Cheap PCB places

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Cheap PCB places

Postby toalan2001 » Thu Jun 04, 2009 8:28 pm

PCB is a fact of life for prototyping.

I always shop around for the best quality and price for PCB fabrication, so far here are the ones I like to use:

Myropcb.com, for small number of prototypes then are not the best price, for anything more than 10 or so they offer the best price. For large volume they also offer the best price. Specs are really good for the price you pay; 6 mil trace, 6 mil spacing, 12 mil holes. Quality is above average. This is my fav place to deal with. Shipping is quick, usually 10 days.

goldpheonixpcb, they offer great deal for their 155sq inch special, if you can make use of all the space then they are probably the cheapest for protos. Specs are ok, 7mil trace, 7 mil spacing, 15mil hole. Quality is average, shipping is about 10 days.

pcbfabexpress, they offer great specials. specs are good but I forget what they are exactly but they are same/similar to myro. Quality of the board is the best. They nickle and dime you over stupid stuff like too many vias and crap like that. shipping is about 10 days. I would use them more often but their shipping is too expensive outside of USA. They also like to call you out of the blue to drum up business.

batchpcb, for single prototypes they are bar none the cheapest place on the planet. I can get a single proto for like $25 bucks including shipping. Specs are not very good; 8 mil trace, 8 mil spacing, 20 mil holes. Delivery time is long, I waited a month for my last board. PSOC QFN pads are 7mil apart so you can not use them for qfn devices. For SMD designs where space is critical, they are not a good choice, but for throughhole stuff they are great.

Overall Myro is my fav, for protos they are not cheapest but they still offer competitive pricing along with excellent specs. I also use them for high volume stuff, so I am willing to pay a few bucks more for protos and not have to deal with someone else. Batchpcb is my 2nd fav, for jobs where high density is not an issue and I am not in a hurry, I use them. Between those 2 places, most of my bases are covered.

If anyone is interested, I can post info about making PCB at home for dirt cheap, I no longer do it as I would rather pay batch pcb $25 to make my boards for me. I also have a CNC machine that I plan on using to make protos, but it takes alot of work to set it up correctly.
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Re: Cheap PCB places

Postby baxsie » Fri Jun 05, 2009 10:18 am

I have had good luck with http://www.pcb4u.com They have a $10 for 10 proto special with $10 shipping. Two weeks and $110 after placing the order I get PCBs. (two layer, solder mask both sides, silkscreen top only)

We have also had good luck with MyroPCB. Here is a Pretty PCB Myro makes for us:

http://www.crystalfontz.com/product/CFA10006#photos

(you can zoom in on the second two pictures to see detail)
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Re: Cheap PCB places

Postby toalan2001 » Fri Jun 05, 2009 10:37 am

What are the specs for pcb4u?

BTW your prices on high volume color TFT displays are pretty sweet.
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Re: Cheap PCB places

Postby baxsie » Fri Jun 05, 2009 2:22 pm

From the PCB4u site:
Specs: FR4, 0.062",1 Oz Cu., Smt pitch minimum 0.025", smallest hole 0.015", all Plated holes, smallest trace/space 0.007", Green LPI Mask, White Top Silkscreen, Individual board with Single circuit design and No Multiple images of boards.
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Re: Cheap PCB places

Postby BitBangerB » Wed Jul 01, 2009 10:44 am

expresspcb.com (not to be confused with pcbexpress) gives you free schematic capture and layout software that is easy to master. I have used them several times for one-of-kind and special test jig boards (so I can route microscopic pins to ones that I can see). Their miniboard service will set you back a mere $59 with shipping (for 3 boards) if you can fit your design into their strict format. I can testify to their ease of use, competitive price, fast turnaround, and quality results. The catch is that their tools only work with their service. They also offer production service, but I imagine that may not be the most economical (depending on scale). For prototyping however, they cannot be beat.

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Re: Cheap PCB places

Postby MikeJensen22 » Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:35 am

I've had pretty good luck with E-TekNet
http://www.e-teknet.com/

Their volume pricing isn't bad either.
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Re: Cheap PCB places

Postby toalan2001 » Thu Aug 27, 2009 2:00 pm

I also hear good things about olimex, specs look good and pricing is great for protos. I will have to give them a try and see if they can knock off Myro as my fav PCB place.
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Re: Cheap PCB places

Postby toalan2001 » Wed Nov 11, 2009 7:35 pm

I gave PCBPOOL a try, they are offering free SMD stencils with every PCB order and I wanted one for the 56 pin QFN package. Pricing on 4 PCBs were competitive with other places. I got the boards, wow they look fantastic. The PCB has a matte+silk looking finish, they have this special tinning that is also matte and matches the boards finish. With the special tinning, the pads are super duper flat, flatter than using normal tin finish. The special tinning might be a bit too thin as I noticed that on one of my big pads, the tinning did not cover it 100%. From an aesthetic point of view they look like the best quality of boards I have ever gotten, however the silkscreen is below par, for fine text it is impossible to read.

I soldered up 1 board and have not run into any problems with the PCB. It is also worth mentioning that their online ordering system is very good. Their shipping is the most reasonable of any place I have used, they have an option of using USPS for ~ $10.

I called them twice and the phone got picked up, but it was just a general secretary, she forwarded me to the PCB guy but both times I got voicemail. I think the technical staff is located outside of USA so they are are at home sleeping when I am working. Email support is quite good, I had an issue with a hole cutting a track, they emailed me and I asked them to not drill the hole, they did not charge me extra for modifying the pcb.

For 5 -10 pcs I will give my business to PCBPOOL, for higher quantity I will stick with MyroPCB.
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Re: Cheap PCB places

Postby jf1452 » Fri Nov 13, 2009 12:00 am

For those based in the UK, I recommend www.spiritcircuits.com. They offer a service called "Go Naked" which gives you a one off prototype for free, but bear in mind that the board will have no solder resist, and may not be cut to the shape you require. Their quantity prices work out a lot cheaper than PCBPool.
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Re: Cheap PCB places

Postby DavidCary » Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:37 am

I find the seeedstudio.com "Depot: open source hardware store" a fascinating idea. I'm thinking about posting some of my hobby prototype PCBs there. What do you think about it?

I made a list of PCB fabricators that includes a few bits of information useful to PCB designers: preferred trace widths, trace spacings, via diameters, etc. Please help me keep this list of PCB places up-to-date:
http://opencircuits.com/PCB_Manufacturers
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Re: Cheap PCB places

Postby toalan2001 » Mon Dec 07, 2009 2:56 pm

seedstudio looks great, the specs are really nice; 6 mil space/trace, 10mil drill. Thanks for the post, I will give them a try
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Re: Cheap PCB places

Postby cyberstudio » Fri Jan 08, 2010 5:00 pm

I have the pleasure of prototyping 0.5mm pitch BGA's. Only 12 pins (4 x 3) and the whole chip is 2mm x 1.5mm small. Where on earth would I be able to find a prototype PCB fabricator which would make a 4 layer board with micro vias which let me gain access to the crucial 2 inner balls?
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Re: Cheap PCB places

Postby cyberstudio » Wed Jan 13, 2010 3:17 pm

My woes dissipated as my electronic rep dropped off a development board with the said BGA soldered on and I hacked the dev board into my prototype.

Now who should I use for the real production run of about 200? I am not looking for the cheapest at all - it is all too easy to be penny-wise pound foolish. What I want is for the boards to actually work, reliable, durable and a very low rejection rate. I am ethnically Chinese and would have no difficulties communicating with a vendor in China, but it can be hard to find the rare one with an emphasis on quality instead of on cut-throat pricing.
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Re: Cheap PCB places

Postby anita » Fri Oct 01, 2010 2:33 am

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Re: Cheap PCB places

Postby christineb1979 » Mon Nov 08, 2010 6:16 pm

What is the Specs of PCB? Thank you...
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Re: Cheap PCB places

Postby calvinchloe » Tue Jan 25, 2011 4:33 am

spirit circuits and protoexpress are nice for PCB work. Any other recommendations?
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Re: Cheap PCB places

Postby Grace56 » Fri Jan 28, 2011 1:34 am

www.milkhoneyland.com/ has also cheap electronics products. Cheap PCBs are available there. This would be a good start if you're a beginner in electronics.
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Re: Cheap PCB places

Postby bosxz » Tue Apr 26, 2011 4:59 pm

Can i ask what is the Spec of PCB?
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Re: Cheap PCB places

Postby jonpry » Sun Jun 19, 2011 9:55 am

http://www.hightechproto.com has some really cheap prototype boards for non time critical applications. They have 8 layer and 4 mil drill specials if you have one of those nasty .5mm bga's or whatever.
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Re: Cheap PCB places

Postby toalan2001 » Mon Jul 18, 2011 8:21 pm

In my most recent experience there are 3 candidates competing for the king of cheap PCB places

http://dorkbotpdx.org/wiki/pcb_order

http://iteadstudio.com/

http://www.seeedstudio.com/depot/

http://iteadstudio.com/store/

seeed and itead are the same company (90% sure of that) so the quality is the same, both places are of average quality, more than good enough for prototyping, not sure if I would use them in mission critical stuff for long term.

seed and itead offer 10 pcs but have caveats based on size.

Dork quality is superb, I was blown away with their quality, but you get only 3 pcs.

Depending on the size of your PCB and the number of boards you need, each place has it's appeal. I am guessing that the average pcb order from either of the 3 places will be ~$30 with shipping included, can not go wrong with a price like that.
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