DipTrace layout and ordering boards from Dorkbot aka OSH Park

From KuzyaTech

KuzyaTech has a gerat article on producing printed circuit boards at OSH Park using files generated by DipTrace.  Following these recommendations will help ensure you get the boards you expect.

Well, my test design is complete and now I need a few prototypes to play with. The usual ways of ordering PCBs are rather expensive, with just tooling fees in hundreds of dollars. The remaining options are a few China based places, and an OSH Park ran by Laen from Dorkbot. He runs a community PCB service that groups orders and orders them periodically on a common panel, sharing costs between all people. The cost is very reasonable ($5 a square inch) and you get three boards. So a 2″ board in three copies will cost you $10 delivered. That definitely opens the door for quick prototyping of pretty much anything! After having used other company’s prototyping services, I must say OSH is also by far the most user friendly. Lets walk through the steps of ordering these boards.

First you need to check that the design complies with the design rules listed.  Ideally those are setup at the beginning so that you do not have to deal with things being too close or two narrow after the fact. Here is what they look like in DipTrace (Under Verificaton, Design Rules)

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Posted: 5 years 2 months ago by Jon Chandler #11265
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A minor point about pricing....
The cost is very reasonable ($5 a square inch) and you get three boards. So a 2″ board in three copies will cost you $10 delivered.

It's $10 to have 3 copies of a 2 square inch board (2" x 1"), not a 2" x 2" board, which would cost $20.

For an almost 2" x 2" board (1.97" x 1.97") iTead and Seeed charge about $15 delivered for 10 copies.
Posted: 5 years 2 months ago by MrDEB #11267
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Itead and Seeed are cheaper BUT you wait for 3-5 weeks to get here.
OSH Park is here in the USA and quicker. Have boards ordered 7 days ago and waiting shipment. At least you get a confirmation from OSH Park about your order.
If you need it quick = OSH Park
Cheap = Itead or Seeed
Using DIPTRACE is a pain free experience to check design rules and producing Gerrber files (Don't forget the N/C drill files.
Posted: 5 years 2 months ago by MMcLaren #11271
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Thank you very much for posting/linking this article, Jon.

Cheerful regards, Mike
Posted: 5 years 2 months ago by Jon Chandler #11286
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For those of you that have missed it, PCB Fabrication Sources has pricing information for a number of printed circuit board fab houses that I've personally used or are known to me. I update the information periodically so it should be current.

The selection of a PCB fab house is a complex issue involving not only price but quantity, capabilities and extra features. No single source is right for everyone or even for every project.


In general, my design philosophy favors quantity orders:
    I usually design my boards in a generic way so that they will be useful for more than a specific application. This includes adding connectors for common features (I2C, UART, etc.) using a common pinout.
    My boards are usually designed to fit a specific enclosure or to have a uniform footprint rather than being designed for minimum size.
    I take care in my designs and have a high degree of confidence that my board designs will work as laid out. Worst case, a board may need a jumper or two but never has a board been unusable. In some cases, as when using an unfamiliar part, prototyping may be needed, so a large run of boards is undesirable.

Each project should be evaluated to decide on the best fab house option.


Regarding shipping from iTead, Seeed and other overseas suppliers

The cheap shipping option can take 2 - 3 weeks for delivery and may be delayed by local holidays. For a recent order from iTead, I was ordering several lots of boards and I opted for DHL Express shipping. Since I had a large order, the cost per lot was not much higher than the cheapest option. I had the boards about 10 days after I had ordered them.

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