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Old 16th February 2008, 11:28 PM   #1
phrarod is offline phrarod  United States
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Default need a rec of a company in SoCal that can make PC boards

I have a design I want to turn into a board. Does anyone know of company that can do a nice job (thick copper traces, etc) in Southern Cal - Los Angeles, etc?

Appreciate the help.
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Old 17th February 2008, 04:24 AM   #2
gootee is offline gootee  United States
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The best place I've ever used is http://www.4pcb.com , a place called Advanced Circuits. It's not quite in SoCal. But it's kinda close.

Both quality and service have been superb! The boards are absolutely gorgeous!

It's also a VERY easy place to get boards made, for someone who's never done it before. It could actually be done successfully and well, the very first time, without ever even emailing or talking to anyone there.

Definitely use their freeDFM on-line utility, until no manufacturability errors are returned. Also make sure you look carefully at the PDF images of each layer that will be included in the results that are emailed to you. Then, when it's all OK, you can order directly from the HTML price quote file that also gets automatically emailed back to you, with the freeDFM results.

ALSO, in the price quote that comes with the results, make SURE that you play with changing (increasing) the quantities. You can usually get 20 (or even 50 or 100) boards made for not much more money than 5 boards!

Note, too, that there was no charge for things like 'too many hole sizes', and, actually, no hole size limitation (except for some tiny absolute-minimum size, I think). I could specify ANY hole sizes I wanted. They must use a CNC laser to 'drill' them, or something.

If you have several different boards, you can put them all on one layout and cut them apart, yourself, later, if you really need to save money.

I always got them with soldermask, silkscreen, etc, and always used the 'prototype' options. So the minimum was usually a few hundred $. But I always wanted at least 20 copies or more, which only raised the total price about $20, compared to 5 boards. Anyway, I think they usually have some kind of 'barebones' specials, too, that are much cheaper. But it's been quite a while since I've been to their site.

Even if you don't order from them, the freeDFM results are really great to have.

ALTERNATIVELY, if they're just single or double sided, you could make them yourself, in about an hour, using the procedure I have here: http://www.fullnet.com/~tomg/gooteepc.htm . But, if you're going to do that for a 2-sided board for through-hole components, NOTE that without PTH (Plated-Through Holes), you would have to plan ahead and add vias to connect the top and bottom layers, wherever they need to be connected but where one side would not be accessible for soldering, e.g. underneath a chip socket, or a switch, et al.
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Old 17th February 2008, 04:28 AM   #3
phrarod is offline phrarod  United States
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Thanks Tom. I'll check them out.
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