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Author Topic: US Companies trying to be competitive in PCB market - hurrah!  (Read 1146 times)
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Didn't see any e-mail announcement about this:

http://www.4pcb.com/33-each-pcbs.html

Four 60 sq inch PCBs at $33 each, $132 total, is not too bad if you need something that big.
7.7" x 7.7", 196 x 196mm
10" x 6", 254 x 152mm
etc.
Don't know if there are dimension limits.

Min. qty. 4 Boards
Max. size 60 sq. inches
Min. 0.006" line/space (I try and design with .01" minimum)
Min. 0.015" hole size (I think I use .012" a lot, would have to see the impact of this)
2-Layers, FR-4, 0.062", 1 oz. cu. plate
All Holes Plated
Maximum 35 drilled holes Per Sq. Inch
Lead FREE Solder Finish
Green LPI Mask
White Legend (1 or 2 sides)
No slots (or overlapping drill hits)
No Internal routing (cutouts)
No scoring, tab rout or drilled hole board separations
1 Part Number Per Order (extra $50 charge for multiple parts or step & repeat)
Routed to overall dimensions
Lead Time 5 Days


I know my eagle license won't go that big (6.3" x 3.9", 100mm x 160mm), so would have to check out their free pcb software:
http://www.4pcb.com/free-pcb-layout-software/index.html
which from the list of features seems to be pretty comprehensive.

Compare to iteadstudio's 200mm x 200mm
$99, 5 boards, 3 week delivery, I think can pay a lot extra and get it quicker.
http://imall.iteadstudio.com/open-pcb/pcb-prototyping/im120418010.html
selecting 20cm x 20cm here brings the price to $99.
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Since you mention Eagle and having the limited license, have you ever tried KiCAD (http://www.kicad-pcb.org/)?  I don't know very much about Eagle, KiCAD, or Eavle vs. KiCAD but it looks like it's free and without size limitations.

http://forums.adafruit.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=22711&sid=9db3eac918f7cdc0a67946be48808ba8

If you have a comment on KiCAD I would love to hear it.  There more that I have reread my thread on "beyond the breadboard" the more that I think I may want to try PCB layout on CAD software and photoetching or maybe even having a board manufactured.  To do that I understand I will have to learn Eagle, KiCAD, or something similar that outputs to the GERBER file format, right?
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Also http://ruggedcircuits.com/gerbmerge/

Python script for panelizing. My python-foo is a little weak and I couldn't get it running on my Linux system however; YMMV.

JoeN: If you want to do home etching you just need a program that will print an image of the top or bottom layers (bmp, png, etc.). You don't want Gerber format. Eagle handles that just fine and I'm sure KiCAD does as well.
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I was looking at some of the questions yesterday and thinking a Packaging, PCB assembly, Design/Board CAD type forum might be useful to consolidate these ideas.

Project Guidance is like a fast flowing river -- stuff disappears in hours.

For Canadian Users there are a few suppliers here -- some are actually offshore houses.
http://www.profilecanada.com/category.cfm?cat=3672_Printed-Circuit-Boards
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Also http://ruggedcircuits.com/gerbmerge/

Python script for panelizing. My python-foo is a little weak and I couldn't get it running on my Linux system however; YMMV.

JoeN: If you want to do home etching you just need a program that will print an image of the top or bottom layers (bmp, png, etc.). You don't want Gerber format. Eagle handles that just fine and I'm sure KiCAD does as well.

I understand all you have to do is make a mask to do it at home (you can do this with a pen or tape).  But I would think you would want to do the work in a program that exports to Gerber in case you ever want to move the work to manufacturing.  Anyway, any comments on KiCAD?
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I think they've had that deal since forever. It's competitive if you actually need a large PCB, but they'll charge you the same if you only need a 1x2 inch board. For smaller boards, Seeedstudio and Iteadstudio are still unapproachable in value.
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Totally agree for the smaller boards.
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Designing & building electrical circuits for over 25 years. Check out the ATMega1284P based Bobuino and other '328P & '1284P creations & offerings at  www.crossroadsfencing.com/BobuinoRev17.
Arduino for Teens available at Amazon.com.

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Kicad works great for me, not that I've ever approached the size that eagle would limit at,  but I find it easy and straightforward to use
And id say for one offs batchpcb is the cheapest for me, $2.5sq in and you get a tested and one untested one, so a spare if you need
the only drawback is the 10 handling fee so I usually wait till I have a bunch, and then it sucks waiting a month for the boards but definetly cheapest for just a few boards
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Project Guidance is like a fast flowing river -- stuff disappears in hours.

Move this topic to Hardware Design?  Is that a reasonable home for PCB discussions?
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Crossroads,
Signed up at that site, installed the software and when I put in an 2X4" board the price came up to $46 EACH.
Anyway, I am using a prototyping combo order site http://oshpark.com/ that charges $5 per sq inch for three(3) copies of your board. Laen sends out as many as three orders a week and it took 2 weeks total for my last order. Great boards and he helped me get my gerber files right.  The more people that use his service enables him to keep prices down and order frequently.
Eagle was just too complicated for me and my project was 8+sq. inches, so I tried Dip Trace http://www.diptrace.com/, in a few hours I had a 200 hole board laid out. It seems much more intuitive to me. Size is no limit, but only 300 holes for the free non-commercial use.
TomJ
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