Foon
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Re: PCB and assembly

Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:10 pm

Hi folks,

Just a quick question.  I'm looking to put a small PCB into production soon and I was wondering what suppliers you're using for making and then assembling your PCBs?  A recommendation from you folks on suitable far-east vendors would go a long way in my book

Thanks!

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mahjongg
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Re: PCB and assembly

Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:13 pm

hard to recommend a PCB supplier if you do not give the place where you are.

Foon
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Re: PCB and assembly

Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:19 pm

I'm in the USA but I'm not sure it really matters. I'm looking for someone cheap and I believe that almost certainly means China, Taiwan, or somewhere thereabouts (as the good folks at Raspberry Pi already discovered).


hzrnbgy
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Re: PCB and assembly

Tue Apr 03, 2012 6:12 am

I've used iteadstudio.com prototyping services.

Just takes a while to ship it back in the states

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nick.mccloud
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Re: PCB and assembly

Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:15 am

Have you prototyped this PCB locally first? If not, I'd strongly recommend doing a local build first.

Lakes
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Re: PCB and assembly

Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:14 pm

Is there anything like BatchPCB.com in the Uk for one offs and low volume prototypes?

secretreeve
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Re: PCB and assembly

Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:16 pm

if your looking to mass produce a unit i would recommend doing the following:

BUY THE MATERIALS AND COMPONENTS

1) copper clad board

2) ferric acid

3) what ever components you need on the PCB

4) matt photo paper

DOWNLOAD AND INSTALL EAGLE 6.1.0

once you have eagle installed, create the schematic for the PCB in the schematic mode, then file> switch to board and assemble the PCB in the PCB board mode of the program.

Print the PCB you"ve created into matt photo paper using a LASER PRINTER (THIS WILL NOT WORK WITH INKJET)

place the printed circuit paper onto the copper clad board ink side touching the copper

place a clean sheet of paper over that and using an iron on its hottest setting heat the toner ink onto the copper by applying light to medium pressure for a few minutes

soak it in warm soapy water and gentle remove all the paper.

this should leave you with the ink design on the pcb.

mix/dilute the ferric acid according to packaging instructions (warm acid will etch faster than cold)

place the pcb in the acid and gentle swirl/stir the acid keeping it moving until all the copper has been removed except that under the ink.

cool the pcb and wash thoroughly to remove acid trace

carefuly scrub off the ink without damaging the copper tracks

drill out any through holes needed in the pcb

once dry and clean, the pcb is ready for accepting components.

solder on your components, test the unit making sure everything works fine.

you now have a completely home made prototype PCB and the PCB file you created in eagle will go GREATLY towards mass production as most companies will ask you for this.

google searches for eagle 6.1.0 and "home made PCB" will get you clearer guides with images. I've just entered into business creating drive bay and cooling solutions for desktop computers and have become quite intimate with eagle and pcb etching, any issues feel free to drop me a pm

Velko
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Re: PCB and assembly

Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:01 pm

secretreeve said:


Print the PCB you"ve created into matt photo paper using a LASER PRINTER (THIS WILL NOT WORK WITH INKJET)


Actually there's free alternative to photo paper. Any glossy paper will do. I use advertisement pamphlets, that gets stuffed in my mailbox (finally - a use for snail-mail spam).


place a clean sheet of paper over that and using an iron on its hottest setting heat the toner ink onto the copper by applying light to medium pressure for a few minutes


If iron setting is too high, toner will melt too much and you get blurred tracks, especially if you apply too much pressure. Using cotton setting and "ironing" longer (say - 10 min) usually gives better results.


carefuly scrub off the ink without damaging the copper tracks


Or use paper towel and acetone to wash it off. Nail polish remover will also work.

Unfortunately method described above works only for simple boards (1-sided with fairly wide tracks and spacing). With some skill it is still possible to make 2-sided boards. But if you are going to use tiny SMD parts, chances on success are not good.

secretreeve
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Re: PCB and assembly

Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:43 pm

actually you'll find that it'll work for more complicated boards if you take your time.

i used this method for all prototypes and have had good success with it

hedgehog
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Re: PCB and assembly

Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:21 pm

Another technique is to use a x-y plotter to draw the circuit directly onto the copper with a permanent marker. Ferric chloride doesn't eat the ink which can be cleaned off later with steel wool.

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mahjongg
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Re: PCB and assembly

Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:40 pm

Foon said:


I'm in the USA but I'm not sure it really matters. I'm looking for someone cheap and I believe that almost certainly means China, Taiwan, or somewhere thereabouts (as the good folks at Raspberry Pi already discovered).


Well, if you were in the UK, or somwhere else in Europe, I would have recommended Eurocircuits. http://www.eurocircuits.com/

I also used to order PCB's from Taiwan, but Eurocircuit is much simpler, cheaper and faster. You can order PCB's as a private person too.

It might even be a good choice if you are in the US. Much better quality (with silk screens plated through holes and solder masks) than trying to brew your own, and no stained sinks due to the etching fluids.

secretreeve
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Re: PCB and assembly

Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:28 pm

only reason i recomended etching his own was for the prototype, that way he can ensure that the board and pcb design will work before spending lots of money on mass producing a faulty board

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rurwin
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Re: PCB and assembly

Tue Apr 03, 2012 10:12 pm

This stuff is probably better than either of the paper type espoused above.

I've had success making double-sided boards freehand and using letraset transfers. The secret is to etch one side by floating the board upside down in the tank. (Surface tension is just about strong enough.) Then drill the holes and use them to draw the tracks on the second side.

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scep
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Re: PCB and assembly

Tue Apr 03, 2012 11:15 pm

Alternative to paper if you are etching your own is printing to laser OHP acetates - irons straight on & peels off, no mess. Touch up with permanent OHP pen.

And warm the acid (safely! as hot acid is bad for humans, e.g. water bath outside) - otherwise it takes hours in my experience.

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Jim Manley
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Re: PCB and assembly

Wed Apr 04, 2012 3:21 am

In most places, it"s illegal to dispose of ferric chloride, not to mention the etched copper compounds, down the sink/tub drain, toilet, etc. You"re pouring highly corrosive acid down metal pipes, somewhere along the line, and it goes into a septic system that relies on bacteria to break down the solid waste, which these chemicals will kill. Even if it were legal/organic, you risk staining any porcelain or plastic sinks, toilets, tubs, etc., especially if they have even the smallest chips, dings, scratches, cracks, etc., and wear old clothes (don"t ask me how I know such things ). If you do this, find out where you can safely dispose of the used chemicals, such as the municipal/county/state/province recycling center (sometimes operated by the local waste pickup company).

Also, submersible plastic aquarium water circulation pumps make great agitators to circulate the etchant so you don"t wind up with some areas of the board over-etched, and others under-etched. The etchant can be reused over a number of boards, BTW, but, test a drop on some scrap to see how long it will take (longer as the number of etchings increase with a given reused amount). Also, lightly (it _is_ copper) center-punch all holes before drilling for better accuracy.

It"s a very satisfying experience, though, just take precautions including eye protection, and have plenty of water nearby for inevitable goof-ups.
The best things in life aren't things ... but, a Pi comes pretty darned close! :D
"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." -- W.B. Yeats
In theory, theory & practice are the same - in practice, they aren't!!!

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rurwin
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Re: PCB and assembly

Wed Apr 04, 2012 6:46 am

It is legal and expected in the UK for private individuals to dispose of small amounts of nasty chemicals down the drain. There are no other places to put it; recycling centres take oil but not random chemicals.

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mahjongg
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Re: PCB and assembly

Wed Apr 04, 2012 8:38 am

secretreeve said:


only reason i recomended etching his own was for the prototype, that way he can ensure that the board and pcb design will work before spending lots of money on mass producing a faulty board


Okay, but Eurocircuits (unlike maybe other manufacturers) is especially for making prototypes!

Liberty Zhang
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Re: PCB and assembly

Fri Apr 06, 2012 3:50 am

Hi

This is Liberty from ABP Electronics Ltd who are a professional PCB  & PCBA supplier with ISO9001:2008 and UL approval. We are specialized in 5-200 sets PCB & PCBA quick-turn manufacturing.

If you want to know the prices and lead time for your prototypes, please feel free to contact me. Once we get your files, we will quote you the best prices.

Please contact me by circuit@abp.net.cn

skype ID :Liberty_zhang_abp

Best Regards

Liberty Zhang

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nick.mccloud
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Re: PCB and assembly

Fri Apr 06, 2012 8:03 am

Liberty Zhang said:


This is Liberty from ABP Electronics Ltd who are a professional PCB  & PCBA supplier with ISO9001:2008 and UL approval. We are specialized in 5-200 sets PCB & PCBA quick-turn manufacturing.

If you want to know the prices and lead time for your prototypes, please feel free to contact me. Once we get your files, we will quote you the best prices.


The power of Google Alerts and pro-active marketing!

bobc
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Re: PCB and assembly

Fri Apr 06, 2012 9:16 am

Foon said:


Just a quick question.  I'm looking to put a small PCB into production soon and I was wondering what suppliers you're using for making and then assembling your PCBs?  A recommendation from you folks on suitable far-east vendors would go a long way in my book



I know people have used http://www.goldphoenixpcb.com/ successfully for large run PCB manufacture. They can also do assembly, I don't know anyone who has used that service.

For small run quick-turnaround prototypes, finding a local supplier is best idea. If you are not so worried about time, try a service like batchpcb.com or seeedstudio.

rbergamin
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Re: PCB and assembly

Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:57 pm

I used http://www.bittele.com twice and the product quality was acceptable and shipping was fast.  Good customer service as well.

There's another company which I never used:  http://www.aapcb.com. They aren't cheap.

did anyone try this place?
http://www.4pcb.com

Lakes
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Re: PCB and assembly

Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:01 am

What about this for one offs?

http://www.audesine.com/index......8;Itemid=1

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rurwin
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Re: PCB and assembly

Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:00 am

Audesine look interesting until you see that their last panel was produced in October, and their next one is still only 30% full.

I've used PCB-Pool before. For two off of a 2-layer board the size of the RaspPi it works out between €40 and €90, depending on whether you want silkscreen, solder resist and electrical test.

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