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Mark Easley TI

Best PCB maker for prototyping?

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Is there a consensus on the best place to order PCB designs for smaller lots when doing BoosterPack prototyping? I've heard of www.seeedstudio.com/propagate , www.BatchPCB.com , and www.Oshpark.com so far.  Are there other good ones?  Best value between pricing, turnaround time, quality, etc?

 

End goal would be some boards for personal projects and then a batch to sell on designer chosen outlets / leftovers to distribute to the community.

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I have been using elecrow over seeed recently because they don't charge for colored boards like seeed does.  they also have the advantage of being able to source components at lower prices which is kinda unique

 

osh park quality is far superior to elecrow, or seed, and their stuff is ENIG by default.  the downside is they're more expensive

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I have been using elecrow over seeed recently because they don't charge for colored boards like seeed does.  they also have the advantage of being able to source components at lower prices which is kinda unique

 

osh park quality is far superior to elecrow, or seed, and their stuff is ENIG by default.  the downside is they're more expensive

As elecrow can source components, do you know if they can do the soldering as well?

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had a couple of designs come back good from seeed. they do 4 layer boards now i think but i dont know if the cost is competitive. green is fine for prototyping.

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As elecrow can source components, do you know if they can do the soldering as well?

The first 2.2" Touch+LCD and OLED batches for the Store are being assembled at Elecrow right now. So I'll let you guys know the outcome. 

 

Edit: forgot to add cube's VFD kits are also being kitted there.

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The general idea is, Seeed/ITead/Elecrow offer similar PCB services--although atm Elecrow tends to be cheaper just because you get all soldermask colors free, but some of us have noticed minor imperfections in the final product (drill holes are ever-so-slightly off, but in a consistent way so it doesn't botch the board, soldermask issues have occurred for some folks)

 

The pricing is tiered based on maximum board size, so the 5x5, 5x10, 10x10, 5x15, 10x15cm sizes each bear a certain price and your boards will cost whatever that price is regardless if you use all the available space in that tier.

 

Seeed tends to give you 1 or 2 extra boards I've noticed.  If you don't mind green soldermask, I think Seeed is a better deal.

 

OSHpark's pricing model is literally price-per-square inch, compared to the Chinese vendors they are very expensive, however for very small boards they excel price-wise.  You get 3 copies of your boards from OSHpark, the others it's typically 10 (though they are offering options for 5, not quite as cost effective unless you really won't use more than a few).  Overall the turnaround is quicker, although I recall someone recently said Elecrow only got there ~3 days later than OSHpark.

 

Found this from another thread--a cost breakdown of Seeed's service, in terms of $$/square cm board space: http://forum.43oh.com/topic/2976-cost-breakdown-of-seeed%E2%80%99s-pcb-service/

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I've used Seeed, Elecrow and OSHPark for boards.  I like OSHPark for tiny boards - it's awesome to get a small board made for <$5.  

I've been working with Elecrow lately - they're assembling some kits (including parts they sourced) for me/bluehash.  The pricing/sourcing process went very well. They should be arriving soon - I'm interested to see how that goes.  They're obviously dealing with some manufacturer pains with the issues I've seen posted on the forums - but their customer service is outstanding.  I tend to do small PCB runs - so it's great to have something other than green for a nice price.

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The first 2.2" Touch+LCD and OLED batches for the Store are being assembled at Elecrow right now. So I'll let you guys know the outcome. 

 

Edit: forgot to add cube's VFD kits are also being kitted there.

Awesome.  To be honest, they look a little expensive (especially since I only want a few boards made).  Might just be cheaper to get better at soldering.

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I've used both itead and elecrow. I prefer elecrow for the colors and otherwise they are equivalent to itead. I have been opting for Dhl delivery too since china post is slowwww

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I just noticed, on my Seeed PCB order, the tssop 0.65mm pitched pins have inconsistent masking between different boards or even the same one (some pins have solder mask while two pins down don't, a tssop two inches away is perfect while another isn't). My QFN, with 0.5mm pitch, should have 0.25mm between pins, and 0.3mm between the pins and the center pad, yet the entire thing is without mask... 

 

They say the minimum mask width is 0.13mm. Hmm. It's been almost two months, should I even bother mentioning it?

 

Just something to keep in mind. Since I do everything by hand, it's not an issue for me so far.

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Someone recently mentioned Elecrow doing the same thing. Guess it's their fab...

 

Sent from my C3PO via Tapatalk

Yep - it was jwoodrell - in that case, the fab house modified the solder mask but didn't notify anyone.  I'd guess it's the same case for your board.  I'd say Seeed should know about it.  At a minimum - so that people will know when they order boards.  

Isn't missing mask between pins on a chip like that kind of a problem if you're going to do reflow?

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