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Thread: PCB development and Vendor

  1. #1
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    Default PCB development and Vendor

    I am really taking and trying to understand our boards and concepts to the point of creating my own concepts or things that suit my needs for this hobby or others.

    This might help others, but i was wondering what proto-type vendor do people recommend for creating and printing PCB's dual sided capable?

    and to keep it going what software do you recommend to use to layout the boards and or test the circuitry of what you created.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: PCB development and Vendor

    Look at Eagle (free version) or Kicad. DesignSpark is there too but I think you have to pay extra for Gerber creation.

    As for prototypes I like OSHPark - for small boards it's hard to beat. Anything beyond that and then there are other possibilities (besides etching your own of course).
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: PCB development and Vendor

    Quote Originally Posted by budude View Post
    Look at Eagle (free version) or Kicad. DesignSpark is there too but I think you have to pay extra for Gerber creation.

    As for prototypes I like OSHPark - for small boards it's hard to beat. Anything beyond that and then there are other possibilities (besides etching your own of course).
    is there a way to silk screen the labels on the pcbs yourself or is that a vendor only add-on
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: PCB development and Vendor

    I'm not sure what you're asking - do you mean adding a silk screen for your own etched boards? If so, yes you can do that but most don't bother. If you meant production boards, then it's just another layer and part of most PCB board builds (it is with OSH).
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    Default Re: PCB development and Vendor

    Quote Originally Posted by budude View Post
    Look at Eagle (free version) or Kicad. DesignSpark is there too but I think you have to pay extra for Gerber creation.

    As for prototypes I like OSHPark - for small boards it's hard to beat. Anything beyond that and then there are other possibilities (besides etching your own of course).
    A very timely post. I'm working on evolving a project and will be ready to send out a new board for fabrication. I used SeeedStudio before and was pleased. budude, have you used OSHPark yourself? It would be helpful to avoid the long transit time and/or expedited shipping costs by finding a fab in the US.

    BTW, my previous design was done with DesignSpark and there are absolutely no limits (including no costs for Gerber creation). Unless the newer versions have added that restriction I recommend DesignSpark.

    Edit: Just had a quick look and it appears that OSHPark is about 2x the cost (excluding shipping) for quick-turn 2 layer boards. I don't know enough about the PCB world to be able to compare quality of boards based on specs (and design rules) and would appreciate insight there also.
    Last edited by ags0000; 10-05-2013 at 12:47 PM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: PCB development and Vendor

    Quote Originally Posted by ags0000 View Post
    A very timely post. I'm working on evolving a project and will be ready to send out a new board for fabrication. I used SeeedStudio before and was pleased. budude, have you used OSHPark yourself? It would be helpful to avoid the long transit time and/or expedited shipping costs by finding a fab in the US.

    BTW, my previous design was done with DesignSpark and there are absolutely no limits (including no costs for Gerber creation). Unless the newer versions have added that restriction I recommend DesignSpark.
    OK - you're right I was thinking of another PCB SW that came out and was posted here (can't remember the name...) - it was free too but you had to pay $49 to get Gerber output - boo... Personally I don't care for Kicad or DesignSpark but I said that about Eagle when I started using it too... I like DipTrace but it's not free - I used it for quite a while though - very easy to use. Once you get over some of Eagle's quirks it's not too bad and there is lots of library support for it. I saw on the EEVBlog that Altium may come out with a free version at some point.
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: PCB development and Vendor

    Quote Originally Posted by ags0000 View Post
    A very timely post. I'm working on evolving a project and will be ready to send out a new board for fabrication. I used SeeedStudio before and was pleased. budude, have you used OSHPark yourself? It would be helpful to avoid the long transit time and/or expedited shipping costs by finding a fab in the US.

    BTW, my previous design was done with DesignSpark and there are absolutely no limits (including no costs for Gerber creation). Unless the newer versions have added that restriction I recommend DesignSpark.

    Edit: Just had a quick look and it appears that OSHPark is about 2x the cost (excluding shipping) for quick-turn 2 layer boards. I don't know enough about the PCB world to be able to compare quality of boards based on specs (tand design rules) and would appreciate insight there also.
    I've been very happy with elecrow. For the same or cheaper price than osh park you get 10 copies and in my experience even with airmail shipping options they take about as long as oshpark did with my few orders I ran with them before using elecrow.
    I've also had orders with Dhl shipping that took 7 days from upload to delivery.

    I use the free version of eagle for all my layout.
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: PCB development and Vendor

    I went round and round with Eagle (felt like it was always fighting with me!) and played with KiCad a little before settling on DipTrace. It's very user friendly and free versions are available. A 2 layer 300pin version is downloadable from http://www.diptrace.com/download.php and you can request a key to upgrade to the 500 pin non-profit version for free. For getting boards made, OSH park is great if you're wanting only a very few copies of a small board. As your board grows in size, it gets expensive quick and the places like Seeed and Elecrow become more affordable. Once you have a design laid out, it's easy enough to upload your gerbers to OSH park and their system will generate an estimate for you.

    The board laid out like a DIP costs me $5.40 shipped and the one with the RJ45 jacks was $3.95 shipped (3 copies each) to give an idea for pricing vs size from OSH park.

    XmegaE5-renIO_proto by smerrick, on Flickr

    On the left is a 10cmx10cm panel from Elecrow:

    Elecrow FloodBrain & MiniSSR-FW order by smerrick, on Flickr

    And here's the main board board from that panel sitting in a TA-200 case for size comparison. That's the same processor used on the DIP in the first pic as well:

    Power! by smerrick, on Flickr
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: PCB development and Vendor

    That's good to hear that DipTrace has a free version now - may have to download that as my licensed version is very old now.
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