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Questions about the BatchPCB service

Moderator: robacarp

By mcollas
I've just been through the web shop checkout process for some PCBs, but abandoned it for the moment because of the shipping costs. The USPS Global Priority Mail option shows "error" as the price, so I tried to use one of the options as an override. The GPM override option is $15 - this seems like a lot for $10 worth of PCB. It spoils the value proposition of being able to order small PCB areas for prototypes.

The USPS web site lists the cost of a 6 inch by 10 inch envelope as $5.00. Sixty square inches of envelope space should be more than enough to fit 2 square inches of PCB - is it possible to arrange to use this (small Global Priority Mail envelope) as a shipping option at something closer to the US$5 price?

User avatar
By sparky
There's a new override for $7 ($5 + $2 for handling). The main reason for not listing this before is that we are afraid customers will choose this shipping for orders that contain larger, non-PCB parts.

Let me know if there is anything else we can do,
By eejake52
How about a shipping option of "e-mail"?

For a PCB, the logic goes like this:
a) I order a board that is 1 sq. in. The PCB cost is $5, I select shipping of "e-mail", and in the comments I ask SFE to simply toss the board on the scrap heap.

b) On my next order, I buy several boards, totaling about 30 sq. in. Assuming I had no problems with the first order, I am now entitled to the rate of $2.50 per sq. in. so I add another copy of my first board at an incremental cost of $2.50.

This strategy would lower my net cost by $4.50 ($7.00 shipping vs. $2.50 incremental) over shipping the first board via envelope.

Is this viable or too much hassle for you?

By pittuck
lol, chaos theory? fuzzy logic?

By lucky
Why not redo the shop using OsCommerce. It is free, great, easy to use (implement, maintain and in terms of customer use) and is open source. This will calculate shipping cost worldwide for you and there are no errors requiring overides.

Sounds like a lot of work but it realy isn't and it is so worth the time.
User avatar
By sparky
Jake - :shock:. Still not sure what I think of that. I guess if you've managed to learn the PCB service - you are welcome to the $2.50 service.

As for the $7 override - sure enough, people can't figure out the difference. About 3 times a week we get to email customers to let them know they can't ship 11 lbs of hot-air rework station in a 4" envelope. No, it's not quite that extreme, but it's still not the best solution.

Always let us know if you come across better cart software. OsCommerce is ok - the price is right, but the stores look horrible. They all look the same! I don't like the lack of character. SFE has a sort of unique/amateur look to it that I like... And the errors are not a limitation of the cart software really. The USPS APIs are good, but just not good enough to cover every country/address + different shipping choices to return a sensible value every time. Any cart software will be plagued by errors returned by the unifying external source.

By pittuck
sparky, i know its a hassle, but can u offer a $3.99 PCB check service? perhaps limit it to 5 a week?

If i had the time i would be willing to offer to do the service, but ATM time is short and there are no decent free DRC's which can check gerbers.


anyhow, the offer is there if you know a free DRC / gerber viewer.
User avatar
By sparky
check service? As in we check your PCB for design mistakes or gerber layer/mirrored/drill problems for $4? But that's sort of built into the cost of the square inch. I must be confused.

By pittuck
well, person above wants to put a PCB through the service in order to 'be allowed' to use the cheaper option.

Ok, the idea was a bad one, i will put a post-it on the monitor about 7AM and posting in forums :D
By eejake52
Minimum charge for shipping is $7. Minimum charge for a 'test' pcb is $5 (i.e. 1 square inch). So, minimum cost for a trial run is $12. Also, average turnaround for a board is 2 - 3 weeks. If there was a service to 'check' PCB files for $4, it would save me $8, and get me into the low cost rate for my larger boards quicker.

Perhaps my birth certificate is showing, but does anyone else recognize that this is just a simple example of Linear Programming?
For more than just the answer to the above, see: ... g-faq.html