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PICList Thread
'[OT]: PCB Houses'
2002\01\11@154508 by Tim McDonough

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I'm looking for recommendations for a prototype board house that does
reasonable quality PCBs at decent prices.

- US Based as that's where I'm located
- I'd prefer not to have to use their layout software so the transition to
production is easier
- 1-2 week turnaround is okay most of the time.

Thanks,

Tim

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2002\01\11@175613 by Lawrence Lile

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Just 6 months ago I did a little study on PCB houses.  Got quotes from 6 or
7 that advertised themselves as prototype houses.  For prototype quantities
(3-10 boards) there are two PCB houses that are hard to beat:

Advanced Circuits  in Colorado
http://www.4pcb.com/

and

AP circuits in Alberta
http://www.apcircuits.com/

They both will do larger quantities as well as prototype quantities.  AP
circuits has a "Proto1" service that is a very simple rectangular board with
no soldermask, no silkscreen, and is very cheap.  Advanced circuits is more
flexible offerring silkscreen, soldermaks, gold plating, any shape you want
and all manner of other options.  Both of them will do overnight processing
($$$$$$), 2 day turns ($$$) 3 day turns ($) or longer turns.  I usually get
3 day turns, the price bottoms out about there.  Advanced will also accept
orders on Friday and get them to you by Monday.  If either house finds even
the slightest problem with your Gerbers, they email you immediately and
start calling you.  They are both very responsive and reliable.  I've had
other PCB houses lose my jobs, take weeks to do a 3-day turn, and so on.
These guys aren't perfect, but they do hustle and they communicate plenty.

I use Advanced Circuits, others like AP, I've used them both and both are
good.  Either one takes Gerber output in a zipfile, from any PCB program,
and I think they both have online automated quotes.  I never seem to get
away without spending $100-$150 no matter how many or few boards I buy.
Nobody else can touch these prices.  I surveyed about 6 Proto houses, and
all the others quoted $300-$400 for a job Advanced and AP quoted at less
than $120.

You gotta have a credit card to do business with either house.  Unless you
can buy $500 of prototypes a month, niether house will set up a business
account with you.

--Lawrence Lile



{Original Message removed}

2002\01\12@234549 by Andrew Verhoeven

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I second the use of Alberta Printed circuits, I've only used the P1 service.
 They've printed me about 10 different designs -  as I'm usually up late
before sending the files off, I have made a few tracks close together, and
other minor mistakes.  If it raises AP's concern they phone me and I've
either sent a new file, or they alter the gerber.

I like the Tin Mismuth traces.

Andrew




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