ElEscalador
Posts: 680
Joined: Tue Dec 15, 2015 4:55 pm
Location: Detroit, MI USA
Contact: Website

PCB Design Software and Small Qty Manufacturing

Thu Nov 17, 2016 4:12 pm

What's the latest and greatest and -most importantly- most affordable stuff all the cool kids are using these days?

I need to design a few and print to the iron on sheets, and others I'd like to order boards completed for me in quantities between 3 and 10 or so - depending on price.
My Autonomous Robot Project and a few of my other projects below.

https://lloydbrombach.wordpress.com/

clacktronics
Posts: 60
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 6:07 pm
Location: London
Contact: Website

Re: PCB Design Software and Small Qty Manufacturing

Fri Nov 18, 2016 8:04 am

Most hobbyists use Eagle its attraction is it wide adoption it is free to do 2 layer board upto 100 x 80 https://cadsoft.io/pricing/ I find the interface and limits annoying.

I use Diptrace which has a nicer interface and I love the routing (still a bit old fashioned though). The limit is done by pin count rather than board size like Eagle which suited me better. http://www.diptrace.com/

The most complete open source program is KiCAD (you will have no limits for free!) http://kicad-pcb.org/ which has come on leaps and bounds in the last year it works very well. If you are used to other EDAs it can feel a bit of an odd process, I find the matching of components to schematic parts a bit weird and tedious but I come with bias from Diptrace.

There are suppliers that are good for small runs, I would go for one local to you for speed. In the UK I use Ragworm because they let me order 1 board at a time (less waste) and takes 7 working days. But In the US OSH park is a similar service. If you need somthing faster you will have no problem finding a local supplier but it is £££. If you are in the same part of the world as China you are spoilt for choice! For larger quantities at a low cost its worth waiting and getting a direct from China order I have used this comparison site http://pcbshopper.com/ for orders between 10-200 PCBs
My Kickstarter for a analogue AV out - kck.st/1SuGDvV

User avatar
Edders
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2015 10:13 am

Re: PCB Design Software and Small Qty Manufacturing

Fri Nov 18, 2016 9:21 am

I fully agree with clacktronics on KiCAD, I have used it to make boards and like it a lot. We then had a couple of engineering versions of the boards made by Eurocircuits, which were of good quality.

We also did a preproduction run with the people of http://dirtypcbs.com, which were indeed cheap, took quite a while to come from China but were all fully functional. The silkscreen wasn't as detailed as the one from Eurocircuits, but for the price was absolutely fine. And we could select black boards at no extra costs which looked fab...

User avatar
karrika
Posts: 1070
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2015 6:21 am
Location: Finland

Re: PCB Design Software and Small Qty Manufacturing

Fri Nov 18, 2016 9:53 am

KiCad is a very good tool. I also use KiCost. It takes the BOM list produced by KiCad and creates a spreadheet file with prices and availability of all components by visiting DigiKey, Mouser, Farnell, Newark and RS. It also builds automatic links to the component pages and helps in building the order baskets.
For pcb's I use pcbway.com in China.

texy
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator
Posts: 5157
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 10:59 am
Location: Berkshire, England

Re: PCB Design Software and Small Qty Manufacturing

Fri Nov 18, 2016 10:00 am

I've always used Eagle for the design and Itead for PCB manufacturer, however I am currently working on a project that requires a pcb size of 50 x 190mm and Itead were expensive in comparison to others. I use the term expensive, but referring to US/Euro prices only. So this time I have tried pcbway for the first time, as they work out almost half the price of Itead for this size board. I've yet to receive them, but they are on the way after placing the order 4 days ago......
Texy
Various male/female 40- and 26-way GPIO header for sale here ( IDEAL FOR YOUR PiZero ):
https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=93&t=147682#p971555

ElEscalador
Posts: 680
Joined: Tue Dec 15, 2015 4:55 pm
Location: Detroit, MI USA
Contact: Website

Re: PCB Design Software and Small Qty Manufacturing

Fri Nov 18, 2016 10:12 pm

Awesome - thanks. I'm in the US and OSH Park looks pretty nice for my needs. Back in the old days it was nowhere near cost effective to order less than 25-100 boards so I'd have to spend FOREVER rubbing on traces by hand and dipping in the ferric chloride. Did have some mixed results with iron-on transfers, but I really want a professional looking product. Much thanks.
My Autonomous Robot Project and a few of my other projects below.

https://lloydbrombach.wordpress.com/

Jouelle
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2016 7:44 am

Re: PCB Design Software and Small Qty Manufacturing

Wed Dec 21, 2016 8:41 am

For small qty PCB manufacturing, I highly recommend seeed studio fusion, very high quality PCBs and very good personal customer service. Despite it's a manufacturing house based in China, the process was very smooth
Last edited by Jouelle on Thu Dec 22, 2016 2:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

Raspberry Paul
Posts: 80
Joined: Mon Jun 10, 2013 3:40 pm
Contact: Website

Re: PCB Design Software and Small Qty Manufacturing

Wed Dec 21, 2016 1:42 pm

I use Fritzing for PCB design and Seeed Studio for the PCB manufacture.

Fritzing is often used to create the images you see in magazines.

Looked in to UK based PCB manufacture and they're expensive. Seedstudio is $9.99 for 10 x 10cm x 10cm 2 layer PCB's taking about 3 weeks to arrive in UK. UK manufacturers would be nearer £50 for just 1 PCB and take 7 days.
http://www.raspberrypaul.co.uk

Morphology
Posts: 36
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:16 am
Contact: Website

Re: PCB Design Software and Small Qty Manufacturing

Wed Dec 21, 2016 9:28 pm

I'm using KiCad and find it perfect - prior to that I was using Eagle, but was getting very frustrated with the board size limitation in the free version, and was very wary of the licensing if I ever wanted to sell a design.

I actually like the way that KiCad separates a schematic representation of a component from its footprint - this means you can move from, say, a Through-hole DIL package to a SMD TSSOP or SOIC package just by changing the fooprint rather than re-drawing the schematic.

Also the 'push & shove' router is great, and the 3D Viewer works well.

For Small Quantity PC manufacture, I have been using PCBWAY.COM who are in China, but DO NOT let that put you off.

I recently ordered 10 Boards. Double-sided, plated through, solder masks and silk screens top & bottom. Size approx 110mm x 40mm.

I sent them the Gerbers on a Sunday evening. They shipped the following Wednesday (yes, 3 days later) by DHL and they were with me the following Monday (8 days from start to finish).

And they cost 24$ + 25$ shipping = $49 for 10 boards.
midiminion.jpg
midiminion.jpg (57.49 KiB) Viewed 1428 times
Morph

Killertechno
Posts: 177
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:28 am

Re: PCB Design Software and Small Qty Manufacturing

Tue Jun 04, 2019 10:02 am

Let's talk about small quantity PCB manufacturing (other discussion about PCBway has closed, I don't understand why, maybe a duck closed discussion....).

I designed small PCB to be used with Raspberry Zero, I just need 1 PCB as prototype.
I usually send my gerbers to Eurocircuits (or PCBproto), for first one there is a cheap PCB profile (called "naked") for prototyping: maximum 2 pieces, no solder mask, no silkscreen.
This time I need full board, solder mask, silkscreen (until here no problems), but I also need component assembly (for RF purposes, I have no reflow oven).
Just for assembly price starts from 150 euro, then I have to add components price...

A friend told me there was PCBway (China).
I had a lot of doubts but the only way is to try.

For Raspberry Zero form factor (up to 5 pieces), price is 1$ for board, minimum 5 boards (so 5$), with solder mask and silkscreen.
PCB assembly is only 30$ (this is for few components, small boards), so I set only main SMD component for test.

I read some feedback about PCBway and I got worried: orrible silkscreen and misaligned (0,6mm) solder mask, but feedbacks were 2 years old and for non-standard (blue) solder mask. Let's hope...
24/48 hours for PCB production: OK.
up to 15 days for PCB assmbly: my PCB took 18 days instead 15, I didn't ask why.
Before shipment they sent me a picture to check for correct assembly.

Shipment:
- DHL tested on previous shipment, fast, but (for Italy) highly probably you will get extra custom fees. I haven't still understood if there has been trouble with documents....
- FedEx, fast, I got no extra fees on custom, price for items was lower, maybe this?
- EMS, I'm waiting delivery.

Troubles:
as said in old feedbacks, I got solder mask misalignment (0,1mm) but no solder mask over pads.


BTW
I'm not a duck. :D
DSC_0753.JPG
DSC_0753.JPG (78.32 KiB) Viewed 410 times

User avatar
mahjongg
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator
Posts: 12212
Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2012 12:19 am
Location: South Holland, The Netherlands

Re: PCB Design Software and Small Qty Manufacturing

Tue Jun 04, 2019 2:02 pm

I'm using KiCad on Linux Mint, and PCBWay for PCB fabrication, for my Retro Home Computer (Rhococo) prototype. Both KiCad and PCBWay have served me well, with the only "bear on the road" being the difficulty of paying the PCB's when you don't have a credit card or a working PayPal account, (don't ask) and my unwarranted reliance on the correctness of some of KiCads built in footpads.

I do think I am not using the latest version of KiCad, but it doesn't matter, except for editing existing footprints, (which is a pain, due to the way KiCad seems to work, at least my version) but in general creating your own footprints is always advisable, for example the 12x12mm push button footpad shape looked fine, but the drill holes in the footpad were too small for the pin's of the switch, and I had to drill up some 400 holes in my keyboard PCB's by hand, If I had made my own, such a fault would not have occurred :ugeek: :roll: .

When I compare the 3D preview of a few posts ago, which I presume was made with KiCad, I assume I'm using a very old version, as the 3D previews my version makes are not quite as nice. When I show 3D previews they are made with Altium, to which I have access after work, as the CiCad 3D preview are not suitable to be shown, possibly the parts I'm using don't really have well defined 3D shapes in the KiCad libraries I'm using.

as for the PCBWay PCB's, I have nothing to complain, but then my PCB's were small (10cm x 10cm dual sided, and 10cm x 18cm single sided), with almost no SMT parts.

in general I'm happy with both KiCad, and PCBWay.

Return to “General discussion”