[sdiy] PCB / Panel Manufacture

Shawn Rakestraw shawnrakestraw at gmail.com
Sat Feb 8 07:26:05 CET 2020

Curious if anyone can see anything wrong with this. I couldn't find a way
to remove the silk screen for the LEDs on the bottom.....
I will design a bus distribution board to go with this and make them both
at the same time I think.

[image: AC-DC Power Supply Bot.jpg]
[image: AC-DC Power Supply Top.jpg]

On Fri, Feb 7, 2020 at 7:31 PM Shawn Rakestraw <shawn at epicpoolsga.com>

> First off, thanks to everyone for all of your suggestions, comments, and
> detailed responses. I read everything you all wrote and I have a lot to
> think about. I am constantly amazed by the amount of sharing / willingness
> to help others expressed by the diy synth community. I don't know what else
> to say at the moment, but rest assured I will be unpacking your messages
> and looking over all of the various places you mentioned. I'll let you know
> when I actually have a pcb here at my desk 😁
> On Fri, Feb 7, 2020 at 12:36 PM Daniel Roberts <danmroberts at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> I think that copy just hasn't been updated since they started offering
>> black boards. Elsewhere on the site:
>> "OSH Park manufactures entirely in the US and isn't affected by Lunar New
>> Year."
>> On Fri, Feb 7, 2020 at 9:06 AM mark verbos <mark at verboselectronics.com>
>> wrote:
>>> "Our purple boards are manufactured in the USA and shipped free to
>>> anywhere in the world.”
>>> seems to suggest that the black/clear ones are not. In case that matters
>>> to you…..
>>> Mark
>>> On Feb 7, 2020, at 12:47 PM, john slee <indigoid at oldcorollas.org> wrote:
>>> Not anymore! They now have a black substrate/transparent soldermask
>>> option. I used it to make a PCB panel recently, with a copper flood-fill on
>>> the top layer, and (I think) it looks absolutely lovely
>>> Hopefully this image attachment thing will actually work...
>>> John
>>> On Fri, 7 Feb 2020 at 21:55, Sarah Thompson <plodger at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> OSHPark manufacture in the US and are cheap and fast. I used them a lot
>>>> when I worked at NASA for prototypes. They can work with EAGLE easily. I've
>>>> also used them for front panels by designing the panel as a PCB -- this
>>>> works pretty well. One peculiarity is that all their boards are purple,
>>>> which you may or may not like! :-)
>>>> On Fri, Feb 7, 2020 at 7:56 AM <rsdio at audiobanshee.com> wrote:
>>>>> Hi Shawn,
>>>>> Eagle will work fine. Basically all of the fab houses accept Eagle
>>>>> files, and certainly all of them support Gerber files produced by Eagle.
>>>>> Eagle has all of the features you need to make professional boards. It will
>>>>> take you a long time to learn everything, but everything can be done in
>>>>> Eagle. There are some commands and key combinations that are esoteric, but
>>>>> nearly all CAD software is like that, except for some of the newer programs
>>>>> (but those are less than fully professional). Your best bet is to find the
>>>>> online support forum for Eagle, read the documentation, and ask questions
>>>>> if you can’t find answers to your questions in the archives of the forum. I
>>>>> purchased Eagle before it became subscription based, so my license has no
>>>>> limitations. I don’t know whether your license is size-limited,
>>>>> layer-limited, page-limited, or otherwise limited. So, unless you run into
>>>>> limits, I recommend treating Eagle like a new synth that you dive into and
>>>>> learn absolutely everything you can about it.
>>>>> Keep in mind the size constraints of Eurorack. You don’t want
>>>>> breakaway tabs on your PCB interfering with modules next to yours. Same
>>>>> thing with face plates, although Dieter covers this on the doepfer.de
>>>>> site.
>>>>> I order all of my PCB designs from USA-based fabrication houses.
>>>>> Prototron is near me in Redmond, WA. They’re probably the most expensive
>>>>> I’ve ever used, but they’ll make a deal for quantity. Sunstone Circuits in
>>>>> Oregon has some bargains, but it really depends upon your size. Advanced
>>>>> Circuits, a.k.a. 4PCB, have some decent deals on prototypes, and their
>>>>> quality is way above the cheaper places. I can literally see the quality
>>>>> different with the naked eye when comparing an Advanced Circuits PCB with
>>>>> my exact same design files made by a cheaper fab house. OSH Park probably
>>>>> has the best prices in the USA, but you’ll wait longer than anywhere else.
>>>>> Their quality is really good - probably all you’ll ever need - but they’re
>>>>> not top quality.
>>>>> Once nice thing about 4PCB is their FreeDFM site that will check your
>>>>> Gerber files and report errors. There’s no charge to use the site, but
>>>>> you’ll get one email asking if you want to buy the boards. I’ve never
>>>>> received more than one advertising email, though, so I often use them to
>>>>> check a design even when I order somewhere else. This is a good way -
>>>>> especially when you’re just starting out - to get an idea of whether your
>>>>> PCB is following standard design rule
>>>>> Speaking of fab houses and Eagle, make sure you find and download a
>>>>> DRU (Design Rules) file for each of the sites that you want quotes from.
>>>>> OSH Park and Sunstone Circuit actually have the files on their web sites.
>>>>> Advanced Circuits describes all the constraints textually, and if you study
>>>>> how to edit the data in Eagle then you can create your own DRU for Advanced
>>>>> Circuits orders. Before ordering any new PCB design, make sure you change
>>>>> the DRU selection to point to the file describing the specific fab house
>>>>> that you want to order from, and run the “dru" command to check for
>>>>> violations. You might have to change trace sizes or move things around to
>>>>> fit the capabilities. Sometimes, the minimum drill size makes your vias
>>>>> larger, and then everything has to be spaced further apart. FreeDFM will
>>>>> catch this, but you can catch almost all of the same issues inside Eagle
>>>>> before you upload anything. Eagle remembers which DRU file you’ve selected
>>>>> for each PCB project board file, so you can order from different places.
>>>>> Some people think PCB fab options are as simple as: China is cheap,
>>>>> and USA is expensive. Some people even think that all PCBs are made in
>>>>> China even when you order from a USA company. Sometimes this is true, but
>>>>> not always, and there are other factors. For one thing, TSA can randomly
>>>>> hold up your PCB order at the border, and then you’ll be waiting longer
>>>>> than OSH Park (OSH Park is my benchmark for “long wait times"). I had one
>>>>> customer order from the cheapest Chinese PCB shop, and then screamed bloody
>>>>> murder when TSA held all of the boards for weeks, maybe months - delaying
>>>>> their product manufacturing. You might pay more in USA most of the time,
>>>>> but it might also really be worth it to you when you consider everything
>>>>> like time-to-market.
>>>>> I’ve made several panels, both for 19” rack electronics and for
>>>>> Eurorack. I’ve ordered everything from Front Panel Express in Seattle.
>>>>> They’re somewhat expensive, but if you pay attention you can keep the price
>>>>> reasonable. For one thing, it seems really expensive to add paint in etched
>>>>> lettering, and so I’ve never paid for that. However, if you just spend a
>>>>> few cents extra for anodized aluminum, especially black, then etched
>>>>> lettering will reveal the bare aluminum color behind the anodized surface,
>>>>> and then you don’t need to pay for paint to make the letters visible via
>>>>> contrast. Front Panel Express will also screen print any image, but I’ve
>>>>> only used that for projects where I have the extra budget - it’s not cheap,
>>>>> either.
>>>>> Front Panel Express has a free application that you use to design the
>>>>> panels. It’s probably a really bad idea, because I don’t know whether you
>>>>> can import or export designs from other design tools. Since I’m only doing
>>>>> prototypes, I don’t worry too much that all of my designs are in a
>>>>> proprietary format. However, it is really convenient that you can get price
>>>>> quotes within the app, and they’re even itemized so you can see what
>>>>> determines the cost and sometimes even delete or change features that are
>>>>> too expensive. Sometimes it’s a slow process to quote all of the variations
>>>>> appropriate for a given design, but if you’re cost conscious then it’s
>>>>> probably worth the time to research.
>>>>> One cool thing about Front Panel Express is that if you screw up a
>>>>> panel in a way that you can fix it by cutting more away, then you can save
>>>>> money by sending back the original panel for them to cut changes. That ends
>>>>> up being cheaper that ordering a second panel from scratch, but you really
>>>>> have to work extra hard to create a design that includes just the
>>>>> differences between the old mistakes and the new desired panel. I realize
>>>>> this is probably only a practical option when you live close enough to
>>>>> drive by, drop off the old panel, and pick up the new one later. They have
>>>>> free shipping for large orders, but when you’re saving money you have to
>>>>> think about the cost of shipping when your total is below their free
>>>>> shipping minimum. Obviously, though, you can’t fix a panel after you’ve cut
>>>>> too much away - there’s not a drill that can add aluminum back on the face
>>>>> plate.
>>>>> For both PCB and panel designs, you want to make careful measurements
>>>>> of all mechanical parts, particularly screw holes, screw placements, and
>>>>> drill sizes. Not only do you have to align the components with the boards
>>>>> and panels, but you have to align the boards and panels with each other.
>>>>> In Eagle, I tend to create extra layers, or use Documentation or
>>>>> Reference layers to draw the mechanical parts that are not actually part of
>>>>> the PCB. This helps me get an idea of how things will fit together later.
>>>>> Of course, there are work flows that allow you to create 3D data for your
>>>>> PCB design. Eagle is compatible with that, and I know people doing it, but
>>>>> I haven’t taken the time to learn. Besides, you still need to create 3D
>>>>> models for the face plate and other mechanical components, and that seems
>>>>> like a lot of work unless you’re using the exact same parts as everyone
>>>>> else.
>>>>> You have to get used to the fact that some parts are measured in
>>>>> metrics units, and others are measured in English units. Within Eagle, I
>>>>> frequently switch my measurements between Inches, Mils, and millimeters.
>>>>> It’s a pain, because I don’t know how to change the units after calling up
>>>>> the editor for a component placement, so I just cancel the dialog, switch
>>>>> units, and then open the dialog again. Once I get all parts that touch
>>>>> other parts aligned properly, I use the Eagle “lock” tool to prevent those
>>>>> parts from being moved accidentally. Components that only mount on the PCB
>>>>> and nothing else are left movable.
>>>>> Meanwhile, FrontDesign.app also allows English and metric units, and
>>>>> again is a bit of a pain because I find that you always need to mix both in
>>>>> the same design. Eurorack is a bizarre mix of English units and metric.
>>>>> Even though the numbers are almost always reported in millimeters, it’s
>>>>> fairly obvious that 1 HP is 0.2” (1/5”), so I often check placements on a
>>>>> 0.2” grid.
>>>>> There are lots of things to learn, but these days we have the
>>>>> internet. I recently had to figure out what size hole to drill to guarantee
>>>>> the standard amount of room for an M3 screw and an M6 pot shaft. Sometimes
>>>>> the data sheets for the electronics components will tell you these things.
>>>>> Other times, you just have to ask the industry what’s a standard drill size
>>>>> for an M3 screw.
>>>>> Personally, I prefer solid aluminum to a PCB for front panels.
>>>>> Granted, you can order a multilayer PCB and dedicate a solid copper layer
>>>>> to shield your electronics from emissions, but it seems a lot easier to
>>>>> keep out noise with a solid metal enclosure. For Eurorack, that means a
>>>>> metal case and metal face plates. But there’s nothing wrong with using
>>>>> Eagle to design cool face plates.
>>>>> You can even change the colors of the layers in Eagle to get a rough
>>>>> idea of how the finished product will look. I designed a product where the
>>>>> internal boards have black screen print on clear solder mask, and the raw
>>>>> copper and FR4 material shows though. OSH Park has an option now with black
>>>>> PCB material, white screen, and clear solder mask that looks crazy - you
>>>>> really have to think about how it will look before you order.
>>>>> One weird thing about Eagle is that Devices seem to require all
>>>>> Symbols and Packages to come from the same library file. So, you can make
>>>>> your own, but if you want to borrow an existing Package for your Device,
>>>>> you’ll have to copy that Package into your library. I recommend building
>>>>> your own Eagle parts library, and back it up regularly. I actually use
>>>>> revision control, just like I do for source code when doing computer
>>>>> software design, to keep track of my own Eagle library files. That way, I
>>>>> can recover an old version, and can work on multiple computers and know
>>>>> that I have the latest.
>>>>> There are Eagle libraries available for free, and they’re sometimes a
>>>>> time-saving starting point, but never trust that they’re correct. Whether
>>>>> you create the packages yourself, download them from the Eagle community,
>>>>> or mix and match, you always want to study the data sheets for the
>>>>> electronics parts, direct from the manufacturer, and make sure all
>>>>> measurements are correct. Here is where you learn that you can’t make the
>>>>> drill size the same as the through-hole lead size, because it will be too
>>>>> tight once the copper plating, board finishing and tinning are completed
>>>>> and the hole gets smaller.
>>>>> Regarding data sheets, I recommend that you *always* go directly to
>>>>> the part manufacturer’s web site, search for the exact part you’re using,
>>>>> and download the latest data sheets for the stuff you’re using. Trusting
>>>>> Mouser to have the latest information, or some internet aggregator that
>>>>> wants to sell you knockoff chips, is not the way to get your design right.
>>>>> It takes almost exactly the same amount of time to download the data sheet
>>>>> from the wrong source as it does to download it from the right source. Once
>>>>> you do, keep a backup of those files for future reference, and keep the
>>>>> files organized so you know what you have. On that note, I currently have
>>>>> approximately 2,838 data sheets from 218 different manufacturers under
>>>>> ~/Documents, and I have a few backups of those.
>>>>> Most of them have recommendations somewhere for PCB design for their
>>>>> parts, but a lot do not have any hints. That’s partly because the proper
>>>>> way to design is highly dependent upon the process used by your particular
>>>>> PCB fab, and when you change fab houses you might need to actually change
>>>>> your PCB design to accommodate.
>>>>> Some companies like Analog Devices and Texas Instruments also have
>>>>> Application Notes and even electronics design articles from excellent
>>>>> engineers who will explain many of the things you need to know to design a
>>>>> PCB. You have to start by reading the entire data sheet for the parts
>>>>> you’re using, and follow every link in that data sheet to the other
>>>>> documentation from the manufacturer on related information that you might
>>>>> need.
>>>>> As for whether you need 2 oz copper, or super wide traces, there are
>>>>> probably plenty of articles online that will discuss that.
>>>>> Brian Willoughby
>>>>> Sound Consulting
>>>>> On Feb 6, 2020, at 7:31 PM, Shawn Rakestraw <shawnrakestraw at gmail.com>
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>> > Hey All! I'm new to the list and this is my first question.
>>>>> >
>>>>> > I want to dip into making some PCBs and possibly front panels. I am
>>>>> into eurorack, so that is what I will be aiming toward. I have been
>>>>> learning how to use Eagle to make my schematic into a board.
>>>>> >
>>>>> > Currently, I have been working on a power supply PCB that would
>>>>> mount inside of a case, so I don't have any major size constraints or
>>>>> precision. I will probably make a simple bus board next to distribute the
>>>>> power. Then I want to move on to an actual module. Something simple at
>>>>> first.
>>>>> >
>>>>> > I should also mention that I am in USA, although that probably
>>>>> doesn't matter that much anymore. I do prefer to order things in the US
>>>>> when I can though.
>>>>> >
>>>>> > I am asking for any advice at all really. My question begins with
>>>>> who / where to order from, but after that I am a bit in the dark about what
>>>>> to even ask. I don't know if copper trace thickness should be a concern.
>>>>> Obviously with power PCBs and distribution boards you want wide traces and
>>>>> I have done some research to try to learn how wide for certain amp loads.
>>>>> Really, any advice will be good for me - anything that you wish you had
>>>>> known before your first order could be helpful.
>>>>> >
>>>>> > Has anyone made panels and if so, what is the beginning process for
>>>>> that? Can you design them in Eagle using Nets or something? I don't know
>>>>> how people even design them.
>>>>> >
>>>>> > Thanks in advance, I look forward to your replies!
>>>>> >
>>>>> > - Shawn
>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>> Synth-diy mailing list
>>>>> Synth-diy at synth-diy.org
>>>>> http://synth-diy.org/mailman/listinfo/synth-diy
>>>> --
>>>> [s]
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> --
> [image: Our Website] <http://epicpoolsga.com/>
> Shawn Rakestraw
> 678-232-7192
> shawn at epicpoolsga.com
> epicpoolsga.com
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