[time-nuts] SI5328

J. Grizzard elfchief-timenuts at lupine.org
Mon Jan 22 13:32:57 EST 2018

> There are many small volume assmebly houses available. But the problem
> is that you will have setup costs in the order of at least 100-300€,
> even if you go to China. So, producing lots of less than 10 is not economical,
> probably should aim for 100.
I recently ran across MacroFab (https://macrofab.com/), who can do small 
orders (quantity: 1) of boards, assembled, for what seems like 
reasonable prices. I haven't actually used them, but I did run a recent 
board through their process (except for actually ordering), and they 
came out with a price of ~$170 for a board that cost me ~$100 to 
assemble myself ($35 for board, ~$65 for BoM), so that's not too bad. I 
imagine the numbers would be smaller for simpler boards (this one is ~80 
components and pretty big -- 110mm x 60mm). The price came down pretty 
quick for quantity 3 or 5 or 10, though I don't remember the specifics.

The downside being that you have to be able to upload part-placement 
info that is actually correct. Most layout programs don't seem to have 
an issue generating it, though -- I just uploaded my gerbers and my 
KiCad PCB file and it just ran with it.

FWIW, it's not that hard to do even fine-pitch SMD stuff onesself. 
There's a little bit of startup cost (you really want to build a proper 
reflow toaster), but with high quality PCBs available via OSHPark (and 
fast! My *four layer* board was ~10 days), and quality stencils 
available via OSHStencils, doing even fine-pitch SMD work at home is 
surprisingly easy. In most simple cases, you don't even need the stencils...


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