Professionally Printing my project? SMD?

Hey all,
I've completed my first project that I want to save and reuse! On top of all of that, a few members of an online community said they would "buy" my project if I ever "produced" it. (i dont know how much to charge them, I dont even think I will)

I dont know the first thing about printing or etching circuit boards, so I was wondering if someone could point me in the right direction. In order for my project to be its most effective, its form-factor has to remain small. I use a lot of "break-out" components, but I would like to integrate them into the circuit as well. I was also thinking SMD and finding someplace that can do it on the cheap (10-100 boards).

My project currently uses 2 arduino Micros, 2 RF24 chips, a pcf8574p, a 16x2 lcd (soon to be a 20x4) and a handful of LEDs and resistors.

Where do I start? I dont know how to make a Fritzing Diagram. Thoughts?

Where are you located? In the U.S. I use OSHPark.com. Fantastic service. Very high quality boards and they have a service if you want to prototype 3 boards and a different pricing model if you want to make 100 boards. They are also easy to use and very quick. You just upload your eagle .brd file on their website (or you can upload the actual gerber and drill files). In NJ I managed to get my boards back 12 days after I uploaded the files to the website.

What is it? What is your 'project'?

As Jersey mentioned, many services accept design files created with EagleCAD. You will have to download & learn how to use that. There are MANY tutorials available online for that.

Do the locations of components matter? Does it affect the usability of your "project"?

More information would be very helpful.

http://forum.arduino.cc/index.php?topic=148996.0

...and finding someplace that can do it on the cheap (10-100 boards).

I wouldn't buy 100 boards 'till the design & layout are proven-out.

I work for an small electronics company that's been in business for 35 years. A few months ago my boss said, "I don't think wev'e ever made a board that was perfect the 1st time."

Our company doesn't breadboard the design and a "Rev 0" PCB is made for the prototype. Sometimes we can add cuts & jumpers, etc. to get the boards working and sometimes we send-out a Rev 0 board for beta testing, but it's rare that we sell a Rev 0 board.

Typically we'll order 5 or 10 boards, depending on what we can get as a minimum order, and typically we'll have 5 boards assembled.

If you have a working breadboard/prototype you are one step ahead, but there are still things that can go wrong. On our newest prototype board, there were some resistor sizes that were wrong (I think the solution will be to use resistors that fit, instead of a board re-layout) and we are just starting electronic test & programming, so there may be more issues & changes before we go into production.

I've had good luck from Seeedstudio for low quantity boards. They are cheaper than BatchPCB (Which OSHPark.com acquired), but it can take 2 months to get your boards unless you pay extra for the shipping due to shipping directly from China. They do ship internationally however.

However, your first step is to find some CAD software. EagleCAD is probably the cheapest for the hobbyist (At least that I have found), but it is more expensive if you intend on selling whatever you produce with it. They give a discount to the hobbyists if you legally oblige yourself not to sell your stuff. CAD design can be quite easy, or difficult, depending on your mentality.

Wow, guys!

Thanks for all the responses! I downloaded a version of Cadsoft's Eagle (Eagle CAD) and been scouring youtube.com for tutorials. I definitely have a better understanding of it now.

In an effort to incorporate the rf24 module into my board. Does anyone know where i can download the RF24L01SE+ library for eagle CAD?

Thanks again!

The module is just 8 or 10 pins in a 2x4 or 2x5 0.1" pitch grid, yes?
You can pull up connector layouts from the con-lsta or con-lstb library, or from sparkfun once you download their library.
Sparkfun also has eagle tutorials.

what do you think? Now to get a prototype done. In the schematic i used an arduino micro, but in the parts list will the manufacturer know to substitute that with 1x17 female headers. i was able to find a 2x5 female header.

How do i go about submitting this for production?

THanks
Keith

receiverBoard_layout_1.0.png

www.oshpark.com is probably the cheapest and simplest way to get the board made. We ordered some boards for work and it came out quite well.

You assembling it is the best way for you to assemble the board. SMD parts are easily handled in small number and with larger pads (like you have). Just use the smallest diameter solder you can find.

Something to consider and this would also make the board itself cheaper is to put the arduino Micro directly on the board rather than buy it separate. The Schematic and eagle file should be directly available either from here or sparkfun. If you are uncomfortable soldering the uC, get the through hole version.

I am unsure what you are asking about the headers.

mirith:
www.oshpark.com is probably the cheapest and simplest way to get the board made. We ordered some boards for work and it came out quite well.

You assembling it is the best way for you to assemble the board. SMD parts are easily handled in small number and with larger pads (like you have). Just use the smallest diameter solder you can find.

Something to consider and this would also make the board itself cheaper is to put the arduino Micro directly on the board rather than buy it separate. The Schematic and eagle file should be directly available either from here or sparkfun. If you are uncomfortable soldering the uC, get the through hole version.

I am unsure what you are asking about the headers.

Thanks for the reply! I would love to have everything on the board Arduino and RF24, but I lack the experience. The attached image is my vision for this project as it stands.

The manufacturer isn't soldering in the headers, they are just drilling the holes and laying down the solder mask. It's up to you to solder in whatever you want to solder in the holes.

oh ok. I misunderstood then. Is it possible to get them assembled too?

Yes, places like www.cbas-usa.com do assembly, drop ship all your components, they assemble & return.
Send them your Gerber files, PL, and quantity, they'll send you a quote.
Some PCB board manufacturers will do assembly also.

CrossRoads:
Yes, places like www.cbas-usa.com do assembly, drop ship all your components, they assemble & return.
Send them your Gerber files, PL, and quantity, they’ll send you a quote.
Some PCB board manufacturers will do assembly also.

thank you. should i include my 3d render for reference?

Wouldn't hurt.
Your original post said

2 arduino Micros, 2 RF24 chips, a pcf8574p, a 16x2 lcd (soon to be a 20x4) and a handful of LEDs and resistors.

Your rendering only shows the Micro and the LEDs/resistors.Where is the rest? Connected to the 4 headers?
I don't see any mounting holes - how does the overall board get secured in place?
Does the Micro come with pins? If not, you might consider these pins & sockets instead for a lower profile:
40-pin 1-row 0.1” PCB Male Machined Round Header - dipmicro electronics the larger diameter goes into the Micro, the smaller diameter into the female socket
40-pin 1-row 0.1” PCB Female Machined Round Header - dipmicro electronics

This place has headers in all different sizes too
http://www.king-cart.com/phoenixent/product=RECEPTACLES-SOCKETS+PCB+MOUNT+.1SP+SINGLE+ROW/exact_match=exact
17 seems like an odd number - maybe use breakaway headers, or use a 20 and add a couple of unused holes on each side, or use a 10 and a 7, but be aware that headers mounted side by side may have what seems like extra material on the adjacent pins that will keep them from sitting flush next to each other.

CrossRoads:
Wouldn’t hurt.
Your original post said

2 arduino Micros, 2 RF24 chips, a pcf8574p, a 16x2 lcd (soon to be a 20x4) and a handful of LEDs and resistors.

Your rendering only shows the Micro and the LEDs/resistors.Where is the rest? Connected to the 4 headers?
I don’t see any mounting holes - how does the overall board get secured in place?
Does the Micro come with pins? If not, you might consider these pins & sockets instead for a lower profile:
40-pin 1-row 0.1” PCB Male Machined Round Header - dipmicro electronics the larger diameter goes into the Micro, the smaller diameter into the female socket
40-pin 1-row 0.1” PCB Female Machined Round Header - dipmicro electronics

This place has headers in all different sizes too
Phoenix Enterprises product listing RECEPTACLES-SOCKETS PCB MOUNT .1SP SINGLE ROW
17 seems like an odd number - maybe use breakaway headers, or use a 20 and add a couple of unused holes on each side, or use a 10 and a 7, but be aware that headers mounted side by side may have what seems like extra material on the adjacent pins that will keep them from sitting flush next to each other.

Thanks for the heads up. Originally I was going to have the LCDs and ioExpanders (for the lcds), but i made a desktop application instead, so they arent needed. I wrote some debugging functions into the sketches that uses number codes on the status LED instead. 1x17 is odd but i figure it exists if eagle cad had it as a hardware option.

I really want to include (make my own on the board) the arduino and RF24L01SE+ …thats the dream.

I’ve attached another pic…there are two boards in this project. I’m getting close! But having everything on the same pcb would be the holy grail!

So why not expand the eagle file for the micro and just add your other components? Ditch all the headers.

CrossRoads:
So why not expand the eagle file for the micro and just add your other components? Ditch all the headers.

:slight_smile: because i dont know how.

those boards look really similar
can you not design one board that does both roles
even if you populate them differently?

mmcp42:
those boards look really similar
can you not design one board that does both roles
even if you populate them differently?

I guess so. The only real difference is the 1x3 male headers (on the transmitter they are LEDS)