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Re: PCB Etching Services

Posted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 1:57 am
by rickyjames
IMHO, the way to go for custom PCBs is ExpressPCB. I have used them for many projects and they are AWESOME. They do three copies of a custom double sided 3.8 by 2.5 inch fixed-size PCB (96mm by 63.5 mm) for only $51 (around 30 GBP) with 24 hour turnaround. Also several other prototype sizes at low cost. Plus they have downloadable layout software that does everything you could want it to do. They ship international to the UK and elsewhere. Highest recommendation.

Whatever size you make the final Rpi board, doing a ExpressPCB Miniboard layout with matching mounting holes as a stackable peripheral project board starting point is a great idea that will jumpstart a bunch of add-on board projects. What would be even better is if you have any spare I/O lines on the final version of the Rpi board, run them to a header (or empty header holes so you save the cost of a header that a user can solder on themselves) and include that header layout on the Miniboard layout along with the mounting holes. Voila, a simple way to get some control lines to a stackable add-on board.

http://www.expresspcb.com/expr.....iboard.htm

Re: PCB Etching Services

Posted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:43 am
by Lakes
+1 for stackable expansion boards

Re: PCB Etching Services

Posted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 12:09 pm
by TonyD
here's a couple of companies from China I used. There prices very reasonable, with shipping times are what you would expect from China.

http://www.seeedstudio.com/
and
http://iteadstudio.com

Re: PCB Etching Services

Posted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 4:39 pm
by Lob0426
I believe the main reason they are including the headers is that they want expansion that a younger person can use. Remember these boards are aimed at youth. Some of these people may be too young to be slinging solder to use add-on project boards. There has already been many requests for boards without various if not all of the connectors removed. The first set of production boards are pretty much settled on at this point. The foundation does seem to be listening, but i do not think they intend to become a custom board design company. They have stated there will be revisions in the future, but it is hard to set revisions of a board that has not even made it to market yet.

Re: PCB Etching Services

Posted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 7:21 pm
by Michael
Quote from Lob0426 on September 8, 2011, 17:39
I believe the main reason they are including the headers is that they want expansion that a younger person can use. Remember these boards are aimed at youth. Some of these people may be too young to be slinging solder to use add-on project boards.

I was soldering my circuit boards from age 8 - younger than that, you can always find an adult to do the soldering for you.

Re: PCB Etching Services

Posted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 3:35 am
by Lob0426
You will not find very many U.S. schools handing a soldering iron to an 8 year old or even a 12 year old. Sorry it just is not likely!

As my brother just pointed out. The school will hand a kid a football so he can go out and break his neck, but not a soldering iron! lol

Re: PCB Etching Services

Posted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 7:07 am
by Michael
I didn't say anything about schools. But the same is probably true of schools - one could probably find an adult hobbiest among the parents and teachers that is skilled with a rework station.

Re: PCB Etching Services

Posted: Sat Sep 10, 2011 7:26 pm
by Lob0426
Michael: lol. I hope you are right as it is a great experience and confidence builder, if you avoid the magic blue smoke. 30+ years ago it was a different story. I had wood, welding and auto shop as a freshman in high school. Those classes are disappearing as people find excuses for suing the schools. Insurance is going up and school funding going down. It would be nice if the software and hardware companies would lend a hand in funding electronics and programming classes. I am a hobbyist when it comes to these things. I have always managed to learn something new with each project I tackle. I want to see the youth out there have the same experiences in experimenting and learning.

I am not trying to be negative. It is unfortunate that we have slid like we have. I hope I will run into some of these kids that can learn something from me and carry it farther for them.

Re: PCB Etching Services

Posted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 5:10 pm
by 9dof
I've tried http://www.stephenhobley.com/b.....e-formula/ alternative etchant successfully. It was slower than the normal Ferric Chloride or HCl etchant, but it won't get banned anytime soon.

Re: PCB Etching Services

Posted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:12 am
by billium
You say online services are expensive, I think they are great value. £40 for a one off euro card with pth screen and mask! This drops rapidly with quantity. I've used pcbpool, pcbtrain are both excellant.
pcbtrain are in SE England, pcbpool are German, though the PCB's and service contacts are in Ireland and you are charged in €. I don't do the chemicals now. :)
Great foss PCB software (linux, don't know about others) is KiCad.

Re: PCB Etching Services

Posted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 4:04 am
by abishur
for that price I could get 2 model As! That's insanely expensive :P

Re: PCB Etching Services

Posted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 4:44 am
by dhb
Quote from Lob0426 on September 9, 2011, 04:35
You will not find very many U.S. schools handing a soldering iron to an 8 year old or even a 12 year old. Sorry it just is not likely!

As my brother just pointed out. The school will hand a kid a football so he can go out and break his neck, but not a soldering iron! lol

In my (limited) experience you only pick up the iron by the wrong end once....

Aside: Years (decades?) ago when my wife worked as an engineer she claimed she wore a skirt about once every six months and that was the day she had to crawl under her desk to recable something. She also claimed she wore a silk blouse only every couple years and that was the day she needed to solder something. (Flux spits & makes holes in silk....)

Re: PCB Etching Services

Posted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 5:51 am
by Vindicator
It seems to come with the Job I could wear old shirts everyday and just get dirt on them ,but wear a new shirt and have a hydraulic line burst on me LOL.

Re: PCB Etching Services

Posted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 9:27 am
by billium
@ abishur or 10k you would get them for 90p

Re: PCB Etching Services

Posted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:18 pm
by abishur
10K is a bit larger volume than the average hobbyist would require :P

Re: PCB Etching Services

Posted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:08 pm
by slurp
Quote from Blars on August 28, 2011, 21:14
I've used dorkbotpdx for some small boards -- high quality and relitivly cheap. The two-week latancy is a bit of a pain. http://dorkbotpdx.org/wiki/pcb_order

While I've used various techniques for manufacturing boards on the kitchen table I'd recommend this service.

The pricing is excellent, in some cases lower cost than materials to make on at home. They're panelising your design along side other to give you a volume discount without the volume.

The finish is excellent and well beyond most peoples capability on the kitchen table. It's allowed me to get to a much better component density, double side the circuits and improve finish with solder masks and silk screens.

best regards,
colin

Re: PCB Etching Services

Posted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 7:43 pm
by kkolev
Quote from slurp on November 22, 2011, 14:08
Quote from Blars on August 28, 2011, 21:14
I've used dorkbotpdx for some small boards -- high quality and relitivly cheap. The two-week latancy is a bit of a pain. http://dorkbotpdx.org/wiki/pcb_order

While I've used various techniques for manufacturing boards on the kitchen table I'd recommend this service.
...


Dang, that's some pretty impressive stuff. $5 per sq in for 3 copies, free US shipping, and $5 regular-mail shipping for us euro folks (or $15 for priority). That one's going in the reference folder. Cheers guys!

Re: PCB Etching Services

Posted: Thu May 02, 2013 5:52 am
by peterburk
I spent a month at Xingda Hongye, a PCB factory in Zhongshan, China.
http://www.zsxingda.com

They can produce a test run of 100 PCBs for 5000 rmb = £500. It's a little more for multi-layer. Production takes 3 to 5 days, though shipping from China will probably make it take longer.

I'm friends with workers at every stage of the production process, as well as the sales team. Did you really think about and calculate your 0.1 mm ± 0.01 tolerance? Friends of mine aged between 17 and 25 really care about that - they get 2 days off per month, and recycling the scrap is not easy.

If you want to be introduced to my friends who are working in that factory, send me a PM! They're very happy to make a foreign friend. You might need YouLing to help you use instant messaging with them:
http://peterburk.tumblr.com/youling

Peter