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DIY Guide To PCB Board Fabricators

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In light of the new board houses that have arisen lately, the article becomes a good point of reference.


I think these points still ring true.


My Criteria for a good PCB vendor:

1) price,

2) ease of ordering/confidence with web tools,

3) did not have to use the telephone.


Sorry, if I need to talk to a sales person to order a board, you're off my list. I'm a hobbyist, not a factory.


If you mix my criteria #2 and #3, you'll also see 'fairness'-- I wanted a straight price known in advance. Call this 'clarity', perhaps.


I have a friend that orders 600 pounds of circuit boards four times a year from the Korean board house. He gets good deals from those guys when he has a small job for them to do.


He is also sensitive to where he gets his boards made. He doesn't want them made in China whatsoever. He figures that he'll be ripped off so fast if that ever happens. He's in a competitive market.

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Shipping always seems to bump up the cost significantly if you're not US based.


I've never actually ordered any boards but currently having fun getting started on some home PCB milling. Some good (and not so good) results with a tiny board that a friend needs for a SOIC-8 hall effect sensor. I'll be sure to post something once I've milled my first MSP430-based circuit!


The real plus is the fast turnaround time a low cost for one-offs. I can imagine I'd mill v0.1, 0.2 and 0.3 and then send off for a professionally made v1.0.

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