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'[EE]/[OT]: Cheap PCB production in small quantiti'
2003\01\18@172845 by Gies Family

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What's the cheapest place that I can get a good-quality custom PCB from, and
how much would those of you who have PCB-making stuff charge?

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2003\01\18@225147 by PicDude

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Very, very vague question.  The answer, if a single one
exists, depends upon a number of factors -- board size,
layers, thru-hole or SMT, routing, scoring, turnaround
time, quantity, thru-plating, etc, etc, etc will all
affect the decision as to who is the best for that
particular app.

I experimented with this using some assumed answers for the
above and spreadsheeted (spreadshat?) the results for
various quantities.  What I found is some were better for
certain values, but the best company changed as quantities
increased.  Everyone has their specialty.

Cheers,
-Neil




Gies Family wrote:
>
> What's the cheapest place that I can get a good-quality custom
> PCB from, and
> how much would those of you who have PCB-making stuff charge?

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2003\01\18@230224 by Gies Family

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> board size,

Less than 6 sq. in.

> layers,

The way most standard PC boards are (single or two layer, can't remember
what they call it)

> thru-hole or SMT,

Never shall I stain my fingers with the evils of SMT.

> routing,

Just predrilled holes for leads.

> scoring,

Why would one score a PCB?

> turnaround time,

When it's done.

> quantity,

As I said, very small.

> thru-plating,

I don't know.

> I experimented with this using some assumed answers for the
> above and spreadsheeted (spreadshat?) the results for
> various quantities.  What I found is some were better for
> certain values, but the best company changed as quantities
> increased.  Everyone has their specialty.

Oh, yes, keep the name of "the best company" secret, why don't you.
:rolleyes:.

Tell me, please to ask.

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2003\01\19@000801 by Josh Koffman

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Comments within.

Gies Family wrote:
> > layers,
>
> The way most standard PC boards are (single or two layer, can't remember
> what they call it)

Well, single and double sided are both pretty standard. You really need
to decide which. They are pretty straightforward, a single sided has
copper on one side, while a double sided has copper on, you guessed it,
two sides. For my proof of concept boards (which I make myself) I use
single sided, as it's easier for me. The downside is that the boards
usually need at least a handful of wire jumpers. As well, I need to make
the boards a bit bigger to accomodate all the traces I can on one side.
A double sided board might end up a bit smaller. If a board house is
going to charge you for double sided, might as well use it, I'd say.

> Never shall I stain my fingers with the evils of SMT.

Why not? Admittedly, I have never done much SMT, so I may change my mind
on this at some point. I am edging closer to my first SMT board (if only
i could get my stupid proof of concept board working!). I will likely be
using my home made hot air tool and solder paste. I will be doing a
bunch of practicing on dead boards before i try to solder a QFP 18f452!

> > scoring,
>
> Why would one score a PCB?

If you had a bunch of small boards you needed, you could "panelize" them
onto a larger physical board to save costs. Scoring would help cut them
out in the end. I am sure there are other reasons too.

> > thru-plating,
>
> I don't know.

You would want through plated holes if you had a double sided board.
They join the traces on one side of the board with the traces on another
side. These can either be at the actual component lead, or in the middle
of the board, often called a via.

> Oh, yes, keep the name of "the best company" secret, why don't you.
> :rolleyes:.

I think what he meant was that if you clarified your needs a bit, he
could help you figure out which is best.

Hope this helps,

Josh
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