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Old 9th April 2008, 05:31 AM   #1
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Default Cheap US PCB Fab house

What's the latest on low cost PCB fab houses in the US? I'm currently laying out a board or two and would like to make sure I don't violate any design constraints they may have.

Thanks!
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Old 9th April 2008, 07:00 AM   #2
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You may try www.4pcb.com
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Old 9th April 2008, 12:05 PM   #3
dfdye is offline dfdye  United States
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I'll second that. Assuming you have a large enough board, their $33 specials are great. I just got some boards back from them, and their quality is top notch. (oh, and Advanced circuits is VERY flexible regarding design rules, and they have a free design check service for you to check your Gerbers prior to ordering so you know if you goofed.)

Alternately, BWRX just ordered some parts from www.pcbex.com, so you may want to ask him how they turned out. For smaller parts PCBEX looked to be a little cheaper, but I personally don't have any experience with them.
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Old 9th April 2008, 04:10 PM   #4
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Thanks for the input! It's just what I was looking for.
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Old 9th April 2008, 04:45 PM   #5
BWRX is offline BWRX  United States
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PCBEX has their boards made over in China and ships them to you 2 day Fed Ex. I ordered from them before and the quality is great and the prices are fair. If you have more than one project per board they will charge a $50 panelization fee. I don't like the extra fee, but it seems fair to me.

Advanced has board houses in the US, which is why they're more expensive. Expresspcb has board houses in the US (I think) but you have to use their software to order boards from them. There are lots of other pcb "manufacturers" in the US that will just take your design and have it made over in China.
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Old 9th April 2008, 06:28 PM   #6
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Thanks Brian. It sounds like PCBEX is worth a try.

In general, when they say $33 per board do they give you a panel's worth so it's 33xnumber/panel? That could add up, particularly for smaller boards!

If that's the way they do it then it would be worth the panelization fee and I'll hold off until I get the other designs completed.

If that's not how they charge, let me know.
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Old 9th April 2008, 08:32 PM   #7
BWRX is offline BWRX  United States
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Advanced does the same thing as pcbex if you have more than project per board, which is charge you a $50 fee. For the $33 per board price it looks like they will not do scoring and the maximum board size you can get is 60 sq.in. PCBEX will do v-scoring so you can separate the individual boards and they have pricing that varies with board size.
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Old 9th April 2008, 10:14 PM   #8
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Thanks. I guess what I was wanting to know is, do you ask for x number of boards or do they just put up a panel or half panel and charge you for whatever yield they get?

In other words, if I want 5 boards is it 5 x 33 or do they charge for what ever fits. If eight fit on a sub panel would they just ship me eight and charge accordingly.

The last company I worked with did that. I asked for three and they sent seven and charged appropriately.

Just curious.
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Old 9th April 2008, 10:20 PM   #9
dfdye is offline dfdye  United States
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For Advanced, it is $33.00 * #of boards ordered. They don't care about yield.
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Old 9th April 2008, 11:00 PM   #10
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Excellent!
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