[sdiy] PCB manufacturing recommendation

rsdio at audiobanshee.com rsdio at audiobanshee.com
Thu Jan 24 07:19:10 CET 2019

I prefer local fab houses, or at least within the same country. One reason is that TSA and/or customs can create extremely long delays for absolutely no reason. I’m also environmentally conscious (as much as I can be), so I prefer not to ship anything half way across the globe if the same thing is available locally (even if it does cost a little more cash).

I’ve worked with Prototron (Redmond, WA), Circuit Services Northwest (Bellevue, WA), Sunstone Circuits (OR), OSHPark (OR), Advanced Circuits, and others. Some of these are no longer domestic, and some can’t predict where your boards will be made because they have fabs all over the world.

I’ve seen a wide variety of quality. And by “seen,” I mean that the quality is visibly obvious when comparing the same board from different fabs, or even from the same shop but prototype versus production. However, I’ve never had a board fail, no matter how “cheap” it looks. I’m probably not designing anything that requires state-of-the-art fab.

If you just want the cheapest fab available, you have the gerbers, so I would say that you should check any place that has an automated online quote system. It’s up to you to decide whether time or money is more important. If they don’t have automated quotes, then maybe they’re not dependable enough to risk your money.

Be wary that some fab houses save you money by skipping the electrical test. That’s fine if you have the skills to detect a bad board and the patience to eat the lost time and parts if you end up with bad boards. I’ve never had anyone tell me how often boards fail electrical test, and certainly nobody has promised that the boards will be good if I skip that step. Other cost savings might include skipping the solder mask, which I say is a really bad idea.

p.s. I’m often a bit reluctant to send proprietary designs overseas, where IP rights are frequently violated. In your case, the gerber files seem to be freely available anyway, so you shouldn’t have to worry about that at all.

Brian Willoughby

On Jan 23, 2019, at 7:47 AM, Joe Frey <frey at radioles.com> wrote:
> Hello, I am going to make Harald's trigger to gate module. I built another one but it only offered 1sec but I want an 8sec gate!
> https://www.haraldswerk.de/Gate_and_Trigger/Trigger_Delay/Trigger_Delay.html
> The archives seem to favor expresspcb. Do folks agree? Harald hosts the gerber files so I feel confident I can do this. 
> JoeF.

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