Small-run PCB assembly

These days, there are lots of options for getting PCB board made up, but what if you want to skip the DIY soldering and get a bunch of boards actually assembled? I appreciate this is going to require minimum quantity runs to make it even remotely economical, but what are those minimum quantities, and what are the ins-and-outs of the process?

You send the company your gerber files, and a build of materials. If you have any other instructions on assembly also send them. They will be able to quote you with this. The company i talked to had a minimum of 20, but prices weren't practical until 100. I have everything set up, but have not yet had a fully assembled run made. Hope this info helps, and good luck.

pico,
www.cbas-usa.com can do small batches of board assembly.
They won’t do turnkey, you have to send them all material, and a check before they send your built board back (no paypal or visa yet), on your fed-ex account (easy to set up, with credit card billing).
They charge $350-400 (depends on board size & number of components) for stencil creation and pick & place programming. They prefer all SMD, but will do thruhole as well. Cost/board otherwise is <$10 depending on size. Send them your gerbers for a quote.
They did the blue board here for me:
'1284 with LiPo charger, Arduino style headers, Xbee socket
Cross Roads Electronics

Great info, thanks guys.

Bob, what size run did you do on the blue boards with CBAS?

54

@pico

Here is another option for pcb assembly, you can email pcb@iteadstudio.com along with your detailed requirements.

Best regards,

Wendy

iteadstudio:
Here is another option for pcb assembly, you can email pcb@iteadstudio.com along with your detailed requirements.

I'll certainly check that out; I didn't realise iteadstudio offered an assembly service as well.

Here is a great PCB Company that might be able to help you out if you are still looking. Semigen | PCB Assembly

I used PCBCart.com
They make PCB's and also have assembly plant. Very reasonable, under $2 for an Uno type SMD board excluding components. Even with components it was reasonable.

Lsnyman:
I used PCBCart.com
They make PCB's and also have assembly plant. Very reasonable, under $2 for an Uno type SMD board excluding components. Even with components it was reasonable.

Thanks for the pointer. $2 assembly per board sounds very cost effective. Does the $2 include the PCB, or is that additional/needs to be supplied by customer?

I use a PCA Corp (http://pcacorporation.com/) in Bellevue WA. They charge $300 for the stencil (and presumably programming, although that's not broken out) and board cost is dependent on complexity. You need to negotiate to get the best prices out of them, but it's usually $5-$10 per board for all SMT in quantities 100 - 300. Through hole assembly costs more, because it requires more hand work. They aren't the cheapest, but their quality is excellent. IME, their yield even with QFNs and similarly difficult components is 100%. I haven't used them for BGA work, because I avoid BGAs like the plague.

I use a company in china for my assembly. They charge me about $6 per board and a setup cost of about $250. That includes the manufacture of the PCB as well.
Good quality boards. Shipping to the UK normally costs me about £35
The contact email is
info@junhao-cn.com

I think that Elecrow is a good choice.
They don't only provide PCB fabricate service without charge extra fees for color options,
they also provide PCB Assembly service.
http://www.elecrow.com/services-c-73/prototyping-service-c-73_120/pcb-assembly-p-366.html

Hope you find this useful.

Advanced Circuits
They provide a free PCB software. I think the minimum for a 2-layer board is like $33 with 4 board minimum. But double check me on that.

I happened across another someone else mentioned elsewhere:
http://www.oshpark.com/

Michael

This thread has become an excellent resource, so thank you to all who have contributed.

Can anyone report on their experience using the assembly services of any of the above (or any service not already mentioned, for that matter)?

The companies that we used were quite good. But you have to make sure you specify EVERYTHING exactly as you want it. Also unless you are dealing with large quantities you will need to supply your own parts. You should however do this for any specialty high value parts. (We post the sensors we use out as they are hellish expensive) If you do this you know they are yours.

I think you can buy it from Shenzhen China,because there are lots of PCB companies and the price is reasonable,so you can have try it. I've been getting most of my recent boards from these site :http://www.goldphoenixpcb.com ,http://www.wonderfulpcb.com

I second OSH Park for PCB fabrication. For the most part, I am still in the "cooked to order" business phase. I get stencils from OSH Stencils and manually pick-and-place and use a homebrew reflow oven (not too ironic that I sell toaster oven reflow conversion kits).

I have toyed with the idea of getting a run of product from Small Batch Assembly. They don't fab boards, but it appears that the interface between OSH Park's medium run service and their assembly service would work out nicely (you'd be having them populate ten panels). Also, they have an inventory of common parts in stock that you don't need to supply (you get something akin to DigiKey's T&R price per unit). Everything else you either send them as cut tape or a reel (they return any excess).

pico:
..Can anyone report on their experience using the assembly services of any of the above (or any service not already mentioned, for that matter)?

I used the PCBA turnkey solution from http://www.nexpcb.com
, located in China, include PCB Fabrication, Components, assembly and free-shipping. Please refer to one of customer stories - Apitronics Wireless Platform

Hi All, A-TECH CIRCUITS offer both PCB manufacturing and PCB assembly service, small-run PCB assembly is also available, it could be one of good choices if you have request.