Proto Board

Thread Starter


Joined May 1, 2009
As a hobbyist the hardest thing for me to source seems to be proto-board. Actually it is easy to find, it is just amazingly pricey. I've look around the normal places on the net but can't seem to find any really inexpensive board. Just wondering how you folks source yours? I did see an article that suggested the cheapest way to get it is to order it from a China based PCB factory. I guess what you do is build a "circuit" in your cad software that is just very generic and is really just a bunch of holes in the board. Then your order 25 or so of them and the per board cost is actually less than the proto board you buy? Seems amazing!

Up until now I've been buying from Radio Shack, but at their prices I'll soon go broke! :) I've only used through hole so far, but I see a lot of folks on the net using the copper clad boards too. Not sure which is less costly.

Anyway, just looking for suggestions on what you folks use to make your circuits and where you source it from.

Thanks for any tips/suggestions!


Joined Jul 17, 2007
I believe that our OP is using "protoboard" as a term for a prototype PCB.

PCB's made at a board house can be expensive indeed for small runs.

A number of members here make their own PCBs. Single side PCBs are pretty easy. Boards for SMD/SMT components are even easier than for thru-hole components, as you don't have to drill a bunch of holes. 2-sided boards are more difficult, as you have to be very careful to align the top and bottom correctly.

It helps a great deal to keep costs down if you plan your board layout carefully, optimizing the usage of available space while keeping your traces as short as possible.


Joined Nov 12, 2008
Personally, I like using proto boards such as those sold at RadioShack for prototyping or making one or two circuits for an application.

There is an arguement for making your own and many people do that successfully - it saves a lot of wiring with respect to using a protoboard. However, time is added to design a layout, transfer to board, etch, clean, and drill the board and deal with the chemicals. If you're working on a circuit where having traces is better to get better signals or less interference, an RF circuit for example, then making your own is the way to go (outside of a board house). As an alternate, you could also make your own board with a Dremel - not as elegant but it works.

If you're okay wiring a protoboard and don't want to rely on RadioShack, I use a few places to get inexpensive boards:

Most of these places sell electronic parts too, so you can order some parts and the boards to save on shipping.

Hope this helps.


Joined May 26, 2011

Thread Starter


Joined May 1, 2009
Wow, thanks. Some great sites there. The eBay seller looks to have some great pricing. Those are just the type of thing I'm looking for, and that's about the best price I've been able to find. Think I'll order some. Thanks for all the links guys!

You folks with the chemicals and printing out the circuit and all of that are way over my head! :) I do love the looks of the finished product though.

At this stage of the game I need something fast and cheap as I have a lot of small quick projects I want to do. I have two "breadboards" (the reusable type) but I'm constantly running out of space and would like to move circuits to these more permanent boards.

Again, thanks for the tips and feedback folks!


Joined Feb 17, 2010
I usually buy in bulk from places like and If you want to make your own protoboards (if you want to combine SMD and through-hole myabe) then production PCBs from seed studio or itead studio cost only $1 per PCB in 5x5cm double sided. Must be ordered in 10x quantities.