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 Forum index » DIY Hardware and Software
Custom PCB manufacturing suggestions
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numbernone



Joined: Aug 16, 2006
Posts: 477
Location: new york city

PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 8:04 am    Post subject: Custom PCB manufacturing suggestions Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Could anyone provide a few suggestions for PCB manufacturers that can do SMALL runs (10pcs) in the US??? I have googled a plenty and everyone seems about the same. Biggest problem for me seems to be wanting to use the exact trace layout of the board i want to copy, it is old and very unmodern. I dont want to convert it into any new fangled CAD grid format. i want to avoid melting off my skin making them at home but will do so if no good alternative presents itself.

thanks!
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jksuperstar



Joined: Aug 20, 2004
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

First, welcome
to electro-music.com!

I've used Advanced PCB in the past, but only because they ran a special that was $25 setup + 10cents per square inch. Haven't seen that special since, and it seems the going rate now is roughly 25c/in^2. If you're board is small enough, you could get one of those deals that are 3 boards for $33 ea, and put at least 3 copies on each, then cut them apart when you get them. Those can be pretty large PCBs, at 60in^2 IIRC.

Otherwise, if you can't find the tool to convert you're old layout, doing a small run of 10 at home isn't too much of a hastle. There's lots of info on the web doing it yourself, and there's a few links here at e-m too:
http://electro-music.com/forum/viewtopic.php?highlight=pcb+photo&t=6542
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State Machine
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I use these folks at Express PCB. They do very nice work and they look REAL professional! I use them now at work and at home for my projects!

http://www.expresspcb.com/

Here is an oscillator board I just layed out and got it back in 3 days !! They provide a schematic & PCB layout software package that not too bad for free!


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deknow



Joined: Sep 15, 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

...i've also used expresspcb, and was very happy with the price, quality, and speed of delivery. unfortunately for your needs, it does require a cad layout.

deknow
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jksuperstar



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Is it expresspcb that allows you to export your BOM directly to digikey for an order?
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bigtex



Joined: Mar 30, 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2006 1:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

In the past I've used PCB Express and I've gotten great results. Depending on the size of your boards, they are sometimes the cheapest. They have two sister companies, PCB Pro and PCB 123. PCB Pro will do larger quantity production runs and also consult on board design and testing. PCB 123 provides free CAD software from which you place your orders.

Express PCB also provides free CAD software that you can order from. The problem with using these is, of course, that your design is tied to their service. But I've used PCB123 and they also have a good result. In fact, all of the many board houses I've used in the past have produced a find product, so it's probably hard to go wrong.

It doesn't look like any of these companies do component stuffing, but I know what jksuperstar is talking about. I know I've seen companies before that do the whole deal, PCB making, board stuffing, electrical testing, etc. But that would cost a little more...

Futurlec also does PCB manufacturing, and is very cheap for small runs, but expect to wait a month or more. Futurlec has an amazing selection of cheap and wonderful things, but they can be sloooooooow. Then again, I've also gotten orders from them quickly. Really inconsistant. I just checked their page, and apparently they do offer board assembly service. They also claim a fast turnaround time.... so... well maybe.
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jksuperstar



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2006 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Olimex is a European company. I haven't used them, ut have bought a kit or 2 from them.The home page is wierd, have to scroll down on the home page. They also provide the boards for the Open EEG project, and they get good results (Olimex page for it here).
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State Machine
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2006 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
Is it expresspcb that allows you to export your BOM directly to digikey for an order?


Hi JK,

Hmmm, I don't recall being able to do that but I do know that lots of the parts are tied into Digi-Key part numbers and you can export a BOM. I would guess YES you most likely can.

Bill
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State Machine
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2006 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I have seen this PCB house advertised in the trades lately and they seem like they are very reasonably priced. Be warned though, the site is written in bad english at points.

They accept many PCB file types including the Eagle software's CAD tools. Here are the two sites for them.

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

http://www.cadsoft.de/

Bill
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