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US based PCB manufacturer

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by bigone5500, Sep 22, 2014.

  1. bigone5500

    bigone5500

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    I am working to create a PCB in fritzing. They offer fabrication with no minimum qty. However, I would like to know which US based manufacturer has the best rates and quality. Has anyone done business with any of these?
     
  2. Colin Mitchell

    Colin Mitchell

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    I get 10 panels made each week 10cm x 10cm doublesided PTH green overlay and HASL for $15.00 plus $10.00 postage

    I still use the very first PC CAD program ever produced in Tasmania 45 years ago as it has never fallen over and is not frustrating.
     
  3. KrisBlueNZ

    KrisBlueNZ Sadly passed away in 2015

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    That could be helpful Colin, if you mentioned the names of the PCB supplier and the EDA program!
     
  4. Colin Mitchell

    Colin Mitchell

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    EasyTrax
    DOS Freeware version 2.06 - Complete PCB layout package with output support for printers, pen plotters and Gerber.

    System requirements: PC-compatible; DOS 2.0 or later; 640K RAM; 2Mb of hard disk space.
    Download (ZIP 485 KB)
    http://techdocs.altium.com/display/ALEG/Easy+trax


    Notes from readers:

    Designspark PCB: Requires a registration which is free but it’s bug-ridden and last time it didn’t work. Support couldn’t solve it. Later I realised it required constant connection to the net with cookies enabled.

    Fritzing is a toy.

    Kicad I found to be full of bugs to the extent of uselessness. I deleted it when I found myself fighting the software rather than designing a PCB.

    FreePCB wasn’t maintained for the last three years – since 2011. This tells the story.

    TinyCad is what the name says: tiny. The library is extremely limited. For example there are only 11 microcontrollers.

    ExpressPCB is anything but express. Very difficult to use it. If you re-position a part, you have to re-align every-single-connection going to it. This means, every corner of every line. This is perhaps the most cumbersome to use among all of these. Badly limited library.

    Some software will freeze-up and you will lose everything you have done. Other software cannot be saved as a file. You cannot send it to any PCB manufacturer. It can only be sent to the expensive manufacturer that supplies the software.


    PCB manufacturers:

    http://www.elecrow.com/
    www.smiery.com

    You will need to contact me for all the tricks and short-cuts.

    Colin Mitchell
    [email protected]
     
    chopnhack likes this.
  5. KrisBlueNZ

    KrisBlueNZ Sadly passed away in 2015

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  6. HellasTechn

    HellasTechn

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    About EasyTrax we could run under DOSBOX. very easy way to emulate DOS. works with all dos programms i have under windows 7

    I use expressPCB. it is not that bad but on the other hand i am not a pro.

    i will try EasyTrax. thanks
     
  7. bigone5500

    bigone5500

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    Thanks colin. I will try that program.
     
  8. Colin Mitchell

    Colin Mitchell

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    The problem with ExpressPCB and all those "free" program is this: you are tied to one PCB manufacturer. And they charge 10 times more than the Chinese.
    The US PCB manufacturers say they will make 3 boards for $30.00 But the boards are one inch by one inch.
    WHO WANTS A BOARD ONE INCH SQUARE ???
    They treat you like IDIOTS.
    The cheap, rubbishy Chinese boards I get are absolutely perfect.
    Out of the 110 different designs I have made in the past 6 months, I have not had one single fault. Not a single hole missed or out of alignment. The lands are as bright as a mirror. And what can you expect for $15.00? The secret is to make all boards less than 10cm x 10cm.
    Everyone says the Chines boards are rubbish. Yes they are rubbish but they are perfect. Perfect rubbish. I hope everyone is happy now.
     
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  9. bigone5500

    bigone5500

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    I have rubbish at home and I seem to like it.
     
  10. chopnhack

    chopnhack

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    Colin, have you used Smiery? Any comments about them? thanks
     
  11. Colin Mitchell

    Colin Mitchell

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    The secret to making a PC board is
    1. Get a CAD file and "pull it apart."
    2. Start with a simple board, and
    3. Get someone to help you all along the way.

    There is a lot of skill in making (designing) a PCB board.
    That's why you need the simplest CAD program.
    Many of the sophisticated programs have lots of things tied together so that if you move something on the screen, something off the screen moves too. Or gets deleted!!!!
    A beginner must be in total control AND you must use a program that is accepted by the cheap manufacturers.
    I have tried 15 different manufacturers and finished up with two cheap operators with one using PayPal.
    The others want a bank draft and this costs $25.00 extra. And then they say they lost $20.00 by their bank and need a further $20.00
    This costs another $25.00 plus $20.00 they will lose plus $20.00
    With PayPal you cannot get stuck and the order goes through immediately and the job takes 4 days and the post takes only about 6 to 9 months to deliver the parcel.
     
  12. Colin Mitchell

    Colin Mitchell

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    "Colin, have you used Smiery? Any comments about them? thanks"
    I have used Smiery 10 times and they are perfect.
    The only thing is they send you a .pdf and you then send payment by PayPal and this requires them to be at work. This may take an extra day.
    But http://www.elecrow.com/ is automatic via their website and you can put it through on Sunday night.
    They also tell you that the file is received. It is accepted, then processed, then a photo of the order and then a posting notice.
    They also look through your work and check if any short circuits are present.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2014
    chopnhack likes this.
  13. bigone5500

    bigone5500

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    Who is the rubbish maker in great China you use?
     
  14. Colin Mitchell

    Colin Mitchell

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    I am just satisfying all those US manufacturers who tell me you cannot trust a Chinese manufacturer to make my boards . . .they only produce RUBBISH.
     
  15. Fish4Fun

    Fish4Fun So long, and Thanks for all the Fish!

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    Good info.....I typically do my PCBs on a desktop CNC router, but there are times when etching would be a much better choice.....I hate toner transfer...I have had fairly good luck with CEM in the past, but the problem there is shelf-life.....I purchased some 6mil/1/2oz Copper Clad Board a year or so ago to give direct laser printing a try, but I haven't actually tried it yet....Surplus Copper Clad Material is so cheap from various ebay surplus vendors that I just never seem to bother sending a file off and waiting for a parcel or feel like messing with etching....but I keep meaning to, lol.

    I will say it is a real PITA to generate the g-code.....I know there is an add-on for Eagle, but I have never spent the time to get over Eagle's weird UI....I typically do schematics//layouts in Altium and then print to a PDF...then import the PDF as a bit map to render vectors then begin the arduous task of manually editing to produce "clean tool paths".....I am certainly NOT suggesting this is a great way to do it....just the way I usually end up doing it, lol. On my project list is modifying or building a "printer" to direct-print resist....but that project just never seems to get started....

    Sorry for the rambling....

    Fish
     
  16. chopnhack

    chopnhack

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    I have sent files to Elecrow before and as you stated, they do their diligence. I have not had one produced by them yet. Similar service was received by me with http://smart-prototyping.com/
     
  17. KrisBlueNZ

    KrisBlueNZ Sadly passed away in 2015

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    Do you mean 6~9 days?
     
  18. HellasTechn

    HellasTechn

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    I tried EasyTrax and i found it very very hard to use. Not to mention that i couldnt make it work on VGA graphics mood.
    Very unfriendly envinroment because of it's age. i understand that.
     
  19. vicky song

    vicky song

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    As a sales of Chinese maunfacturer, I feel awful to see these words....Tons of pcbs produced in China, some of them in a really low price, yes, they are Rubbish, while many qualified manufacturer produce excellent boards,too...
     
  20. davenn

    davenn Moderator

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    the problem is for us as customers we have no idea who are the good reliable ones and who are the bad ones :(

    Dave
     
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