.
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
11,087
Plated through holes are another advantage commercial PCB's may offer. They allow easy soldering on either side. Note, 0.1" spacing is just about right for using 1206 SMD components (e.g., resistors, capacitors, diodes) if you are willing to mix TH and SMD devices.
 

Thread Starter

Kihun Song

Joined Nov 23, 2017
16
Plated through holes are another advantage commercial PCB's may offer. They allow easy soldering on either side. Note, 0.1" spacing is just about right for using 1206 SMD components (e.g., resistors, capacitors, diodes) if you are willing to mix TH and SMD devices.
Didn't think of 1206 size fitting at 0.1" spacing. I used 0805 till now, but what would you recommend between 0805, 1206 or other sizes? I don't have any problem with 0805, but would there be a size that is considered universal or just be good for most hobbyists?
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
11,087
Those two are the only sizes I use routinely. The 805 most frequently. Whatever fits or touches the solder pads works. I mentioned it only because SMD's are so common, and there may be a tendency to think that because you are using a prototype board, they can't be used.
 
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