So few new threads here

Are people still making boards? So few posts. Maybe there's enough information online to resolve issues with their boards or maybe breakout boards have become so cheap, cheaper than parts you can buy at digikey, that making one's own boards makes so much less sense.

It is this way with AVR boards, for me anyway. I picked up 30 Arduino pro's for projects at $2 each. It is cheaper and far less hassle to permenantly solder one of these to a project. Not to mention far smaller than what even the tidiest design of DIP/through hole components could achieve.

I've just designed an ARM Cortex M4 board, similar form fact to the Teensy/Pro etc. Cost of parts, maybe $30-40 plus the agro of getting prototypes made, getting them working etc etc. I'll be $1000 in the red before I even think about selling one, $500 if I just use them myself.

That's a lot of $2 clones, or even $20 Teensys.

I get the same feeling. Cheap MCU boards and breakout boards sucked the life out of making one's own boards.

If I make a one-time project that doesn't need a PCB, I'll do it with sockets and wirewrap.

Anything outside of that, I'll take the time to design a PCB and wait a couple weeks for it. Not gonna be bothered with toner transfer and etching, drilling little holes, no silkscreen, no solder mask when I get 10 pro-looking boards for $10 or $20.

Well, yeah. First of all, there are SO MANY BOARDS you can buy now. Not just cheap clones and poorly documented boards from China, but also cheap manufacturer-provided boards like the TI Launchpads and ST Nucleo boards. Secondly, you can't really get much beyond am ATmega1284 and still be in the realm of "comfortable" home construction. Oh, it might be possible to hand solder those fine-pitch high-density high pin-count 32bit microcontrollers and 603 or smaller passive components, but it's certainly perceived as being much more difficult than TH chips. Thirdly, we're sorta past the "you can design a board and everyone will use it and everything will be swell!" stage of things, and it's becoming more obvious just how much work is involved in ... all stages ... of such a project.

I have not done 0603 for a while. Prototyping 0603 without a stencil was hard for me. Now I’m using 0805 on all my newer boards. Unless I feel the need to squeeze components, I use 0805, components all stay on one side. My boards have become more specialized. Generic shields don’t sell anymore due to ebay competition. I do have a board designed specifically to make use of ebay electronics and all-thru-hole design. Will have to post on the forum to get some traction.