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Questions about the BatchPCB service

Moderator: robacarp

Hey folks, we are looking to get some feedback about the BatchPCB Marketplace. What do you value about the BatchPCB marketplace and what are its downfalls? Any feedback is appreciated.

By wassabi
The biggest hurdle for me switching to a seller account is the requirement of the W-9 form. I do not feel comfortable giving out my social security number just to make a few dollars.
By jeremycole
Patrick: I think it would be useful to separate the two concerns: Manufacture of PCB and Selling in Marketplace. Perhaps a completely new design on e.g. which is geared towards display of products. Additionally, better auto-generated pictures from the gerbers (that don't look smashed and don't have awful color scheme) and the ability for the user to upload pictures of the finished pcb and populated product, so you have a better idea what you're getting.

Additionally it might be interesting to allow me to bulk order a design (at a discount, with me fronting the wholesale cost) and then have you handle just mailing them, paying me the retail price at that time. This would allow for much quicker turns without a big per-order fee for each customer. If they don't sell within X days, you mail them to me (since I've paid for them already) or start charging a stock-keeping fee to hold onto them.
By n0rc
wassabi wrote:The biggest hurdle for me switching to a seller account is the requirement of the W-9 form. I do not feel comfortable giving out my social security number just to make a few dollars.
I sent in my W-9 in December and heard nothing since. I mailed a few months later and no reply to the email. Not even a "we're working on it." So maybe start by fixing that...
By waynemcl
As a potential customer, a) I can't find designs, and b) I can't see if designs would fit my needs.

a) I need some kind of searchability (I can't find that right now; no search box, and google isn't finding products). E.g. how do I find a design with a pcf8577?

The ability to contact the designer/seller to ask details would 1) show them the interest in their item and 2) encourage them to improve the description to answer b)

Thanks, W
By duke3k
if you guys don't get the core value proposition of the BatchPCB website working again to your customers satisfaction (I.e. being able to upload a design, get it validated correctly, order your boards, tracks status of your boards , track which panel its on, status & shipment of panels) - you are not going to have a marketplace because nobody is going to be using the service.

And no I'm not going to to twitter to track some of these things - why should I - I will go to another PCB fab house.

Sorry to sound harsh - but you seem to be focusing more on the market place than actually being able to let us order, track & make our own boards. That's why I come to batchpcb.
By Joeisi
I do not believe in social media. Get the updates off twitter and back onto your site. I really have no idea why you took that information off in the first place. It wasn't doing any harm...
By josheeg
Hi I would like to have my prototypes assembled to verify they work before assembling more for selling. Can you assemble smt circuits for under 200$ USD? I have the parts xy rotation and side file. I also would provide the parts and board. I see gold phenix does assembly so how about a assembled pannel??? You would be the first.
These two are the only competitors for assembly and the single item quotes I got back so far from other places were 400$+
Joshua Wojnas
By 25457
SFEBPCB wrote:Hey folks, we are looking to get some feedback about the BatchPCB Marketplace. What do you value about the BatchPCB marketplace and what are its downfalls? Any feedback is appreciated.

I have found an article on line in which the author states that the PCB is available on Batch PCB marketplace. However, there is no search ability available on your marketplace, and to go through 43 pages (currently,) of PCB's that only show images with "names" makes selling those boards a non starter and somewhat ridiculous. Please make it easier to find boards, using the board name, the IC featured or purpose of the board and the author/email of the listed board, You should also list any available links to that board that might help with a description/purpose. If you want to sell these boards, you need a lot more information than exists now.
By mpflaga
No Search!
I agree. Yuk....
I seam to recall a search a while back, but the web page has clearly changed. Am I just missing it? Is it hard to find? Or is it not displayed?
I strongly believe there is a circuit similar to what I want. (Just a pre-amp.) But I don't have time to look at each entry's detail in the Market Place.
A course search would go a long way.
Note even the title on the preview page is clipped to the first 17 letters of the title. Making it necessary to inspect each one, just for the complete title.
Some effort on a search would likely pick up sales, dramatically. As it would allow customers to find what their looking for. And or get them interested.
By mkullman
First off. I think BatchPCB is an awesome extension of Spark Fun and have nothing but praise for your work. Thank you to the whole of Spark Fun for all the great services you offer. :clap:
That being said, I think there are a few features I would love to see added to BatchPCB's Marketplace.
1. A search interface. The number of public boards grows everyday, looking through boards is starting to be as much fun as trying to find a resistor in my recycled parts bin.
2. Ability to attach tags for submitted PCB's. E.G. "Audio", "GPS", "Breakout", "misc"... etc. this would allow the PCB's to be categorized, permit browsing by interest and make searching easier.
3. I think there is great value in being able to upload a schematic, a bill of materials and some design notes to go with the PCB.
4. A section for feedback and user rating couldn't hurt either.
5. Another user suggested being able to upload our own renderings of the PCB. I second that. For uniformity BatchPCB's standard rendering could still be the cover image. But for clarity, it would be nice to be able to add our own images. I like gEDA's renergings and from what I've seen does very nice renderings of gerber files.

Whether you realize it or not. BatchPCB is not just another storefront of SparkFun. It is the next logical step for enthusiastic twidgets like myself. This where we take what you have taught us and where we start putting our imaginations to work, all while continuing to use products from your main storefront. This is also where we, if successfull with the next great idea, can return the favor to you by attracting new clients. I hope to see continued development of BatchPCB as it is not just a marketing investment but a loyalty magnet. Keep up the great work you guys.
By HiredMind
I'm totally behind the concept. I think it's a great idea.

Searching - absolutely imperative
But without some sort of search function, the marketplace isn't going to create any incentive to buy other people's boards - it's not going to be a true marketplace. People would rather just whack up their own board than sift through 56 (!) pages of other boards, especially if it's something simple like a breakout board.

And I'm assuming that SFE has to spend extra time validating new boards over boards that have already been run and haven't changed since then. So it's hurting the bottom line.

Also, this is why there are so many cryptic board names with vague descriptions. Why think about how to name/describe your board when it will soon be 30 pages down on the list, and no one will ever see it? For that matter, why make the board useful beyond your own immediate project?

Even a silly Google-based search would be better than nothing, until a real search function can be added.
By jwd270
In addition to a basic search, the boards should be categorized. It would also be nice to allow the board's creator to upload images of finished and assembled boards.