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Questions relating to designing PCBs
By cberner
#162559
I'd like to learn to design PCBs, and just did the Eagle tutorials (https://www.sparkfun.com/tutorials/108) on Sparkfun.com. Looking at the OSH Park service that it links to though, it seems like it's just a PCB printing service, and doesn't put the parts on for you. Sorry, for asking such a noobie question, but is there a similar service that will also solder the parts for you?
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By Ross Robotics
#162562
Yes, there are assembly houses. Do a Google search. I will warn you that the prices are going to be high. But why would you want your first PCB to be commercially assembled? You will make mistakes and if you have 100 PCBs made, and you have a mistake, you could lose a few hundred+ dollars .

Best thing to do is use OSH Park and you assemble a few boards and see if it works, then look at assembly after the prototyping stage. It will save you $$$.
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By viskr
#162574
Some PCB houses have partnered with assembly houses to do prototype runs. They will even do "turn-key" which means they will even buy the parts. Though that is the most expensive way to go, better for you to go on the Digikey site and buy the parts for what is normally called a "kit"\

One house is Sunstone teamed with Screaming Circuits. Yes this will be more expensive than doing it yourself, but it is not unreasonable for a couple prototypes.

At some point you'll have to start soldering yourself, as your first design will probably have changes, and then you need to be able to make those. Otherwise poke around the local community colleges, many offer courses in Mechatronics. Take a course, or check out some local makerspace/hackerspace groups. They will have the tools and share expertise in building electronics.
By cberner
#162589
Thanks for the suggestions! I'll check out Sunstone and Screaming Circuits. Sounds like I should also start learning to solder SMDs. Last time I tried to repair a circuit board, I failed spectacularly lol, so I was hoping to avoid fine soldering work. Have a suggestion for a good set of tutorials and equipment I'd need?
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By Ross Robotics
#162612
There are tons of tutorials on SMD work on youtube and written tuts with a Google search.

I use a rework station with hot air and a soldering iron in one package. I actually have this one which I owned for almost a year and has surpassed my expectations. Even comes with different nozzles for different size components.

I usually stuck with through hole components as I didn't know how to work with SMD. But, I started to realize that I needed to make my boards smaller just for the sake of pricing. I taught myself and have gotten pretty good at it. It's not hard, just takes practice. I have read and watched many tutorials, so just pick one that you are comfortable with.
By mattmunee
#183658
I thought this was useful information, so I'd like to post it on this forum, even though it's rather old. I'm currently working on my very first PCB project, and I've gone to a lot of the sites for quotes. I have a relatively simple board, with an ATMega, and accelerometers, and a LiPo charger, with supporting components. The design has 27 components and is only 1.15"x1.25", two-sided. I've received quotes from Elecrow, PCBCart, Advanced Circuits, ITEAD Studio, and maybe I've lost track of the rest. Quotes for fab & assembly (turnkey) were anywhere from $415 all the way $1300 for 10 boards!

Yesterday I saw a post where someone mentioned MacroFab (http://macrofab.net). Apparently they're starting blow up, and rightfully so. You can drag your Eagle files directly into their web application and it will generate your gerbers and BOM automatically. Then you can choose from their parts list, where they indicate what they have in-house (and cheaper) and what they'll have to order. A handful of parts/packages were not available at low quantities. For example, the regulator in my design was not available in a SOT23, so I had to go with a larger SOT89. It's a pain in the arse, but it's well worth the trouble. The entire time, web app will automatically update the price on the page. I was "quoted" $37 for a single board, fab AND assembly! That's absolutely insane! I went ahead and order ten boards for $260! I really hope that these guys blow up and open doors for hobbyists, so I wanted to spread the word. I'll try to remember to post pics when I receive the boards.

EDIT: Turns out they had the part all along! They're search feature only shows a limited number of results. You can actually search using a Digikey part number, since DK is their main supplier.
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By Ross Robotics
#183769
Good info, will keep them in mind for clients.
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