For those of you getting into creating your own PCBs, here's some quick advice:

We use the CADSoft Eagle software (free version can handle up to two PCB layers). It's powerful but pretty hard to learn. For easier to use (albeit more limited) software, you might try PCBArtist (also free). I'm a newbie, so I use PCBArtist. Jordi is an old hand, so he's now using the pro version of the Eagle software.

Once you've designed your board you need to send it off to be fabbed. Here's some advice on the best companies to do that, from a friend, a pro in the industry:

"Most of my fab is done by 4PCB. They have good service, online-quotes, fast turn-times, web-tracking and good prices for rectangular any-layer boards. $500 free for first-time customers.

For extra cheap small quantities of 2-layer rectangular boards without soldermask or legend: BarebonesPCB (they are actually a re-badged 4pcb).

For odd shapes, cut-outs or gold plating, I use: BACircuits.
4pcb can do it all, but they charge a hefty premium for non-standard stuff."

Views: 2107

Comment by JC on March 30, 2008 at 3:29pm
After the PCB is made how do you go about mounting the components. Do any of these companies do it for you, or is that something you have to do by hand. I have seen some complex boards, I cant imagine doing that by hand.

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on March 30, 2008 at 4:53pm
For assembly (component mounting and soldering, ie "populating" the boards), we use They can source the components, too (they charge a 15% markup).

They can also do surface mount if you want.
Comment by rad man on April 12, 2008 at 10:43am

Comment by Sgt Ric on April 12, 2008 at 1:41pm
FYI... He means the and the links

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on April 12, 2008 at 3:26pm
Sorry about those bad links--I forgot to put in the "http://"s

Comment by Matt Croydon on April 12, 2008 at 10:24pm
I also really like BatchPCB. They're really cheap but take longer than some of the other guys. That's fine for what I've done though.


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