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'[EE]: surface mount boards'
2002\07\12@143531 by Bob Japundza

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Hi Folks,
Could someone give me a good source for having boards built with surface-mount components?  I'm sort-of looking for a pcb-express type of company that also does assembly.  I have a design that I have finalized and am wanting to make it much more compact, use plcc-mount pic's, surface-mount components, etc.  What is the going rate for having stuff like this done?  I assume there are setup fees, etc.  Would this be too prohibitively expensive to do a proto run of say 10 boards?
Thanks!
Bob

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2002\07\12@145302 by John Dammeyer

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Hi,

There are several costs associated with having circuit boards done with
automation.

1. You need a paste mask screen made.  If your circuit board
manufacturer has panellized your Gerber he can provide the Gerber for
the paste screen to the board stuffer.  If you do the penalization
yourself then you should make sure you include the paste layer when you
make your Gerbers.  The board stuffer usually takes care of getting the
screen made to fit his frame.

2. Digikey strips of 100 are not the best for autoplacement because you
lose the first 20 to 30 parts from the leader or feed mechanism.
Generally the board stuffers give you those in a small bag.  That
implies that you should buy parts in 1K to 5K and suddenly that small
project becomes really expensive or at least expect to lose the first
part of a strip.  Where it gets expensive is if they have to install 5
extra components by hand.

3. It doesn't take long to stuff a board and whether it's $1 or $100 you
pay a setup cost.  Over 100 boards that may only be $2 per board.  I'll
let you d the math.

In addition to the machine setup charge there is usually a one time
engineering cost for programming the pick and place machine.  That cost
is often waved if the board run is large enough.

5. Reflowed surface mount boards are a thing of beauty compared to hand
assembled.  I'm always amazed at how little solder it takes to hold the
components.

6. If you are doing 10 boards,  figure out what your costs per hour are,
or what you could earn during that time (if you can earn extra during
that time) and weigh it against automation.

We have a small garage size operation here on Vancouver Island that does
good work.

Regards,

John Dammeyer


Wireless CAN with the CANRF module.
www.autoartisans.com/documents/canrf_prod_announcement.pdf
Automation Artisans Inc.
Ph. 1 250 544 4950


> {Original Message removed}

2002\07\12@145518 by Brendan Moran

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I know of one company that did 10 board proto runs for PMC Sierra for
something like $20,000.  I expect that you'd need to pay less since
your boads are probably smaller and not mil spec.  You probably also
don't care as much about turn-around time, which should lower the
cost.

I may be exaggerating a bit here (I remember that figure from 2 years
ago, when I was working at said company), but you do need to look at
what is actually involved in doing a PCB run.

First, you have to get a solder stencil made for your SMT pads.  That
stencil then has to be aligned and mounted in a solder paste machine,
and the control systems for said machine need to be aligned for your
board.

Next you move to one of the high-speed component placement systems
for all the smaller SMT devices.  This machine has to be programmed
with something more complex than a CNC program, and it too has to be
aligned for your board, with the small dots in the corners for board
alignment.

Third, for all your larger SMT devices, a pick&place machine has to
be programmed with something very similar to a CNC program. It too
has to be aligned properly.

The boards go from there to an oven, and that's the end of it, if you
have a SMT only board.  If not, there are several more steps for the
Through hole components.  I won't go into that now, unless someone
has a burning desire to have the intricacies of PCB assembly
explained, but I expect you see where I'm going with this.

Usually, for running any kind of automated PCB assembly, the costs
are high, unless you want several hundred.

Perhaps others here have other experiences, and by no means should
you stop here with my thoughts only.  Try finding more info for
yourself, I'd be interested to hear about a cheaper source if you do
find one (I no longer have any affiliation with the above mentioned
company).

One thing that may help you is this:  Most PCB assembly companies
will take care of sourcing the PCBs, I believe.  By that I meant that
if you get an assembly house to produce your finished boards, chances
are that you will just need to find a generic assembly company, and
they'll get the boards for you as part of the contract.

- --Brendan


- {Original Message removed}

2002\07\12@150748 by Brendan Moran

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> I know of one company that did 10 board proto runs for PMC Sierra
> for something like $20,000.  I expect that you'd need to pay less
> since your boads are probably smaller and not mil spec.  You
> probably also don't care as much about turn-around time, which
> should lower the
> cost.

PMC Sierra board runs are probably not a good example.  I expect that
that cost is way out of proportion.  They expectted something like
4-day turnarounds, with complex 6+ layer boards, done to mil spec
with expensive components.

Consequently they paid a premium.  I suggest you ignore that example,
and keep looking.

As to the various setups I listed, you'll notice that John listed
much the same ones.  He's probably a fair bit closer in the realms of
price.  Stick with his info.

- --Brendan

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2002\07\12@153729 by Dave King
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>We have a small garage size operation here on Vancouver Island that does
>good work.
>
>Regards,
>
>John Dammeyer

Hi John

Can you recommend any of the shops for doing through hole and smt (future
version)?
Just curious if you can point any out before I work my way through telus...;-]

Tnx

Dave

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2002\07\12@154741 by John Dammeyer

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On the Island here they do through hole too but not automated I think.
On the mainland I don't remember the name of the company.  I think it
was Link Technologies but I am not sure.  There are probably others
since Vancouver is kind of large.

John


Wireless CAN with the CANRF module.
www.autoartisans.com/documents/canrf_prod_announcement.pdf
Automation Artisans Inc.
Ph. 1 250 544 4950


> {Original Message removed}

2002\07\12@164654 by Bob Barr

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On Fri, 12 Jul 2002 13:32:03 -0500, Bob Japundza wrote:

>Hi Folks,
>
>Could someone give me a good source for having boards built with surface-mount components? <snip>
>
I'm not sure about surface mount but you might want to check with the
folks at http://www.olimex.com

They do board fab and contract assembly somewhere in Eastern Europe.
The owner (I can never remember his name, Tstevan(sp?)) is frequently
on the piclist. While I can't give a first-hand recommendation, I've
seen several posters indicate that they do good work at good prices.


Regards, Bob

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