Search Terms Needed to Find Small Run PCB Population

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Hey folks. I am in need of some advice. I'm from Ann Arbor, MI, USA. I need to build about 6 units of a device I created for my job. I have circuit boards (4 different boards per unit) and the parts I want put on the boards. It takes me too long to build all these units (20-30 SMD parts per board). When I google for small run PCB population/assembly services, I only get companies that will populate hundreds to thousands. I dont want to spend more than like 500 dollars to have the soldering done. Where do I find a mom and pop store to do this for me? Are there better search terms that will yield more companies than what I'm finding locally. Again, I want to have about 16 circuit boards populated with about 30 components each, what do I search for on Google to find a company that will do this affordably? Are services like this even offered?

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Can't help you with searching, but there are a number of houses out here that do that sort of thing. A big one is "Screaming Circuits". A mom-and-pop one is "MegaTech of Oregon".

I have been told by the MegaTech folks that they do small runs by hand. They have skilled people who do it, so it goes a lot faster but the investment into solder paste screens, and the programming of pick/place machines is just too high for a small run.

I would look for "contract manufacturer" as part of the search process.

Jim

Jim Wagner Oregon Research Electronics, Consulting Div. Tangent, OR, USA http://www.orelectronics.net

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Thanks Jim, appreciate it =) I'll give these shops a call later on today, I can call them later as they are hours behind me. Any chance these guys know you so I can say you referred me in the hopes of getting a discount? Sorry my company is cheap =(

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Quote:

It takes me too long to build all these units (20-30 SMD parts per board).

Quote:

I have been told by the MegaTech folks that they do small runs by hand. They have skilled people who do it, so it goes a lot faster but the investment into solder paste screens, and the programming of pick/place machines is just too high for a small run.


Exactly. You >>could<< have a board house do it for you with the full setup but the cost would be onerus. It would take them as long to do your few pieces as it would for a full run of a few hundred. Maybe more, trying to load just a few pieces of a part.

I guess how much is your time worth to you? If you "pay yourself" $1/component, would you save that money rather than pay someone else?

Are you obtaining/kitting the parts?

We build quite a bit of stuff for short runs "by hand", often with many more components than you mentioned.

In your area you should be able to find listings for "board houses". Look for those that advertise "rework" capabilities. If you have everything in proper shape it may not be too costly.

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.

I've never met a pig I didn't like, as long as you have some salt and pepper.

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Nope, neither place "knows" me.

Screaming Circuits is sort of on the outer edge of metro Portland. Lots of high-tech, startups, etc. MegaTech has accounts from all over the country, even though they are quite small. They seem to be pretty easy to work with.

Jim

Jim Wagner Oregon Research Electronics, Consulting Div. Tangent, OR, USA http://www.orelectronics.net

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You could also place an ad in the local papers, there's probably someone around town skilled enough with an iron to do it on the cheap side for you.

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I've worked a lot with both Screaming Circuits in Canby, OR and Printed Circuits Assembly in Bellevue, WA. Both are very good.

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Look for someone that can do "surface mount electronics assembly", maybe in Craig's List. If they have their own Metcal iron that costs a couple hundred bux, they're probably able to operate it. What's the rule of thumb for manual electronics assembly? X number of Rs and Cs per min? Or X cents per component? It's a linear programming problem. It's more expensive per board up to where the NRE for loading the reels in the machine starts to pay off. Certainly more than 100 boards. Doesn't pay to load the reels in the machine for less than about 500 boards. I think.

Imagecraft compiler user

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This is something I'd be willing and interested in doing. I've recently become "short on work" since February. If you are interested PM me and we can work out details and answer any questions I'm sure you will have. I can also provide references at that time.

Roger Lewis

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Thanks to all you guys. First time having to do something like this for my job, big help here as always. Our company has been burned by the craigslist contractors a few times but all your advices got me moving in the right direction.

Thanks,
Steven

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We have had good experiences with:
http://www.aapcb.com/

Local here in Colorado.

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Several years ago I used http://www.pgftech.com/index.htm, they are in Rochester Hills, MI. They did 50 units and the yield was 100%.

It all starts with a mental vision.

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Not sure if you found what you needed, but in case you're still looking I know pcb solutions takes large and small clients.

There are 3 kinds of people in the world. Those who know how to count and those who don't.

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Are you all set with this challenge? If not I could help point you in the right direction.

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Yah thanks, I've got enough options now, appreciate it =)