Where to get custom pcb made?

Thread Starter

blah2222

Joined May 3, 2010
582
Hello,

I have in no way the means to afford getting a commercial pcb made, but I am curious if a research team at a university wants to get a pcb made and all of their parts soldered on and sent back to them, where would they send this request to? Do you have to send the parts as well?

Thanks,
JP
 

Wendy

Joined Mar 24, 2008
21,914
There are a lot more places that will make the PCB than will assemble it. I've seen some posts recommending Chinese houses. Make the boards is what is hard, assembly is easy.

Are you wanting them to lay it out too?
 

ErnieM

Joined Apr 24, 2011
8,007
Not just universities but pity the poor engineer who just needs one or two boards made so he can test his prototype. There are assembly houses out there that will build very small runs of boards. Some will work starting with your board artwork and a bill of materials, have boards made and buy the parts, then assemble and return you a completed inspected board. Give them the specs or a fixture and they will test it for you too.

Some board houses will partner with an assembly house or just keep all the work in house.

Getting someone to buy parts for you is not cheap. The lowest cost method is to send them all the parts and assembly documentation.

Offhand expect to pay between $.25 and $1.00 USD per part they place for you, perhaps less for simple resistors and more for 100 pin QFPs. Thru hole costs more then SMD too.

I don't have any links here, may have some later when I'm in the office.

Personally, I just build my own protos and I prefer SMD over thru hole by a wide margin.
 

mcgyvr

Joined Oct 15, 2009
5,394
Simply google "prototype pcb assembly" those companies that come up are your best choices.. If its thru hole its much cheaper to source the parts and solder yourself and just buy the PCB. SMT is more difficult depending on what parts are required.
I have no idea of the complexity of your pcb assembly but don't expect to get anything fully built for under $100.
 

tom66

Joined May 9, 2009
2,595
There are a lot more places that will make the PCB than will assemble it. I've seen some posts recommending Chinese houses. Make the boards is what is hard, assembly is easy.

Are you wanting them to lay it out too?
(What?)

Making a PCB is easy with the right equipment.

Doing assembly of a PCB is tricky, even with the right equipment!
 

DerStrom8

Joined Feb 20, 2011
2,390
I just had a bunch of boards made, but I'm assembling them myself. The company that made them for me was www.10pcb.com . The price was quite reasonable. It may be worth sending them a message to see if they assemble boards as well.
Der Strom

UPDATE: I contacted 10pcb.com and I already received a reply. They are willing to assemble the boards, but it would cost a little more. I'm sure it would still be reasonable, though. Also, when I ordered my boards, it took less than a week to get them made and shipped from China to the U.S. Definitely worth looking into, if you ask me ;)
 
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ErnieM

Joined Apr 24, 2011
8,007
Isn't this weird: I just got an email from Advanced Circuits touting their assembly capabilities. If you log into their website and register they have an online quote for assembly.

I just asked for 20 SMD parts, and got:

qty cost per
5 $65
10 $46
50 $13 (.65 per part)

For 100 parts it came to $276/$152/$49. (best is .49 per part).
 

mcasale

Joined Jul 18, 2011
210
Hi. You did not say anything about how big or complicated your PCB will be.

For smaller, simple, through-hole prototypes, I have had good luck with http://expresspcb.com/

You can download their schematic and layout tools and order blank boards pretty cheaply. The tools are easy to learn. You will have to load the boards yourself, or go to an assembly shop if it's SMT. My eyesight is too poor to work with SMT :) !!!
 

Wendy

Joined Mar 24, 2008
21,914
Note the OP is wanting the fab company to assemble it with components too. If he fills his needs as stated I would like feedback (for curiosities sake) of how it went.
 

CraigHB

Joined Aug 12, 2011
127
I'm always on the lookout for cheap manufactured PCBs so I'm mainly replying to this thread to put it in my control panel.

Here's a list of the most inexpensive suppliers for prototype quantities I've found so far;

http://dorkbotpdx.org/wiki/pcb_order

http://www.pcbcart.com/cart.php

http://www.pcb-pool.com/ppus/index.html

http://www.pcbwing.com/index.php

These guys are very inexpensive, but their site says they are temporarily down;

http://hightechproto.com/

ExpressPCB has a "mini-board" service that is actually quite inexpensive, but there are limitations. They only accept files made with their software and you have to cut the pre-set sized boards yourself.

http://expresspcb.com


.
 
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Dr_Ram

Joined Sep 14, 2011
7
(Moderators:If this qualifies as advertising/spam please delete.)

I'm always on the lookout for cheap manufactured PCBs so I'm mainly replying to this thread to put it in my control panel.
As a DIYer and then as someone who has been designing crossovers for DIYers, I have always run into rough weather trying to find an affordable source for 1-2 PCBs. Not 5 or 10, but one that could give me ONE of professional quality without charging me for 5+. I failed and that has prompted me to think of launching my own batched PCB service though I don't quite fancy myself as someone in the "PCB business." "Batched" obviously means it works only if I can get multiple DIYers to pool in, and if it fails to enthuse I'll probably call it off. Bottomline: What it works out to is $1.50 per square inch of PCB, any size, order just one if you need to. (2-layer, both sides silk and soldermask, flyprobe tested, ENIG finish.) The boards will be made by the Bangalore plant of a European PCB major so I do not expect surprises.

Cheers - Ram
 

colinb

Joined Jun 15, 2011
351
"Batched" obviously means it works only if I can get multiple DIYers to pool in, and if it fails to enthuse I'll probably call it off. Bottomline: What it works out to is $1.50 per square inch of PCB, any size, order just one if you need to. (2-layer, both sides silk and soldermask, flyprobe tested, ENIG finish.) The boards will be made by the Bangalore plant of a European PCB major so I do not expect surprises.
That's interesting, but not a very significant improvement over the DorkbotPDX (Laen) PCB order, which is $5.00/in^2 for 3 copies, so $1.67/in^2 if you were going to get three anyway.

Three is a good number for me since having more than one board allows me to test more effectively and if I populate three boards I can usually separate design problems from part installation problems (e.g., did the board fail becuase of a bad QFN IC solder joint or because the design is faulty?).

It would be nice in some cases to be able to get just one or two or four boards, but most of the time I find three the perfect number.
 

Dr_Ram

Joined Sep 14, 2011
7
That's interesting, but not a very significant improvement over the DorkbotPDX (Laen) PCB order, which is $5.00/in^2 for 3 copies, so $1.67/in^2 if you were going to get three anyway.
I will not attack any other service in my replies because I appreciate the good work that they do for the DIY community, plus, like I said, PCBs is not my business really. I'll just speak for myself and how I would expect someone like you, in your situation (which is not unlike the situation I have been in) would use a service like mine, and you'll see how it nicely it works.

1. If the PCBs were really small, say 2-4 sq inches yes, 3, 5 or even 10 does not burn a hole in my pocket any more than 1 or 2. If the PCB were, say 4x4, things would get much more expensive. If I was reasonably confident of my design, I'd order one first, paying $24 +7 shipping (if sent all by itself), knowing that if things went wrong I could change my design as much as I wanted and then order a second modified one, again paying only $24 if the size remained 4x4.

2. If I had a bunch of orders and pretty much everyone wanted more than one copy of their design - say even just 2, it allows me to ask the fab house to replicate the panel twice, and the additional cost you'd pay for the second PCB would no longer be $1.50 per sq inch - it would drop to under $1 per square inch. If that's what people want it sure is a possibility, but I'm not making that assumption.

-Ram
 
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