[time-nuts] OT: ExpressPCB (cross-post from volts-nuts)

Bob Camp kb8tq at n1k.org
Fri Dec 9 15:52:13 EST 2016


If you are one of those people who feel “cramped” in anything less than 6 layers, the Chinese
are about the only way to go. There are a few houses over there that will do 6 and 8 layer
boards at a “basement affordable” sort of price. Given the way things change with some of
these outfits figuring out who is doing this or that (and doing it right) can be a major chore.
In some cases the right answer last month is not the right answer this month …..


> On Dec 9, 2016, at 3:34 PM, John Ackermann N8UR <jra at febo.com> wrote:
> That points out a key difference in the PCB house pricing models: ExpressPCB and the Advanced Circuits $33 prototype are flat fee up to a size limit (for Advanced Circuits 4 x 6 inches) while others go by the square inch -- OSH Park is $5/in2 for three copies of two layer, and $10/in2 for three of four layer.
> So for small boards, OSH Park is great but for larger boards, the price difference reduces (a 4 x 6 board ends up being just about the same price as Advanced Circuits).  And if you can stand the slower turnaround, the Chinese board houses can't be beat for any size.
> John
> ----
> On 12/9/2016 3:18 PM, Bob Stewart wrote:
>> I built my first set of boards with ExpressPCB, but they get expensive quickly if you want to make something that's not in their special form factor.  I use KICAD and OshPark.com to make my boards (there are other board makers).  I just ordered some boards that are .7" x .63" that cost $8.40 for 12.  You buy in multiples of 3, so that was actually $2.10 for a set of 3 times 4 sets.  Using surface mount, I was able to put an SOIC-14, an SOIC-16, an SOT23-5, three 0805 caps, a 3 pin header, and a 5 pad connector on the board.  Something like that would be wastefully expensive on ExpressPCB.
>> Bob
>>       From: BIll Ezell <wje at quackers.net>
>>  To: time-nuts at febo.com
>>  Sent: Friday, December 9, 2016 1:58 PM
>>  Subject: [time-nuts] OT: ExpressPCB (cross-post from volts-nuts)
>> Sorry if I'm behind the times, just did a new project that required a
>> pcb, and ExpressPCB is my go-to vendor for one-off boards. I just
>> noticed they now provide the low-cost boards (fixed size, 3x5, quantity
>> 3) that I've always ordered with silk screen and solder mask for $71. I
>> got my latest boards that way and they're beautiful. No relationship to
>> them, just a happy customer. You can still get the barebones boards for
>> $51. The hack I used to use was to put the component id and such on the
>> top copper layer as tiny text, but that was a bit of a pain for layout.
>> (Oops, can't put that label there, it's copper and there's a trace there
>> also) Really nice to be able to get real boards, even if it does end up
>> being ~$23/board.
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