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'[EE:] Board Design Cost'
2003\12\16@102342 by Matt Redmond

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Hi All,

Within a month (or two or three) I'll be done with the design of a device
I'd like to have turned into a finished board.  I've got a buddy in the
board-making business & I'll have him make the board for me - but he doesn't
design them - just works from gerbers.

My board will be about 1.25" by 3.5", 2-layer.  It will consist of an MCU,
several other ICs (all SMT), a few pin headers and a handful of smaller
components.  The board itself is bigger than it needs to be due to some
mechanical requirements - the circuit itself is fairly simple.

My questions:

1.  If I hand someone a schematic, how much might I expect to pay to have
the board designed?  Cheap is good - I wish I could find a talented hobbyist
or student to do this for me...

2.  I don't have any board design experience - how does one spec component
packages/sizes to maximize cost-effectiveness, availability & flexibility?
...or does the guy designing the board handle that?

-matt redmond

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2003\12\16@112834 by Olin Lathrop

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Matt Redmond wrote:
> 1.  If I hand someone a schematic, how much might I expect to pay to
> have the board designed?  Cheap is good - I wish I could find a
> talented hobbyist or student to do this for me...

You are right, the best thing would be to find a hobbyist, friend, or
student that has a CAD system and can do this on the side.  If you think you
will do this again, you might consider getting the free or low cost version
of Eagle and learn to do this yourself.

I can give you some idea what it would take to get this done commercially:

This is a nightmare job for a commercial outfit.  No matter how "cheap"
someone will do this, you will probably think it's too expensive.  That
means you will probably waste more of their time than usual in wanting every
penny justified, and they will be wondering if you'll ever pay them.  The
small size of the job makes the extra hand holding proportionately worse.

The small job size also means the extra overhead in getting into and out of
the job is more significant than with a small job.  Then there is the issue
of what happens if it doesn't work.  You aren't paying to have the schematic
looked over, but will naturally assume the board is at fault when things
don't work.  This means extra wasted time to the commercial house to argue
about whos fault it is and spend time proving the board matches the
schematic.

Let's add some numbers.  Assume your schematic is drawn neatly and
understandably.  However, you don't have package information.  Figure a
couple of hours to look over the schematic, verify it makes sense (to avoid
problems later), determine if any unusual packages are required, get a feel
for whether it will fit within your board area, etc.  Figure at least half a
day chasing down mechanical information for unusual connectors and the like,
adding their definition to the CAD system, and entering the schematic.  At
least another 1/2 day for routing, checking the gerber files, sending them
to the board house, receiving the boards.  Add the overhead of all the hand
holding required, getting into and out of this job, and it will take at
least two days assuming not a large number of part not previouly in the CAD
system.  Even at $95/hour engineering rate, plus $120 for 3-5 prototype
boards, that would be over $1,600.  And that's an estimate, not a guaranteed
fixed price.  This is actually quite cheap from a commercial job, but
probably way past your definition of "cheap".

Unless you make it clear that you are prepared to pay up to $2000, no
commercial place that knows what they are doing is going to touch this job.
Even then, the fact that you are dumping an existing schematic on them will
make most commericial places walk away.  There are too many potential
problems that are just not worth the trouble and aggrevation for two days of
billable time.


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2003\12\16@131401 by Hopkins

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> Matt Redmond wrote:
> > 1.  If I hand someone a schematic, how much might I expect to pay to
> > have the board designed?  Cheap is good - I wish I could find a
> > talented hobbyist or student to do this for me...

Hi Matt,

Please contact me directly and send as much info as possible regarding your
design.

I am a hobbyist with a lot of experience in the electronics industry.

*************************************************

Roy Hopkins

rdhopkinsspamKILLspamihug.co.nz

*************************************************



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2003\12\16@151756 by Bob Barr

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Re-send with fixed tag.

On Tue, 16 Dec 2003 13:38:54 -0500, "D. Jay Newman" wrote:

>> Can Eagle do 8 layers?
>
>I believe the professional version can do this. The freeware version
>can only do two layers.

If the pin count is under 100, the free version of AutoTRAX  will
handle that layer count (and more).


Regards, Bob


AutoTRAX home page: http://www.autotraxeda.com/index.html

Yahoo group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/autotrax/

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2003\12\16@155601 by Chuck Hellebuyck

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Matt,
There have been some great notes on this and I also recommend you learn to lay it out yourself. Another option besides EAGLE is EXPRESSPCB.com.
The software is free to download and you can get three 2.5"x3.8" non-solder mask, non-silkscreen boards for $59 including shipping.
I use it often for quick prototypes.
They now offer 4 layers also but I'm not sure if this is included in the $59 price or not.

Matt Redmond <mdredmondspamspam_OUTCHARTER.NET> wrote:
Hi All,

Within a month (or two or three) I'll be done with the design of a device
I'd like to have turned into a finished board. I've got a buddy in the
board-making business & I'll have him make the board for me - but he doesn't
design them - just works from gerbers.

My board will be about 1.25" by 3.5", 2-layer. It will consist of an MCU,
several other ICs (all SMT), a few pin headers and a handful of smaller
components. The board itself is bigger than it needs to be due to some
mechanical requirements - the circuit itself is fairly simple.

My questions:

1. If I hand someone a schematic, how much might I expect to pay to have
the board designed? Cheap is good - I wish I could find a talented hobbyist
or student to do this for me...

2. I don't have any board design experience - how does one spec component
packages/sizes to maximize cost-effectiveness, availability & flexibility?
...or does the guy designing the board handle that?

-matt redmond

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Great for learning, teaching and developing electronic, programmable
robotics and other embedded applications. Starter packages from $149.95.
http://www.elproducts.com

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2003\12\16@163917 by Bob Barr

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On Tue, 16 Dec 2003 12:55:19 -0800, Chuck Hellebuyck wrote:

>Matt,
>There have been some great notes on this and I also recommend you learn to lay it out yourself. Another option besides EAGLE is EXPRESSPCB.com.
>The software is free to download and you can get three 2.5"x3.8" non-solder mask, non-silkscreen boards for $59 including shipping.
>I use it often for quick prototypes.
>They now offer 4 layers also but I'm not sure if this is included in the $59 price or not.
>

ExpressPCB's software is proprietary and doesn't produce Gerber files.

Matt already has someone to produce the boards; he just needs to get
from schematic to Gerber files.


Regards, Bob

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2003\12\16@164536 by Bryan Mumford

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To me the benefit of ExpressPCB is not so much the low cost, fast
turn around, or that the layout software is free. It's that the
layout software is so easy to use. I downloaded Eagle once and took a
look at it. I found it overly complicated. You can learn to use
ExpressPCB in half an hour. The link between the schematic program
and the PCB program now make it very easy to avoid mistakes.


At 12:55 PM -0800 12-16-03, Chuck Hellebuyck wrote:
>Matt,
>There have been some great notes on this and I also recommend you
>learn to lay it out yourself. Another option besides EAGLE is
>EXPRESSPCB.com.
>The software is free to download and you can get three 2.5"x3.8"
>non-solder mask, non-silkscreen boards for $59 including shipping.
>I use it often for quick prototypes.
>They now offer 4 layers also but I'm not sure if this is included in
>the $59 price or not.

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2003\12\16@184259 by Dan Devine

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OK, I'll turn it around.....does EXPRESSPCB.com support Eagle?

Their price per board is good, but I'm under the impression that they
will not take my Eagle files...

Eagle has more to understand as a novice, but it seems more like a real
"CAD" program.  I quickly figured out most of the library and drawing
stuff due to experience with other CADs.  Perhaps that's not a good
assumption to make about everyone, but I was familiar with the concepts.

Now that I've learned it (on my first project, similar to this) I'd
really like to keep with it.  I'm looking forward to getting 4+ layers
and unlimited size.

Who is the least expensive for rapid prototype under Eagle?

I am currently using http://www.pcbexpress.com, along with newest
Eagle.  My usual "buys" are 4 x 2sided boards at Eagle limit of 3.2 x
4.0.

Price for this size....$115.00 + shipping



DD

On Tue, 2003-12-16 at 13:42, Bryan Mumford wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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2003\12\16@185336 by Wouter van Ooijen

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> Who is the least expensive for rapid prototype under Eagle?

two to try: http://www.olimex.com, http://www.eurocircuits.com

Wouter van Ooijen

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2003\12\16@190414 by Herbert Graf

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> On Tue, 16 Dec 2003 12:55:19 -0800, Chuck Hellebuyck wrote:
>
> >Matt,
> >There have been some great notes on this and I also recommend
> you learn to lay it out yourself. Another option besides EAGLE is
> EXPRESSPCB.com.
> >The software is free to download and you can get three 2.5"x3.8"
> non-solder mask, non-silkscreen boards for $59 including shipping.
> >I use it often for quick prototypes.
> >They now offer 4 layers also but I'm not sure if this is
> included in the $59 price or not.
> >
>
> ExpressPCB's software is proprietary and doesn't produce Gerber files.

       Very true, that's the main reason I won't even consider them (that and no
solder mask, making them useless for SMT IMHO). What's the point in spending
all that time laying out your board and then having to do it all over again
when you no longer want to go with them. TTYL

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2003\12\16@192529 by David Schmidt

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also http://www.barebonespcb.com and http://www.4pcb.com.

The http://www.4pcb.com has a great deal on full service, 2sided PCB's for $33.00
each.


At 12:51 AM 12/17/2003 +0100, you wrote:
>two to try: http://www.olimex.com, http://www.eurocircuits.com

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2003\12\16@205917 by Olin Lathrop

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Bob Barr wrote:
>>> Can Eagle do 8 layers?
>>
>> I believe the professional version can do this. The freeware version
>> can only do two layers.

The full version can do up to 16 layers.  I don't know about the other
versions.


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2003\12\16@211331 by BJR

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Matt:

I do board design for a lot of different companies and maby I can help.
Please contact
me off list for further info.  I have most of the PIC's and Motorola
controllers is my
librarys along with a others too numerous to mention.

CR

>
>
> My board will be about 1.25" by 3.5", 2-layer.  It will consist of an MCU,
> several other ICs (all SMT), a few pin headers and a handful of smaller
> components.  The board itself is bigger than it needs to be due to some
> mechanical requirements - the circuit itself is fairly simple.
>

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2003\12\17@072540 by Olin Lathrop

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David Schmidt wrote:
> The http://www.4pcb.com has a great deal on full service, 2sided PCB's for
> $33.00 each.

Yes, it's a good deal, but not really $33 each.  There's a $10 handling fee
they don't tell you about very prominently, and then of course there is
shipping.  I think of it as 3 boards for $120, which is still a good deal
for 80 square inch boards.  If you only need 40 square inches, check out
http://www.eprotos.com.


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2003\12\17@073408 by Chuck Hellebuyck

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ExpressPCB.com does offer Gerber files. You have to ask them and there is a $60 fee. Then you have industry standard Gerbers you can take anywhere. I like it because I can prove out my design cheap and then have the boards made wherever I want.

Bob Barr <EraseMEbbarrspamEraseMECALIFORNIA.COM> wrote:
On Tue, 16 Dec 2003 12:55:19 -0800, Chuck Hellebuyck wrote:

>Matt,
>There have been some great notes on this and I also recommend you learn to lay it out yourself. Another option besides EAGLE is EXPRESSPCB.com.
>The software is free to download and you can get three 2.5"x3.8" non-solder mask, non-silkscreen boards for $59 including shipping.
>I use it often for quick prototypes.
>They now offer 4 layers also but I'm not sure if this is included in the $59 price or not.
>

ExpressPCB's software is proprietary and doesn't produce Gerber files.

Matt already has someone to produce the boards; he just needs to get
from schematic to Gerber files.


Regards, Bob

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2003\12\17@074030 by Chuck Hellebuyck

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I originally thought the same thing but they expanded it a long time ago.
ExpressPCB also offers lower cost solder mask and silkscreen prototypes and production service.
Their solder mask/silkscreen prototypes cost $229 for 5 boards I believe with the following requirements. From there website:
These are the same professional quality, double-sided boards as our Production Service, including the silkscreen and solder masks. To qualify as a ProtoPro board, it must fit in a 21 sq-in rectangle and no dimension can exceed 12". By standardizing on this size, we can offer these boards at a very low fixed price.

Herbert Graf <TakeThisOuTmailinglist.....spamTakeThisOuTFARCITE.NET> wrote:

Very true, that's the main reason I won't even consider them (that and no
solder mask, making them useless for SMT IMHO). What's the point in spending
all that time laying out your board and then having to do it all over again
when you no longer want to go with them. TTYL

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2003\12\17@095021 by Robert Ussery

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Wow!
For a single 100x100mm board, double sided, w/ solder mask and screen
printing, 60 Euro = ~$70 U.S at eurocircuits.com. Not too shabby! I'm not
sure what shipping to the U.S. would be, but that still seems like a pretty
good deal.


- Robert


>-----Original Message-----
>From: pic microcontroller discussion list [spamBeGonePICLIST@spam@spamspam_OUTmitvma.mit.edu]
>On Behalf Of Wouter van Ooijen

>> Who is the least expensive for rapid prototype under Eagle?
>
>two to try: http://www.olimex.com, http://www.eurocircuits.com
>
>Wouter van Ooijen

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2003\12\17@100606 by Wouter van Ooijen
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For one-offs and moderate numbers of (very) small boards I have found
Olimex cheaper (they panelize for free). But beware of their design
limitations. For a moderate number of boards (they do only up to 50) I
have found eurocircuits cheaper. But they ar (much) slower, even though
they are in the next country (Belgium is directly 'below' the
Netherlands).

Wouter van Ooijen

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> {Original Message removed}

2003\12\17@100818 by D. Jay Newman

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> For one-offs and moderate numbers of (very) small boards I have found
> Olimex cheaper (they panelize for free). But beware of their design
> limitations. For a moderate number of boards (they do only up to 50) I
> have found eurocircuits cheaper. But they ar (much) slower, even though
> they are in the next country (Belgium is directly 'below' the
> Netherlands).

I've only had one board made, but they did a great job in a reasonable
amount of time. And the price was great!
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2003\12\17@101232 by Hazelwood Lyle

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>-----Original Message-----
>From: Robert Ussery [@spam@uavscienceRemoveMEspamEraseMEFRII.COM]
>Sent: Wednesday, December 17, 2003 9:49 AM
>To: EraseMEPICLISTspam@spam@MITVMA.MIT.EDU
>Subject: Re: [EE:] Board Design Cost
>
>
>Wow!
>For a single 100x100mm board, double sided, w/ solder mask and screen
>printing, 60 Euro = ~$70 U.S at eurocircuits.com. Not too shabby! I'm not
>sure what shipping to the U.S. would be, but that still seems like a pretty
>good deal.
>
>
>- Robert

As was mentioned, Olimex is also a great choice.
I just received four boards from them last week.
The price and quality were both excellent. They are
also willing to panelize smaller Eagle files for you,
and will accept native Eagle format if you wish.

The only downside I had was that the cheapest method
was Air Mail, estimated at 10-18 days, ended up taking
a full 30 days from the day Olimex shipped them out.
Next time, I'll pay a bit more for faster delivery.

I'm not an expert, this was only the third time I've had boards made. I am impressed with the low prices and high quality. Thumbs up from this customer.

My affiliation with Olimex is only that of a satisfied
customer. This is an unsolicited and uncompensated testimonial. Void where prohibited, your mileage may vary. 8^)

Lyle Hazelwood

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2003\12\17@101233 by Herbert Graf

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That's still WAY more expensive then some of their competitors. Again, their
"locking you in" is just to much for me to take. TTYL

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> {Original Message removed}

2003\12\17@101646 by Bob Ammerman

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> Wow!
> For a single 100x100mm board, double sided, w/ solder mask and screen
> printing, 60 Euro = ~$70 U.S at eurocircuits.com. Not too shabby! I'm not
> sure what shipping to the U.S. would be, but that still seems like a
pretty
> good deal.
>
>
> - Robert
>

For a single 100x**160**mm board, double sided, w/solder mask and screen
printing, $26US at http://www.olimex.com. Mind boggling! Airmail shipping to the US
is $8, so it seems like an incredible deal.

Bob Ammerman
RAm Systems

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2003\12\17@102722 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> For a single 100x**160**mm board, double sided, w/solder mask
> and screen
> printing, $26US at http://www.olimex.com. Mind boggling! Airmail
> shipping to the US
> is $8, so it seems like an incredible deal.

And that includes panelization: just send them a bunch of eagle .brd
files and tell them how tow arrange those boards in the 100x160 panel!

But a few bewares: they charge extra for 'extra' holes, use of
non-standard drills, silkscreen-fixup for < 10 lines. And they want a
signed order form faxed with your credit card details. Faxing to
Bulgaria is horrible, so now I just scan the document and email the
.gif.

Wouter van Ooijen

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2003\12\17@105032 by D. Jay Newman

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> For a single 100x**160**mm board, double sided, w/solder mask and screen
> printing, $26US at http://www.olimex.com. Mind boggling! Airmail shipping to the US
> is $8, so it seems like an incredible deal.

*And* they do free panelization!
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2003\12\17@125428 by Johnathan Corgan

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Olin Lathrop wrote:

>David Schmidt wrote:
>
>
>>The http://www.4pcb.com has a great deal on full service, 2sided PCB's for
>>$33.00 each.
>>
>>
>
>Yes, it's a good deal, but not really $33 each.  There's a $10 handling fee
>they don't tell you about very prominently, and then of course there is
>shipping.  I think of it as 3 boards for $120, which is still a good deal
>for 80 square inch boards.  If you only need 40 square inches, check out
>http://www.eprotos.com.
>
>
I've only used the $33 each service twice (both within the last two
months), but neither time was there a $10 handling fee--$99 for teh
boards plus about $14 shipping.

-Johnathan

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2003\12\17@230749 by BJR

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I thought the guy was looking for somebody to lay out the board for him.
I believe he said he had a friend to make the boards for him .

confused.


> For one-offs and moderate numbers of (very) small boards I have found
> Olimex cheaper (they panelize for free). >

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