How do they do Cheap PCB?

Go To Last Post
39 posts / 0 new
Author
Message
#1
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

All of you have seen PC main boards, They are something like 30cmX30cm multilayer board with lots of components mounted on top of them, a nice BOX and a few cables, a DVD or CD Rom and more...they range from 30USD upwards.
SO my question is that where do they do their PCB?
I have contacted several Chinese PCB manufactures for a simple two layer board in the range of 70PC's, but all of them cost a lot compared to those things(PC mother boards)!

I love Digital
and you who involved in it!

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

Did you forget to ask for the price of 1 million boards every month ?

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

Quote:
Did you forget to ask for the price of 1 million boards every month ?

Do you think the raspberry pi ordered 1milion units every month?or at least one time 1 million boards?

I love Digital
and you who involved in it!

Last Edited: Tue. Jun 5, 2012 - 11:50 AM
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

Probably more !

Everything has a price. You do not know what it is until you ask.

David.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

For small quantities and hobby experiments this seems not expensive at all:

http://iteadstudio.com/store/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=19_20

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

Alternatively You could do something like this...

www.iconicpcb.com

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

Quote:
Alternatively You could do something like this...

www.iconicpcb.com


They say they can do Minimum track to track isolation gap 0.008”

It's not good! and i do not think they can do cheap PCBs.

I love Digital
and you who involved in it!

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

As gdhospers mentined above, iTeadStudio seems to have great prices for PCB manufacturing. (Just for making the PCB, not for also populating it).

Alan, (ToAlan), pointed me there and I ordered 10 small PCBs from them. Manufacturing and shipping, from China, cost about what the shipping charges alone were had I ordered from ExpressPCB, whom I've used many times in the past!

I purchased them when ITeadStudio was having a "sale" on the small boards, but even so, their non-sale price is practically a give-away.

The board is shown here . Nothing fancy, just two chips, and my first time using a new PCB layout program, which JS pointed me to.

It is hard to imagine how they make any money on these small sales.

It is hard to imagine how little they must pay their employees.

JC

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

pcbcart.com - just got a quote for 200 off 1.1 x 1.5 PTH, 51 holes 49 cents.1000 off 25 cents etc.
As above, there's plenty of China sources....

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

I had my boards made here

A GIF is worth a thousend words   They are called Rosa, Sylvia, Tricia, and Ulyana. You can find them https://www.linuxmint.com/

Dragon broken ? http://aplomb.nl/TechStuff/Dragon/Dragon.html for how-to-fix tips

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

Another PCB thread?

Don't forget SeeedStudio, which uses the same factory as iTead.
http://www.seeedstudio.com/depot...

And I've had great 4 layer boards from Laen of DorkbotPDX.
http://dorkbotpdx.org/wiki/pcb_o...

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

Too many choices! I think we need a new PCB thread every few months 'cause new services keep showing up. I find a new PCB tread very timely. I've been selling 1s and 2s of my hand made contraptions for a while, now somebody's asking, "Can you make me 50 things that do?" (It's pretty simple, no strings to deal with)

If you don't know my whole story, keep your mouth shut.

If you know my whole story, you're an accomplice. Keep your mouth shut. 

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

I heard that for large volume the cost is as low as 5 cents per square inch, I suppose the price will reflect the cost of the raw materials at high volume.

In my last assembly quote for a PCB slightly less than 1 inch squared, I was charged 13 cents for the PCB in 1k qty.

It is no surprise that for small volume prototyping the fees associated with setup, verification, programming etc... are the dominate costs.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

DocJC wrote:
As gdhospers mentined above, iTeadStudio seems to have great prices for PCB manufacturing. (Just for making the PCB, not for also populating it).

Alan, (ToAlan), pointed me there and I ordered 10 small PCBs from them. Manufacturing and shipping, from China, cost about what the shipping charges alone were had I ordered from ExpressPCB, whom I've used many times in the past!

I purchased them when ITeadStudio was having a "sale" on the small boards, but even so, their non-sale price is practically a give-away.

The board is shown here . Nothing fancy, just two chips, and my first time using a new PCB layout program, which JS pointed me to.

It is hard to imagine how they make any money on these small sales.

It is hard to imagine how little they must pay their employees.

JC

Yes, it is quite scary to think of what type of margins they can live with. Makes the rest of us look like lazy greedy slobs.

What is even more scary is that from my experience the quality from itead and seeedstudio has actually increased. In the past I once got screwed with them not able to meet the 6 mil trace/space. A few months ago I did another 6 mil trace/space PCB and ordered from itead, I was expecting only to use the PCB to test how it fit into my case and pay more later on for a functional PCB from a more expensive place. That PCB worked perfectly, and I have since ordered another half a dozen orders of 6 mil trace/space pcbs and they all worked perfectly.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

Quote:
They say they can do Minimum track to track isolation gap 0.008”

It's not good! and i do not think they can do cheap PCBs.

Correction

0.008" as a matter of course and 0.004" as an absolute minimum.

And Yes you are right Iconicpcb does not make cheap boards, they provide quality quick response service.

As we know quality is like oats. Once its been through a horse it is a bit cheaper.

Just for the rooms edification I received the following message from an Asian source

Quote:

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: PCB design, fabrication and assembly one-stop
Date: Tue, 5 Jun 2012 16:20:51 +0800 (GMT+08:00)
From:

Dear friend,

This is Lisa from JXT PCB. Our company is one high quality, high precision and special Printed circuit board value-added services provider in China.

Products and services as below:
1, Quick turn PCB, Prototype PCB (12- 72 Hours Fast Delivery)
2, Rigid PCB, Flexible PCB (FPC), Rigid-flex PCB, Metal base / core PCB, Microwave / high frequency PCB
3, PCB design, fabrication and assembly one-stop service
4, High quality products, Competitive price, Professional services, Fast delivery

I look forward to having nice cooperation with you in the near future and appreciate to get your response at your earliest convenience.

--
Best regards!

Lisa
Jxt International Limited
Tel: 86-755-29760917
Msn: jxtchinasales1@hotmail.com
Skype: jxtsales1

As You can see it has been presented verbatum.

I draw Your attention to item 3) in the list and invite Your comments apropos Your future as designers in the game of electronics.

In particular I invite You to speculate just how "cheap" You will HAVE to become in order not to have to learn to flip burgers or pull coffees in what will doubtless become of your economy.

Sorry about doom and gloom ... but she'll be coming round the mountain when she comes.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

There doesn't seem to be a problem getting 'cheap' pcbs, but more of a problem getting reasonably priced pcbs of good quality. For hobbyist stuff, a dodgy soldermask isn't a deal breaker, but if you have 100 boards with $100 of parts loaded onto it and all the pcbs are suspect, then you might start to think about the real cost of the pcb. I've had boards from supposedly high quality manufacturers that have stated 100% electrically tested with an obvious track defect! Similarly boards with improperly cured soldermask that bubbled and peeled off when put through the solder oven.These were only double sided 12 thou track and space boards! Imagine the problems of a defective 6 layer pcb that was supoposedly 100% tested? As for assembly, I've had boards with counterfeit chips that work for a while but slowly die. Suddenly a $0.50 chip is causing replacement costs in excess of the cost of the board. Even Raspberry Pi had issues with a normal RJ45 socket fitted instead of a RJ45 magjack.

Enough of my rant!

With any sort of production, it is the set up that puts a baseline to the cost. Once a machine is set up, all you basically do is feed it. When you do 1000's that's when the cost per unit drops as the setup time is dwarfed by the production time.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

Wow, that JXTPCB site was an exercise in on-site SEO, with lots of pictures with various variants of "PCB" in the alt text and local links...

I can second Laen/DorkbotPDX as making fantastic PCBs, and iteadstudio.com as making fully workable PCBs very cheap. Pay the $25 for 3-4 day DHL shipping, and get 10x of your 4x4 inches board for $50 in less than two weeks. (Just board -- not components and assembly, of course)

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

Thanks guys for your reply. But I think we should have something similar to core-mark or DMIPS in CPU arena, but for PCB manufacturers.
Can we have a chart and that chart rank PCB manufactures?
And by cheap PCB I mean good quality like PC motherboards and low price!
In Iran I work with a company and they do PCB's for me around 6 cents per 1cm square in single qty.
But I wanted to find a better alternative!
Should I keep my fingers corssed?

I love Digital
and you who involved in it!

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

I would have thought that 6cents/cm sq. was a very competitive world wide price....

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

High quality and cheap usually don't go together.

Single quantity means prototype, surely the price of a prototype cannot be a major burden on a project-budget? Unless you happen to regularly design 16+ layer boards with 4 mill traces, buried/blind/laser cut/filled via's, speciality substrates... but even then, if you design such things the engineering costs dwarf the cost of a PCB.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

Quote:
High quality and cheap usually don't go together.

It's buried into moore's law...every 18 months they can make 2 times transistors, So if you see it the other way it means every 18 months you can get the same performance with half the price! So i think Engineers is about to combine High quality and cheap!

I love Digital
and you who involved in it!

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

Ali_dehbidi wrote:
In Iran I work with a company and they do PCB's for me around 6 cents per 1cm square in single qty.
Ali, is that the only cost? No NRE? (non-recurring engineering costs = setup) 6 cents per cm2 is about 39 cents per in2 which is very very good. Maybe I should get "your man" to do my prototypes :lol:

Cheers,

Ross

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

Ali,

How much is engineering time in Iran?

Must be 1$/hour ( you know Moores law.. every 18 months an engineer earns half as much he/she did the previous 18 month)?

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

Quote:

It's buried into moore's law...every 18 months they can make 2 times transistors, So if you see it the other way it means every 18 months you can get the same performance with half the price!

This is a naive interpretation of Moores Law.

Welcome to capitalism, where other mechanisms than Moores Law come into play. Supply and demand, speculation into the future etc. Even nature herself comes into play sometimes - a flooded hard disk factory could in turn affect the supply/demand equation and thus prices.

As of January 15, 2018, Site fix-up work has begun! Now do your part and report any bugs or deficiencies here

No guarantees, but if we don't report problems they won't get much of  a chance to be fixed! Details/discussions at link given just above.

 

"Some questions have no answers."[C Baird] "There comes a point where the spoon-feeding has to stop and the independent thinking has to start." [C Lawson] "There are always ways to disagree, without being disagreeable."[E Weddington] "Words represent concepts. Use the wrong words, communicate the wrong concept." [J Morin] "Persistence only goes so far if you set yourself up for failure." [Kartman]

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

ignoramus wrote:

Must be 1$/hour ( you know Moores law.. every 18 months an engineer earns half as much he/she did the previous 18 month)?

Oh, that's my problem.

If you don't know my whole story, keep your mouth shut.

If you know my whole story, you're an accomplice. Keep your mouth shut. 

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

Quote:
Ali, is that the only cost? No NRE? (non-recurring engineering costs = setup) 6 cents per cm2 is about 39 cents per in2 which is very very good. Maybe I should get "your man" to do my prototypes

He can do only 2 layer boards with 8mil minimum tracks and spaces and 0.3mm minimum hole sizes,
He also charges about 10USD for set up fees...(it depends on your file) for no solder mask.if you want solder mask and silk screen it will rise to .11usd per cm/sqr and needs about 30USD setup fee.
If you want you can send your file and I can call my man to tell you a quote.

Quote:
Must be 1$/hour ( you know Moores law.. every 18 months an engineer earns half as much he/she did the previous 18 month)?

No that means every 18 months we need half engineers! We need to fire half of them!
Don’t you see cortex devices, you can get LPC1768 and ATXMEGA128A1 around the same price, but compare performance…flash size, ram size etc…
Or did you see AT89C51 and ATmega8… they have similar prices…but with a ton of performance increased in mega!
Or you can see your mobile phone…you can buy your first version iphone at the same price of the latest iphone revision.

I love Digital
and you who involved in it!

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

Moore's law applies to semiconductors, not to other fields .

Houses don't get twice as big and twice as cheap every 18 months.

And the cheap PCBs nowadays is only due too pooling. They combine boatloads of little designs into a few big boards. That's why costs rise dramatically if you want something less common.

If I go to a regular local board house, setups costs can easily be a few hundred Euro as they don't differentiate between one or a half a million boards. The films stay exactly the same, as the is work to prepare them.

And PCB manufacture is a fairly complicated process, can easily be 60 steps or more.

And the raw materials aren't cheap, the cost of copper has risen dramatically the last decade; the cost environmental friendly processing of used dangerous chemicals is also a factor; though I guess they care somewhat less about that in China.

All factors that have nothing to do with Moore's law. PCB technology of course has improved over the decades. Not too long ago a 10/10 spacing was quite space-age and costly; as were multilayers. Processes have improved that 6 mil is run off the mill.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

When I take my car to a mechanic he will charge me $90/hour to change oil , a no brainer task.

Ali, what is the hourly rate one pays a mechanic in Your economy to service a car?
How many hours do You have to work in order to be able to afford a mechanic's hour?

This question assumes You are a university graduate engineer.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

Seems to apply to software people.

If you don't know my whole story, keep your mouth shut.

If you know my whole story, you're an accomplice. Keep your mouth shut. 

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

Ok...let's forget about moore's law

I love Digital
and you who involved in it!

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

Lately I've been going through itead PCBs like potato chips - churning lots of variant designs on some ideas. I've had exactly one bad board, and that was seriously bad - a few traces etched to almost nothingness, peeled up and floated around before being re-glued via the solder mask. These boards have all been 0.008" traces.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

kk6gm wrote:
I've had exactly one bad board, and that was seriously bad

Just clarifying - were the other boards from that batch ok?

thanks.

- S

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

mnehpets wrote:
kk6gm wrote:
I've had exactly one bad board, and that was seriously bad

Just clarifying - were the other boards from that batch ok?

thanks.

- S


Yes, just one bad board in the one batch. Lunkhead that I am, that's the one I picked to populate and test, before looking closely at it. I had been lulled by previous lack of problems.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

Don't know if I already mentioned this:
iteadstudio.com charges $9.95 plus shipping for 10 copies of a 5x5cm board that's double-sided, solder mask, silk screen, and down to 6 mil (8 mil recommended.) with about a 3-5-day turnaround time.
That's 4 cents per cm2 per board, or 40 cents per cm2 per order, with no set-up fee.
RoHS, HASL, ENIG are available but cost extra.
DHL shipping (3 days) is $25 to the US; don't know what economy shipping is because I just don't like to wait that much ;-)

seeedstudio.com apparently uses the same board house and has about the same prices, but I haven't actually bought from them, so I can't vouch for them as a customer.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

Just saw on Hack-A-Day $5 per sq in for 3 copies of a 2 sided board, $10 per sq in for 3 copies of a 4 layer board. Order in multiples of 3.

$1 per sq in for small runs 150sq in minimum order. Order in multiples of 10 boards.

http://www.oshpark.com/

The Xenon advert on the left might have them beat. Nope, Xenon wants a $99 setup fee.

(Probably wouldn't be useful for Iranian freaks, but maybe handy for Americans.)

If you don't know my whole story, keep your mouth shut.

If you know my whole story, you're an accomplice. Keep your mouth shut. 

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

Torby

Did you know that's laen (dorkbotPDX), with a new wrapper?

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

That's what the Hack-A-Day page said.

If you don't know my whole story, keep your mouth shut.

If you know my whole story, you're an accomplice. Keep your mouth shut. 

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

As with everything else in this world, it's a compromise. Pick 3 important points and you can choose 2. Quality/Price/Turnaround. You can have really good price really fast, but the quality will suffer. You can have great quality cheap, but the turnaround will be very slow.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

I have ordered from seedstudio a couple of times. Generally, the quality is good. However, you get what you pay for. Don't expect them to be able to accommodate fine pitch parts. They need 5.12mils (.127mm) for solder mask expansion on each side of the pad. That means they cannot produce 0.5mm pitch pads with solder mask between them. I found this out the hard way. Read their specs very closely and don't expect anything more.