PCB prototyping cost?


i was wondering if anyone know what is the price range for pcb prototyping in the consumer market? I'm looking for a rough average and possibly if there are requirements that i must adhere to. The part in question is a 2 by 2 inch pcb, populated with about 15 smd parts. I'd need about 20 pieces. It's a fairly non demanding piece, no special requirements.

Since i've never done anything more than hand soldered protoboards, i have really no clue as to what the prices and requirements are. I was also contemplating making my own reflow oven like the hundreds on youtube did, but i'm not sure it's worth it.

I'd much appreciate any directions on how to go about this. Thanks.

10 cards, $9.90 plus shipping http://imall.iteadstudio.com/open-pcb/pcb-prototyping.html http://imall.iteadstudio.com/open-pcb/pcb-prototyping/im120418001.html http://support.iteadstudio.com/support/solutions/articles/1000156313-normal-condition-of-pcb-capabilities Stencil from www. pololu.com Kester EP256 solder from www.cmlsupply.com, 35g for $13. http://www.cmlsupply.com/kester-ep256-lead-solder-paste-63-37-syringe-dispenser/

I reflow parts in a toaster oven all the time. I have a thermocouple probe for my multimeter that I monitor the temperature with. Suspend the probe above the boards. Bring temp to 125C-150C, hold for 90 seconds. Bring temp to 185C-200C, hold for 90 seconds. Solder will reflow very near the end. Turn off heat, let cool slowly by cracking the door, when temp drops below 180C can open the door fully.


Hmm. I actually do have a mini oven (with air circulation). Might be worth a try. Should i turn off the air circulation in the reflow process or do you think it might be better with it? The temperature is more even with it yes, but, at the same time it's cooling it which might prolong the whole process and possibly damage the components...

As for the 10$/pc. Quite cheap actually.

Getting unpopulated boards is cheap-n-easy now.

in addition to itead, I've bought from dirtypcb's ($14 shipped for 2x2, $25 shipped for 4x4, and you get approx. 10 boards (usually 11 - very rarely under)) and OSHpark ($5/square inch shipped for only 3 copies, but they have free ENIG and are based in US, and can be cheaper for small boards, assuming you need less than 3)...

I reflow at home with a converted toaster oven ( ControLeo2 using their conversion kit and recommended oven), and it works fine for both professionally made and home-etched PCBs.

Getting other people to put the parts on for you is much more of a pain than getting the boards made.

I see. So how much would it take to for someone doing the whole thing...pcb+soldering? What are the common issues with this?

So how much would it take to for someone doing the whole thing...pcb+soldering?

What do you mean, do the work for you?

What are the common issues with this?

Not getting the design right in the first place ;)

I could do that for you. PM me with design details, part sizes, etc. I'll send you a cost, with parts from Digikey or Mouser. Can design the board, buy them obtain the stencil, buy the parts, assemble, and possibly test depending on what it is. Can also have companies like Itead do the board build and all the assembly, I've not used them for that and don't know their costs. They will readily quote you also. If your design is hosed, that's on you. I will review the design and let you know of any issues I see.

Thanks for the offer. I'll keep it in mind.

If you plan on hand assembly, plan the PCB for adequate thermal resistance on the pads. In an oven, the planes and large traces get hot. But if you are hand soldering, those will be troublesome heat sinks. Always separate the pads from those, with traces. Also leave some space for the iron between components.

Since the vast majority of boards are oven soldered, designers aren't really used to thinking this way.

And I wouldn't reflow in your mini oven if you were gonna toast your bagels in it later. To eat.

Good points on hand assembly - but about the connections between pads and planes, most software does that for you (look at a professional board, where ground plane connects to pins/etc - they have a gap, and little traces running from plane to pad)... because reflow can't deal with that either; if the solder on one pad melts first, with small parts, the surface tension will pull the part vertical; this is known as tombstoning, and considerable writing has been done on how to prevent it. Hand soldering is rather forgiving about that.

Avoiding itty-bitty SMD parts, that's imo one of the most important. It's real easy to be zoomed in Eagle and not realize that that lovely part you're using is going to be a royal pain to solder on, or try to save space and downsize the passives/etc.... SOIC is great (easier than DIP once you learn drag soldering - it's like magic), while (T)SSOP is more challenging due to solder bridges and the tighter alignment, and no-lead parts are intensely unpleasant.

mixographer: And I wouldn't reflow in your mini oven if you were gonna toast your bagels in it later. To eat.

Yeah, definitely not. Even ignoring the health concerns, the hot circuit board smell sticks around, and would probably make anything cooked in the oven taste bad.

My oven is dedicated for reflow. It was an old oven we had in the basement, wasn't being used anymore.

I've never had part tombstone on me, but I also don't hand assemble below 0805 size parts, too hard to handle.

If you wanna make 20 pieces and they are double sided and complex you can order in a online company the price gonna be approx 50$+, +20$ shipping.

But as you said you need to be 2x2inch pcb you will better make them by yourself, will cost you less like 30$ maximum and you will have materials to make more PCB and you will have a new experience.

You can use EAGLE software to make the PCB really easy and fast, your print 20x examples on a glossy paper with a laser printer and use a fiber glass copper PCB to transfer the printer circuits with an iron...etc and your done. In 2 hours max with materials you can build your own 50x pieces :D

20 pieces, drilling all the holes, end up with no silk screening, no solder mask. Gotta be a glutton for punishment to make that many.

CrossRoads, soldering mask its easy to make, would be fun for me, drilling all holes will not take too long. anyway he said its 2x2inch not, bigger