Author Topic: custom printed circuit boards  (Read 1229 times)

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Offline greywanderer012345Topic starter

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custom printed circuit boards
« on: October 04, 2010, 07:36:09 AM »
How expensive is it to have a board that you design made professionally. I'm wondering about both boards with just the wiring built in and also with all of the components included. Is it possible to obtain "samples" of a custom board from companies that normally mass produce?

Offline rbtying

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Re: custom printed circuit boards
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2010, 08:18:12 AM »
A custom board will cost you from $15 to $30.00 per board, usually, and you don't get samples... there's a reason why its called "custom".  You'd probably have to pay more than that just to get the components assembled on the board - I'd suggest you do that yourself, it's much cheaper (just use only through-hole components and you can do it with a little practice soldering)

Offline blackbeard

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Re: custom printed circuit boards
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2010, 08:28:56 AM »
you can also print your own. printing a circuit board using photo etching is really simple and can be made very accurately. you can also use toner transfer which although cheaper is much less accurate
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Offline madsci1016

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Re: custom printed circuit boards
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2010, 08:47:31 AM »
Seeedstudio will make 10 boards of your design for

$20, max 5x5cm

$40, max 10x10cm

Offline greywanderer012345Topic starter

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Re: custom printed circuit boards
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2010, 09:44:43 AM »
you can also print your own. printing a circuit board using photo etching is really simple and can be made very accurately. you can also use toner transfer which although cheaper is much less accurate

Do you have any more information on photo etching or toner transfer? What kind of hardware does it require? Are tutorials available?

Offline sfcircuits

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Re: custom printed circuit boards
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2011, 05:09:48 PM »
There's a lot of resources out there to making simple boards at home.

I've heard good things about this book: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0830639519/ee-compendium-20

and this Instructables page is a good reference: http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Printed-circuit-board/
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Offline Razor Concepts

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Re: custom printed circuit boards
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2011, 10:26:55 AM »
Personally I'd rather pay the small fees than spend the effort etching my own boards.

DorkbotPDX has excellent service with basically no minimum. You pay $5 per square inch of board, and you get 3 copies (basically like $1.66/sq inch), and free shipping to USA.
http://dorkbotpdx.org/wiki/pcb_order

With etching at home, doing things like small traces and double sided boards are an absolute pain - definitely worth it to spend the few bucks at dorkbot to get real PCBs.

Offline vinniewryan

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Re: custom printed circuit boards
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2011, 11:10:35 AM »
Small traces and double sided boards are a peice of cake once you've made a few boards. It's certainly an acquired skill, but only took me a few tries to get it down. Most of my boards have traces as thin as 0.2mm. My setup includes a 15W UV fish tank light, a toaster oven, a glass cooking dish, dry draino (mix with water), ferric chloride (mix with water), I print the boards onto 3M transparency sheets with a 600DPI laser jet printer (also found at any/ALL printing shops), for double sided boards I always make alignment circles. Then I use scotch tape to hold the negatives to pre-photosensitized PCB. You can sensitize any PCB yourself but I don't mind paying the extra few dollars per 9x9" to skip doing that. I can typically make a 3x3" board in under 15 minutes (excluding cad time) for around $2. It's ideal for high-speed prototyping or applications where the board design may change. My etching setup cost me about $50. (thrift stores are your friend)

You also need a nice drill bit set, which I've found for $5 with bits from 0.2mm diameter up to 3mm. I use a table-top drill and dremel tool for sanding and contouring. This process depends on the geometry of the board, but I've made many boards with complex shapes and it never takes me more than 20 minutes to drill, cut, sand, and tin my boards.

The downside to this process is that there are things I cannot do, such as silk screen. I could easily mask but I hand-solder all of my SMD components so it's not necessary for me. If you do go this route, make sure you play around with a few junker boards until you get it right. When etching, use heat and friction to aid the etchant. This can make the difference between a 45 minute crappy etch job and a 10 minute beauty.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2011, 11:12:52 AM by vinniewryan »

Offline madsci1016

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Re: custom printed circuit boards
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2011, 03:08:21 PM »
Personally I'd rather pay the small fees than spend the effort etching my own boards.

Seconded. Especially with prices so low, seeedstudio is now $10 for 10x boards less then 5x5cm.

 


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