These guys have a bunch of different options for cheap boards. The fastest is barebonespcb.com , which will get your boards shipped next day, no solder mask, etc. for $35 and a sq. in. cost. This seems to be one of the cheaper method available online. I've used it a lot and have no complaints. Since it's square-inch priced you can panelize (put mulitple designs on one PCB and cut it with a saw your shear) Another method, if you're a student, is their $33 deal where you can get a 60sq.in. board for $33 ($50 after shipping) with soldermask and top silkscreen. If you're not a student, theres a 3-part minimum, so its $100. Still, a good deal if you want soldermask. If you want to panelize this design they'll add $50. They'll rip you off on shipping, so be sure to calculate that into your total!-- ladyada.net
It’s hard for me to think why I would not use BatchPCB unless I really needed boards quicker than two weeks. If I need something in under a week, I’d go withPCB Fab Express. And, if I really am in some kind of project where I need dozens of printed circuit boards, I’d almost certainly go with BatchPCB — it’s just the best value. --Near Future Laboratory
This is the company Sparkfun uses for their cheap PCB service. You can get 1000 sq cm of PCBs for about $100. Yow! Check out Julian Bleekers very nice review. I order prototypes from them, but for production be sure to go with electrical testing as I've had a few flawed PCBs (vias that dont connect thru, etc)-- ladyada.net
I’ve been using Gold Phoenix when I need more boards as soon as possible — under a week. I haven’t completely run the numbers, but it’s pretty clear that for more than 10 boards or so, they’re the place to go to.--Near Future Laboratory
Both times I've used gold phoenix I've had my boards arrive in under 10 days. Quality of the boards is perfect although I only did 2 layer boards.
Always received more boards than what they quote as well. My last order was for boards less than 1x1" so I should have only received 100. Ended up with 3 v-scored panels of 50 each. They also appeared to have done a visual/electrical inspection because 2 boards were marked with an X.
If you have a few designs to be made, the extra fees for multiple designs isn't too bad and the overall price is pretty good. If your board has a common use you can always sell them or split the costs with others who want the same thing.
Also, I'm certain I read somewhere that Gold Phoenix are the ones who do all the fabrication for BatchPCB.
"If all designs on the panel are square and the same size, V score can be applied to the panel and number of project is 20." $30 extra, design all your prototype boards to be the same size if you can, and its pretty cheap.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2010, 06:10:25 AM by metalphreak »
I recommend Gold Phoenix as well. I have had at least 5 panels made over the years by them and I have always been happy with the quality. They will route your boards to any shape you like (I like round corners) and allow you to put up to 6 different designs on a panel for $30 extra.
I buy the 100 or 155 sq. inch package then add $30 for multiple designs and $20 for "complex board shape"
So I end up at $150 or so for 6 different designs all with any shape I want and several copies of each. As others have said I always receive more boards than I order. Sometimes I have even had my order doubled for free.
Turn around time is under 2 weeks. I think the best I have received is about 10 days and the worst is around 15. --cjk2
Reviews: The software is lame, but the service is pretty good, apparently. I haven't had time to try it out though. Seems to be pretty much identical to Advanced Circuits in pricing and structure: Cheap (no silk/mask) next-day PCBs, a couple-day prototype service with green mask and white silkscreen, and then a more detailed 'production' service.
Summary: Quick turn-around. No hand-holding despite getting a sales call and promise of an email once I submitted. $82.59 with shipping for 5 boards, $16.52 per board, $6.19 per square inch. They took normal Gerber’s RS274X. ----Near Future Laboratory
PCBFabExpress will make boards up to 10 in.sq. for $15 each in a quantity of 5 with a 5 day turn. This includes solder mask and silk screen. I've used them a number of times with great results. The 5 day turn usually seems to slip a few days.... --Jon Chandler
An update about my order from sunstone: I ordered the boards late at night on Friday Sept 24, so they basically got my order Monday morning on Sept 20th. My PCBs shipped out on Wednesday Sept 22nd! Due to UPS being very slow and the crappy mail service at my uni I didn't get the boards until today. Anyway, the boards look very professional and very well done. I ordered three 0.7 x 1.95in boards for about $37 shipped which is pretty dam good considering a lead time of two days + shipping time. When ever I need small boards done fast I think these guys will definitely be getting my business from now on. --TopherTheME
BatchPCB (SparkFun Prototyping) They have a 'prototypers' service, $10 + $2.50 per sq in. They use Gold Phoenix as their downstream provider, its probably good for most small projects but be aware that it may take 3 weeks to get your PCBs (they are low priority and made in China)
http://Oshpark.com Laen sends out a bi-weekly PCB order. Boards are $5/sq. inch. for 3 copies. The quality is excellent, the boards are produced domestically, and shipping is covered in your board price. Boards take a max of 9 days turn around. Not cost-effective for producing small volume runs, but good for testing/experimenting with a design. All designs are purple mask with gold-plating
I got the boards from Itead this morning and they turned out pretty dam well. Some of the holes and pads are off by a little bit but not nearly enough to cause any problems. I got 11 (6 untested) 10x6cm boards for $28 + $3 shipping which is by far the best price I have ever seen. I think I'm going to start using Itead for all my future hobby projects instead of BatchPCB.
So in summary, thumbs up for Itead. --TopherTheME
I ordered boards from IteadStudio in early December and received a notice that they were shipping about a week later. The tracking information shows they were turned over to China Post in Shenzeng on December 12th, and they have not moved from there. It's not IteadStudio's fault. I understand that there's been a huge problem with China Post getting things shipped with the Christmas rush for iPads and stuff.
The latest word is that China Post is expected to clear the backlog AFTER Chinese New Year.
Yes, it's not there fault, but a six day turn doesn't help if it's going to be 6 weeks or more before I receive the boards. I don't know if current orders are being shipped and faster.
Well if you take a look at the pictures you can clearly see that they have some sort of issue with their electroplating process (0.5mm THT vias, IIRC). Maybe it's related to their drill process too, as the holes of the defective vias seem to be a lot smaller than the holes of the vias that correctly plated through.
In their defense I got to say, that the PCB I have inspected with the microscope is one of the PCBs that wasn't electrically tested. I guess paying the extra 10$ for a 100% e-test might be well worth it.
I got to check the board that I actually soldered my components to. I am not sure if I used one of the e-tested (markered) board.
Over all I am still pretty happy with the price / quality ratio. It's just something I think you should know and look out for when you're dealing with them.---LEECH666
Finally! My boards just arrived. Shipped on December 12th and here on January 29th. China Post had huge problems in shipping from Shenzeng.
The boards look pretty decent, especially considering the price of US$12 plus $4 for shipping for 10 boards. The picture shows some of the boards have marks on the edges. For this price, 5 of the 10 boards are electrically tested.
Unlike boards from PCBGeek and PCBCart (where I purchased the TAP-28 boards) which came vacuum-sealed in plastic, this stack was just taped together and wrapped in bubble wrap.
Based on these boards, and assuming the shipping was an abnormality, I'd recommend ITeed Studios as good source for very low cost boards. --Jon Chandler
I just got 10 boards from ITead studio for $16 *delivered*: http://www.eevblog.com/images/misc/ITeadPCBb.jpg 6/6 rules with 0.3mm/0.6mm vias. The vias on the other side are much better aligned. At least one of the boards had a short on it, but no big deal, I get that from PCBcart too.
Insanely good value for money. Why would you make your own boards?
Also mentioned on today's Amp Hour.
BTW, they added those numbers down the right side.
Alberta Printed Circuits (APCircuits) I like their quick turn P1 service, I dont like their weird drill-size constraints. Apparently theres a quick way to deal with this in Eagle but I dont use them much anymore-- ladyada.net
E-TekNet A front-end for some PCB company in China. A friend recommended them but after making 500 PCBs there, I found their customer service to be frustrating and I was unhappy with the PCBs I purchased. I wouldn't use them again.-- ladyada.net
Olimex I've never used these guys, they're in Bulgaria so things take a while to get to/from them if you don't live in Europe. They're dirt cheap, though. I've heard some good things about the quality.-- ladyada.net
OurPCB Steve Conway recommends them after a PCB run. Made in China, but with reasonable service and shipping. Probably similar to Gold Phoenix in quality.-- ladyada.net
There were no problems at all, the boards worked great and i didnt find any mistakes. (I've only used the company once though) They did post me a card for new years though, so they're the kind of company that will go out of their way to be friendly. --Psi
Sierra Proto (2justforyou) Their DFM production staff seems so-so compared to 4pcb, and they add a $20 'service' charge to their proto PCBs which is really obnoxious (just be honest about the price, is all I ask). But when they get around to it, the quality of their "NoTouch" boards exceeds that of 4pcb w/gorgeous silk-screening. Whats really nice is that they allow much larger PCBs for their prototype runs, 80 sq. & larger.
I am new comer to eevblog for several weeks ago, I want to share some experience with everyone,this is a question I am frequently encountered from time to time in different forums. I decided to make a list over some Chinese PCB manufacturers.As we all known,there are many PCB manufacturers in China,the prices are relatively low and the quality is very well.