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Old 19th January 2013, 06:08 PM   #1
Baldin is offline Baldin  Denmark
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Default Dirt cheap prototype PCB manufactory

Dear all

I usually use Olimex for prototype PCBs, but they have now stopped this service

Lookin for another good and cheap manufactor, I found imall on the net:
PCB prototyping

They even make 4 layer boards real cheap

Has anyone tried them, and had good experience??

Kind regards Baldin
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Old 19th January 2013, 06:16 PM   #2
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https://www.seeedstudio.com/
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Old 19th January 2013, 07:05 PM   #3
Baldin is offline Baldin  Denmark
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Looks like very similar service (maybe they are using imall, ormaybe both imall and seed uses the same third party).
Have you actually tried seed?
And what is your experience?
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Old 19th January 2013, 07:22 PM   #4
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seeed is fine, they order their PCBs from the same factory as imall AFAIK. seeed gives you free shipping on 50$+ orders.
A week of actual turnaround (excluding shipping), easy ordering process and cheap shipping makes the seeed my number one.
The PCBs are fine too.
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Old 19th January 2013, 08:06 PM   #5
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Why not make your own boards ? its cheap
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Old 19th January 2013, 08:25 PM   #6
SyBorg is offline SyBorg  United States
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I have used many different prototype and production board services over many years. Right now, I am using OSH Park for my prototype boards:
OSH Park ~ Welcome

Great quality of board, easy to submit designs (I just click to upload the Eagle Board file). All the boards come in the funky purple color, which is OK for me. Pricing is very reasonable, $5 per square inch includes 3 copies of the board and free shipping in the USA. (eg 3 copies of a 4 sq-in board costs $20 including shipping).

The downside is the long turnaround time. They are a hobby group buy operation, so they add your design to others that come in until they get a full panel. In my experience, they run 2 or 3 panels a week of 2-layer boards. You upload a design and it is assigned to the next panel. The panel then goes to fab. I have seen anywhere from 10 to 20 calendar days for the panel to come back from fab. Then they snap apart the panel and mail it to you. Total turnaround from the time you upload the design until panels arrive to you is usually about 3 weeks. This is fine for my DIY Audio stuff, but not for my business.

For boards I do for my business, I have used mostly Advanced Circuits in Colorado:
PCB Manufacturer in Aurora Colorado Manufacturing Annular Ring, Printed Circuit Board Fabrication, Printed Circuit Boards, PCB Prototype Circuit Board's
Not cheap, but ultra-reliable. Prototype boards come in about a week, and work out to about $150 for 4 boards (regardless of size). I use nothing but Advanced Circuits for production runs (learned my lesson years ago on this one).

I have also used Our PCB for prototype boards, especially of they are not standard for some reason (thicker boards, 2oz copper, etc):
PCB Manufacturing | PCB Assembling & Components Procurement Service
Boards come in just over a week. Pricing depends on size. There is a $90 setup fee per order (first run of boards only), then after that figure about $5 per board. The quality is very good, but not perfect like Advanced Circuits.
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Old 19th January 2013, 10:48 PM   #7
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I test for a contract manufacturer of fully assembled PCBs. But still would get
my DIY from Silicon Ray. Just saying, I know of what I speak. His stuff is not
best I've ever seen, but still way better than what little you might pay for it.

Guys I work for are way too expensive. Unless you needed something built and
tested entirely in the US for whatever reason, in three to five days. Then only,
maybe we make Dollars sense. I remember having pulled a one day miracle on
at least one or two occasions...

For my own purposes: I could never afford anything we've made. Unless it was
an EVM subsidised by someone willing to take a loss to promote some new part.

Last edited by kenpeter; 19th January 2013 at 10:54 PM.
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Old 20th January 2013, 07:30 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baldin View Post
Dear all

I usually use Olimex for prototype PCBs, but they have now stopped this service

Lookin for another good and cheap manufactor, I found imall on the net:
PCB prototyping

They even make 4 layer boards real cheap

Has anyone tried them, and had good experience??

Kind regards Baldin
I have tried them for the very first time and Im just waiting for the boards to arrive now. It took them exactly one week to ship the boards. I did use DHL so I think I will receive it in a few days.

There is a review and comments here that you might find useful :

Seeed Studio vs ITead Studio PCB service head to head | Dangerous Prototypes

I will probably use seeed next time as they sell more interesting stuff than istead.
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Old 21st January 2013, 02:43 PM   #9
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Just got the board an hour ago, and its perfect, Im well pleased with the quality and service.

So it went like this :

11/1/13 - Placed the order
18/1/13 - Got a message saying PCB have left China.
21/1/13 - Got a message saying PCB will be delivered today.

That is 1 week and 3 days from China to UK. Considering we have bad weather right now too, that is amazing.
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Old 21st January 2013, 06:13 PM   #10
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I use Seeed Fusion all the time. Many of my boards are 2 inch x 2 inch (5 cm), so I get 10 boards, double sided, shipped for $14. Who else can do that?

The quality is good, but expect the boards to take 2-4 weeks to arrive.

Why is this in Class D?
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Last edited by Redshift187; 21st January 2013 at 06:16 PM.
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