49 Cent PCBs

This just popped up on Facebook from Seeedstudio, ten PCBs for $4.90. What's the catch? Anybody use this service yet?

https://www.seeedstudio.com/fusion_pcb.html

PCB.png
625 x 550 - 265K
"When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

- Pablo Picasso

Comments

  • 3 Comments sorted by Date Added Votes
  • For 4 layer PCBs, the cheapest I've found is EasyEDA.

    Your link doesn't seem to be far off in price though...
  • JRetSapDoogJRetSapDoog Posts: 483
    edited May 11 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I've used Seeed four times and have been pleased with the quality and turn-around time. Their site seems pretty easy to use; if you can spell Seeed with three e's, you'll have no problems making selections and uploading your files (though see my third paragraph). A few months back, they added a choice among several PCB colors at no additional charge. I can't comment on the quality at smaller dimensions, as my boards used large 1206 SMD passives and 0.1" through hole chips. But the registration of the silk screen markings was good. Recently , my in-box also received a similar ad from Seeed as above. Unfortunately, my boards are bigger than 10x10 cm. If you can keep your design to those dimensions, they have a nice price, even without the sale. If you go beyond those dimensions, you take a hit disproportionate to the increase in size. I've read that Seeed and iTead combine prototype designs with other runs (even using the same board factory for the actual production) to cuts costs. So, maybe that's why the price for small boards is considerably cheaper, as small boards would "tile" better with larger boards.

    I don't know where I would turn for a bigger production run, but I like Seeed for prototypes or small runs. I've noticed that they've progressively improved their service over the last couple years or so. Also, when you upload your Gerbers, you get visual feedback that allows you to look at the various layers individually or stacked. Incidentally, I pay via PayPal. Although they are located in China, the English on their site is good. Before using them, I read many reviews, almost all of them good, though there may have been some slow deliveries or email miscommunications around 5 years back. Such glitches appear to be in the past. I've been quite pleased with them. I have read that one should email them if things appear stalled. That appeared to happen to me once based on the site's order-progress information, but they promptly answered my email and explained that they were updating the site software, and, indeed, my boards arrived timely. So I think they're doing a lot right. I also received a frame-less metal stencil from them once for an additional $20 and the stencil worked fine for soldering that relatively huge 1206 stuff I mentioned above. So far, I'm a fan of Seeed, having received good service, both in terms of quality and email assistance. I'll likely continue to turn to them. The files I submitted to them were exported from DipTrace. Their site doesn't have anything specific to check or automate the upload of DipTrace files, but I had no problems; just follow their submission guidelines for naming the layers and also the N/C Drill file. Again, I haven't come anywhere near bumping up against their stated limits. Baby steps for me, I guess. So take that into consideration. I kind of do wish that they would make some mention of DipTrace on their site; maybe they will someday (as they keep making enhancements). But not to worry, as my DipTrace files came out just fine, which I guess is what you'd expect for the standardized Gerber format.

    Oh, one small thing to be aware of when you specify your board (size, layers, thickness, etc.) on their site for a price is that you have to tab or click off any fields that you edit that affect the price in order to get the pricing section to update. For example, if you start with a 100x100 mm size (they use mm instead of cm) and change it to 200x200, it'll see the first change to 200 when you move from the length field to the width field (or vice-versa), but if you don't tab or click off after entering the second 200, the pricing section will display the price for a 200x100 board, not a 200x200 one. So, as with many other sites, you need to generate a mouse or keyboard event of some sort to force it to update.

    Sorry for the lengthy response, but it might be helpful to a newbie or at least someone new to Seeed. --Jim
  • ercoerco Posts: 18,499
    Great info Jim, thanks for that detail. I'm gonna make my first PCBs!

    It's funny that I've been hacking some of these small line follower robo-cars which use a PCB as their chassis. They measure 10.3 cm in the long direction. An enterprising person could make some very cheap small robot kits using this service.

    s-l500.jpg


    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
Sign In or Register to comment.