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Author: Subject: OT circuit boards made - cheap
02GF74

posted on 15/2/16 at 09:54 AM Reply With Quote
OT circuit boards made - cheap

I am looking to make some one side grp pcbs cheaply. 10 of each of 2 different boards, around 6 x6 cm area each.

Cheapest but tedious would be to draw them with resist ink/paint but wondering how much itll cost to get them done professionally if i supply artwork?

And additional cost for drilling them.

Other diy option is to transfer artwork off transparency or use uv masking but now uv leds are cheap, that could be viable.

Any free simple to use pcb layout tools out there?





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nick205

posted on 15/2/16 at 10:13 AM Reply With Quote
The volume you need is low so I would imagine a UK based manufacturer would be the route to get PCBs made. We have PCBs made at work by a UK broker called Hi Spec http://www.hispecltd.co.uk/ who IIRC source both in China and the UK. They're probably worth asking for pricing on different options and maybe guidance on artwork software (we use Altium, but it's paid for software). http://www.altium.com/






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tegwin

posted on 15/2/16 at 10:15 AM Reply With Quote
Ive always made my own PCBs using photo-resist board material. I used to use a UV striplight in a cardboard box to expose but eventually bought a specific light box with timer.

Chemicals are not too expensive from RS or rapidonline... provided you mix them properly and use them at the right tempterature with regular adjitation of the tanks I got really good results.

For bigger batches I used a company in china but you have to be bang on with your pcb file as they don't check them. There are loads of uk and china based manufacturers. Depends on your budget, the quality will be better than DIY but the cost for such a small number may be painful. I had some double sided boards made up with plated vias... something that I could never achieve easily using my DIY setup.

When I shopped around I couldnt find a UK based company who could get anywhere near the price of the chinese... its a risk regarding quality and turnaround time but I never had issues with the company I used.

For simple diy use PCB wizard. For anything else (and to prepare for sending to third party for manufacture) I use diptrace.

[Edited on 15/2/16 by tegwin]





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02GF74

posted on 15/2/16 at 10:28 AM Reply With Quote
Thanks for replies, its looking like diy uv photoresist is the way, assuming the library printer accepts transparencies (my inkjet has been rip for a while)





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tegwin

posted on 15/2/16 at 12:27 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 02GF74
Thanks for replies, its looking like diy uv photoresist is the way, assuming the library printer accepts transparencies (my inkjet has been rip for a while)


Provided the laser printer is full of toner you get a much better result with laser than inkjet anyway... Do some tests with your exposure time on the photo resist... Different batches of boards seem to respond differently... 10 seconds out can result in over/under exposure and crappy finish.

Avoid really thin tracks on photoresist as well because you will get bleed through on the edge of the resist mask making them even thinner.. (and then because the way the board and copper are bonded the ultra thin semi etched track can lift...





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cloudy

posted on 15/2/16 at 12:42 PM Reply With Quote
Try ragworm.eu - use them for my custom PCBs and tend to be cheapest 60x60mm x 10 would be 111.60
They'll take EAGLE brd files direct

edit: also pcbtrain who might be better in quantity (81)

[Edited on 15/2/16 by cloudy]





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Madinventions

posted on 15/2/16 at 01:59 PM Reply With Quote
For small quantity prototypes you really can't beat the online Chinese manufacturers. I've used ITeadStudio for many boards before and you can get 10pcs of 100mm x 100mm boards for $19.90.
https://www.itead.cc/open-pcb.html

Many others exist such as Eurocircuits, PCB-pool etc but you'll be hard pushed to beat the price.

For the artwork, have a look at the free DesignSpark software from RS components. They also offer a PCB fabrication service but I've not tried it personally.
http://www.rs-online.com/designspark/electronics/eng/page/des ignspark-pcb-home-page


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cloudy

posted on 15/2/16 at 02:56 PM Reply With Quote
ITeadstudio looks good (though postage appears to be charged on top) what does the lead time run to delivered to UK?





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gremlin1234

posted on 15/2/16 at 04:02 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Madinventions
For the artwork, have a look at the free DesignSpark software from RS components. They also offer a PCB fabrication service but I've not tried it personally.
http://www.rs-online.com/designspark/electronics/eng/page/des ignspark-pcb-home-page
ditto.

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peter030371

posted on 15/2/16 at 04:20 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by cloudy
ITeadstudio looks good (though postage appears to be charged on top) what does the lead time run to delivered to UK?


I have used ITeadstudio a few times for non-critical, personal PCB jobs. lead time has been <4 weeks to my door and even with the cost of delivery know one in the UK can come close. I buy tens of thousands of PCB's every year at work and even pulling in a few favours they are still miles off ITeadstudio....however my last PCB's from ITeadstudio had a couple of etch issues. Nothing major but had they been fine pitch parts (which they were not) it may have been an issue.

For home built projects such as bits for our cars I would (and have) use them again

I use Altium (and started with Protel in the mid-90's) but I have heard very good things about Designspark from people I trust, its free and combined with ITeadstudio gives a much better finished product than a home etched PCB (do you print solder resists at home? Without it a PCB has a limited life in my professional opinion).

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rf900rush

posted on 16/2/16 at 07:10 AM Reply With Quote
Isyour artwork In gerber (cad) files?

I have used http://www.pcbtrain.co.uk for low volume.
Not the cheapest but you can get quotes online.
Best bit is they can be delivered in tow days.

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Bluemoon

posted on 16/2/16 at 07:34 AM Reply With Quote
If you want cheap try: https://www.seeedstudio.com/service/index.php?r=pcb

Slow and from china but found them good if you don't mind waiting... Quality is amazing for the cost...

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nick205

posted on 16/2/16 at 11:18 AM Reply With Quote
I made PCBs at college (20 yrs ago) with transfers and exposure - it was a comedy experience and I didn't know people still did it.






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mackei23b

posted on 16/2/16 at 04:50 PM Reply With Quote
Hi there

I've worked with these guys before: www.lamargroup.co.uk may be worth a call, but I'm not sure what volumes they do.

Cheers

Ian

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