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By sdmi
Hello All,

For the last 15 years I have run a small PCB assembly service for a handful of designers in Northern California.

I started building boards by hand in High School for a Fuel Cell Research and Development company, from High School on I have always assembled SMT and THT boards for various companies in my local area.

I just recently upgraded from my single gantry Quad 3c to a much newer dual gantry Quad QSP2, I now have available assembly time.

I am wondering if it is appropriate to offer my services on this forum?

If it is appropriate, in which forum would be best? Are there costs involved with advertising services on this forum?

Are these questions already answered somewhere?

thank you for any info!
By uChip
Generally "advertisements" are frowned upon in public forums, but I think there is a need and a general lack of information about assembly services in general. It's SparkFun's forum so they will have to rule on what is acceptable or not.

If I were you, what I would do is to create a blog somewhere (not SparkFun site) that talks about your assembly capabilities and provide information about how it works and what it costs from a hobbiest or small batch startup perspective. I'd love to see photos of your equipment, the kinds of boards you can do and especially, the results. For instance, I'd like to see a photo comparison between a hand soldered board and one done with your PnP. I'd also like to know about costing and how to do set up (kitting, you purchase parts, or however it works). I'd make the site as educational as possible.

Then once you have your site up you could post a link to it on various forums (with permission). Since the site is educational and not purely an ad (and not taking a lot of bandwidth on the forum), I would hope that most forum moderators would allow a link to it. On the SparkFun forum I would think the PCB Design board would be most appropriate.

I really would like to learn more. SparkFun, what do you say?

- Chip
By sdmi
uChip, Thanks for the reply.

Phalanx was able to clarify that this forum generally does not do any advertisements and vending. I'll do my best to not advertise but instead respond to questions about the assembly process that I am able to answer.

I do have a website currently under development that will be released very soon. Perhaps I can use some of the feedback from this discussion to improve and clarify the "what do I do now" question that arises so often when a new PCB designer begins to look at the assembly process as the next step.

Kitted - This term means that the customer(pcb designer most likely) supplies the components and bare pcbs. This is most often used when the customer already has components in hand like after a round of prototyping. Usually the parts are packed by the customer and then shipped/delivered to the assembly house where the assembler will then use the components to populate the boards and return the extras when the job is complete(or hang on to them if you plan to build more units at a later time).

Turn Key - This term means that the customer expects to received finished goods ready to be repacked and resold or ready for integration elsewhere. Sometimes this can also involve cable and housing assemblies as well. Most often a complete set of documents is needed to define the product to be delivered.

Partial Turn Key - This term is used when there is a bit of a split between the two. Perhaps the customer only wants finished boards but no housings or cable assemblies.

Partial Kitted - This term is used when a customer has some but not all of the parts required for a build. Perhaps the customer has a handful of bare pcbs and most of the components, this type of assembly could be described as Partial Kitted.

These are my understandings and uses of these terms - not an absolute set in stone law. Maybe there are some additional gaps that need filling in.

Please feel free to chime in if there are other PCB assembly process or terminology related question I can do my best to answer.
By lyndon
Also, as uChip says, put this stuff on your own site or blog. It's trivial to get setup with Wordpress. You could be blogging in an hour. Post all that stuff you just said on your own blog and you get the SEO benefits.

I'm a big fan of blogging for getting the word out on what you do. I like Wordpress because it is simple to install and use, but there are many other platforms.