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> Where To Get Custom Boards Done
Village Idiot
Posted: December 13, 2014 04:59 am
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What are the chances of finding a company that can manufacture a limited number (about 50) of circuit boards complete with all the parts installed? (I've already designed and prototyped the circuit.) For this project, we have a substantial budget, and can afford the inflated price for the low production numbers. What we don't want to do, is in house fabrication. Everything has to be supplied from outside sources.
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MacFromOK
Posted: December 13, 2014 05:07 am
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Man I dunno. If you could get it done in country, at least there would be legal recourse if they botch the job.

Just a thought. beer.gif


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Colt45
Posted: December 13, 2014 08:52 am
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How complicated is it..?


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Ice-Tea
Posted: December 13, 2014 09:19 am
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I could name some ten partners i've done that with in 100km around my location so I doubt it would be much harder in the US? If you don't mind paying fo shipping, I could still give you a mist but Indoubt this would be the most efficient solution.
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kl27x
Posted: December 14, 2014 02:41 am
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Pretty darn good. Hundreds of companies will do that here, or broker it to be made in China.

But lots o' companies specialize in only one or the other. Fast proto pcb's or assembly, only.

If you need reliability and you have any no-lead parts, you should be looking for X-ray inspection. If you come across anyone that does all that in the US, let me know.
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Village Idiot
Posted: December 14, 2014 02:47 am
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It's a very simple board: a 14 pin microcontroller, an 8 pin RS422 transceiver, a few LEDs and resistors, and a couple of terminal blocks.

I think maybe I've found a place that can do it. No minimum quantity, and based on their online quote calculator, the price is quite reasonable.
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Colt45
Posted: December 14, 2014 08:03 am
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throughhole or smd?

sounds simple enough i could do it by hand, but i'm probably more expensive than china tongue.gif

you have the board design already, yeah? or just a schematic and prototype..?


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Village Idiot
Posted: December 14, 2014 10:40 pm
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It could be either through hole or SMD. My prototype was through hole because I don't have the equipment to prototype with SMD devices. I built a PCB using toner transfer, but I did the artwork using a simple CAD drafting program, not PCB layout software. So, the artwork will have to be redone in Eagle or some other PCB software.

At this point it's not definite whether we will need these boards. The other people working on this project are hoping to do everything in an existing industrial PLC, but I don't believe that it will be fast enough to process the incoming signals. So, I've gone ahead and designed this circuit, so that plan B will be ready to go when plan A doesn't pan out. I just want to get my ducks in a row as far as the actual manufacture.

This is the place I checked out:
http://www.myropcb.com/
Based in Ottawa, with manufacturing in China. Not sure how they manage their 24 hour turnaround, unless they do the low volume stuff locally. Anyone have any experience with this outfit?

If we do go ahead with this, I'm sure I could use some help with the PCB layout design at the very least.
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Ice-Tea
Posted: December 14, 2014 10:49 pm
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QUOTE (Village Idiot @ December 14, 2014 10:40 pm)
My prototype was through hole because I don't have the equipment to prototype with SMD devices.

A soldering iron?

laugh.gif

Seriously, though: I do freelance layout work amongst other things. Yell if you think I can lend a hand.
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Village Idiot
Posted: December 14, 2014 11:11 pm
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QUOTE (Ice-Tea @ December 14, 2014 03:49 pm)
QUOTE (Village Idiot @ December 14, 2014 10:40 pm)
My prototype was through hole because I don't have the equipment to prototype with SMD devices.

A soldering iron?

No. Steady fingers.
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Ice-Tea
Posted: December 15, 2014 08:24 am
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Ah, well, if you ever have a grand in exces, have a look at mantis stereoscopic viewers. Steadies your hand a lot, at least it has that effect on me smile.gif
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Village Idiot
Posted: December 16, 2014 03:16 am
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Thanks everyone for the offers/advice. I'll see what happens.

I'm now working my way through the Eagle tutorial. Why is it that English translations of German manuals are always so clumsy? You'd think a company that size could hire someone who's fluent in English technical writing and terminology.
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kl27x
Posted: December 18, 2014 10:43 pm
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Went through this myself over the last year or so.

Eagle tips:

Step Zero. The very very very first thing you should learn, IMO, is to make and manage custom library of custom parts. The way Eagle file saving system works is very unintuitive and backwards.

When you save a "part" you are saving the entire library. I recommend to start a new library for yourself and/or even for each project, to avoid having to scroll through a million parts you do not need. The way you are supposed to be able to import parts from another library does not always work right, either. The foolproof way is to open that part, select all, copy, then paste that into a new device in your own library. That sucks, but it always works.

First, make the new device, which is the copper and silkscreen and soldermask (soldermask is automatic, for the most part), etc. Then make a symbol for it, which can be as simple as 1 pin for each connection of the device. Then make the component, where you choose the device and the symbol and tie them all together.

If you change a library component that is already in use in a board, you need to open that board and update the library for that part, if you want it to update.

Step 1: Unless your board is very, very simple, you should probably make the schematic first. Avoid at all cost making the board, first, and then having to make a schematic from the board. It's tempting, but don't do it. Even if you have a lot of pins on the micro that can be reconfigured, just wire them up and redo them in the schematic and then route them in the pcb. If you screw up on the pcb, you will "break annotation" with the schematic and it is hard or impossible to fix that in retrospect. If you "break annotation" you might best go back to an earlier save.

General: Route, route, route. If you want to redo a trace, don't ever use delete. Don't ever draw a wire for a copper trace. Connect wires in the schematic. Or if going without a schematic, use signal to connect pads on the pcb. Then use route command and click on the signal in the pcb. Instead of delete, use the "rip-up" command on a trace on the pcb, and then route it over. If you change layers while routing, you automatically make a via. Right clicking while routing will change the curve/angles. Routing is very powerful.

Ground planes: using planes is a whole other learning curve. Fortunately there area lot of good tutorials out there. Making and using planes in Eagle is somewhat complicated, but it has to be because it is very powerful and flexible.

Rats nest: I have no clue why they call this "ratsnest." But if you ever use a ground fill, you must hit this button after every time you move or route a trace that is over a ground fill if you want to see the ground plane change/update. It will also update DRC error outline-thingy if you are running DRC error check.
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