(Topic ID: 95624)

Custom PCB for mods?


By ForceFlow

6 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 17 posts
  • 10 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 6 years ago by ecurtz
  • Topic is favorited by 4 Pinsiders

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    #1 6 years ago

    I was kicking around the idea of putting together a mod, but I would need a custom PCB for it.

    So, I did some searching and the prices I saw for some of these services almost made me fall out of my chair.

    At most, this PCB would be 4.5" x 2", possibly slightly smaller. It also needs to have a row of edge connector contacts--I'm not sure how close to the edge that things can be printed. It's only a doodle on paper at this point, though.

    Do you have a go-to site for that isn't too expensive for printing out small quantities of custom PCBs?

    Thanks

    #2 6 years ago

    I use this technique for custom PCBs...
    http://pinball-mods.com/blogs/?p=437
    but I think your asking about a custom PCB design; not necessarily a shape.

    I use OSHPark for prototypes of 3 units. They can be pricy; but not really for prototyping. I've seen much more prototype prices at other vendors. That's what I've done for several designs including the Klingon BOP mod: http://pinball-mods.com/blogs/?p=452

    Once you have the design debugged; I usually outsource to overseas companies. For example; http://www.Smart-ProtoTyping.com has larger volumes for cheapish and they'll send you a metal stencil (for like 20bucks).

    #3 6 years ago

    OSHPark for prototypes and I used Advanced circuits for production in Colorado.

    #4 6 years ago
    Quoted from Zitt:

    but I think your asking about a custom PCB design; not necessarily a shape.

    I guesstimated the dimensions of the PCB I was designing so I would be able to use the cost estimate/quote features on various custom PCB websites.

    However, this isn't looking like a cheap option, so I might fall back on just using wire since the design is simple enough. Or maybe use the homebrew PCB ironing method that I saw pop up a few times.

    I dunno, I'll have to think on it.

    Thanks for the input guys

    #5 6 years ago

    I agree with Zitt, I use OSH Park for small proto runs then go overseas for larger runs.

    #6 6 years ago

    The best somewhat unrestricted proto deal I have found was also Advance Circuits (4pcb.com) with the $33 deal. While it used to be a min. of 3 boards but now it is 4. They don't restrict you on drill sizes and provide a pretty decent size limit on the board dims. If you are fairly confident in your design, it sure beats point to point or wire wrapping.

    They also have a bare bones deal which gives you another really cheap option in less than a week.

    #7 6 years ago

    TBH; Maybe I'm just getting lazier in my older ages... but I find Homebrew boards to be frustrating. I did it when I was younger... and money was tight. But now; I find my time is better spent working on something else while I wait for a "production"-quality board to come back from OSHPark.

    If my designs were single sided; yeah - I might still do it. But more often or not... I need a complex board with two layers; so I opt for the easier route. I have some maker buddies at work; and they seem to be gravitating to the same modusoperandi .

    Anyway; glad I could help... if I did.

    #8 6 years ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    I guesstimated the dimensions of the PCB I was designing so I would be able to use the cost estimate/quote features on various custom PCB websites.
    However, this isn't looking like a cheap option, so I might fall back on just using wire since the design is simple enough. Or maybe use the homebrew PCB ironing method that I saw pop up a few times.
    I dunno, I'll have to think on it.
    Thanks for the input guys

    how many are you making? if it's <10 then you are better off just trying to find a protoboard that fits your need... doing a run of PCBs is pretty pricey

    #9 6 years ago
    Quoted from flecom:

    how many are you making? if it's <10 then you are better off just trying to find a protoboard that fits your need... doing a run of PCBs is pretty pricey

    I also use Advanced Circuits out of colorado. Their $33 full-spec deal is pretty good for prototyping, and is good for up to 60 square inch boards, minimum of 4.

    If you don't mind being stuck into their proprietary software, and only need a one-time order, express PCB is another choice. They have a 3 for $51 'miniboard' deal, but their dimensional limit is more strict in that they have to be 2.5" x 3.8"... no bigger, no smaller.

    -Hans

    #10 6 years ago

    $132 for 4 boards I would consider to be pretty pricey...

    I do all my prototypes on protoboard with wire... when it's finalized if I feel it's something I need a lot of I send them off to china to be printed... cost me a couple dollars per board but I have to order a ton of them

    #11 6 years ago
    Quoted from flecom:

    how many are you making? if it's <10 then you are better off just trying to find a protoboard that fits your need... doing a run of PCBs is pretty pricey

    No idea yet. I was going to build a prototype first for myself then see if there was any interest in them later.

    Quoted from Zitt:

    TBH; Maybe I'm just getting lazier in my older ages... but I find Homebrew boards to be frustrating. I did it when I was younger... and money was tight. But now; I find my time is better spent working on something else while I wait for a "production"-quality board to come back from OSHPark.
    If my designs were single sided; yeah - I might still do it. But more often or not... I need a complex board with two layers; so I opt for the easier route. I have some maker buddies at work; and they seem to be gravitating to the same modusoperandi .
    Anyway; glad I could help... if I did.

    This would only be a single-sided design, but yeah, you're probably right. I'm not too keen on messing around with the chemicals necessary to strip the umasked copper from the board.

    I'm trying to keep the whole cost of one complete mod below $20. $7 of that is already for the electronics and connectors. So, if I could print boards for less than $13, I'd be a happy camper.

    #12 6 years ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    I'm trying to keep the whole cost of one complete mod below $20. $7 of that is already for the electronics and connectors. So, if I could print boards for less than $13, I'd be a happy camper.

    My 1x2in Klingon Bird of prey mod was only $19 for 3 boards from oshpark.

    Is $2 is really that big of a barrier?

    OSHPark:
    "$5 per square inch, which includes three copies of your design. For example, a 2 square inch board would cost $10"

    So. 4.5 * 2 = 9sq inches * $5 = $45 for three boards. $45/3 = $15 minus a target of $13 = $2
    Is $2 really worth the pain at this point?

    http://smart-prototyping.com/PCB-Prototyping.html:
    10boards @ 15cmX 10cmY = $43.60 + S&H ... so ~4.36 / board

    #13 6 years ago
    Quoted from Zitt:

    My 1x2in Klingon Bird of prey mod was only $19 for 3 boards from oshpark.
    Is $2 is really that big of a barrier?
    OSHPark:
    "$5 per square inch, which includes three copies of your design. For example, a 2 square inch board would cost $10"
    So. 4.5 * 2 = 9sq inches * $5 = $45 for three boards. $45/3 = $15 minus a target of $13 = $2
    Is $2 really worth the pain at this point?
    http://smart-prototyping.com/PCB-Prototyping.html:
    10boards @ 15cmX 10cmY = $43.60 + S&H ... so ~4.36 / board

    Hm..I was figuring it would be a lot more than that. Ok, that's much more reasonable. Thanks for pointing that out

    #15 6 years ago

    i like oshpark for small bards, elecrow for larger boards..

    #16 6 years ago

    I use futurlec for large runs of smaller boards. Takes a while to receive since they come from asia, but I've always been happy with them.

    #17 6 years ago

    I've used Seeed Studio for 50-100 boards. They seem like good guys for a Chinese company, to the extent I can tell anything from here. OSHPark for the initial tests, just like many others have already endorsed.

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