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proposal: PCBEX, propeller circuit board exchange — Parallax Forums

proposal: PCBEX, propeller circuit board exchange

From time to time, forum members design PCBs for the propeller which they like to share with or sell to other forum members. For the more sophisticated designs which require fine pitch SMD soldering it makes sense to pre-assemble them and sell the boards "ready-to-fly". But there are many tiny PCBs like accessory or adapter boards which only carry some connectors or very few passive parts. So all the work required to order larger quantities, assemble them, keep them in stock, handle payment and shipping etc. can't be justified. It would be much easier if we could just put the design into the public domain so that everybody who wants them can just order some by themselves. But reviewing gerber files and selecting the right options at the board house shop is also not everyones favorite task.

So here is my suggestion: Some board houses offer "open source" PCBs. The designer who first orders some of his PCBs can mark them as "shareable" or "public". So everybody else can also order some of them without having to care about the files or manufacturing options.

For example, dirtypcb.com offers this service. As soon as you have uploaded the gerber files and puit it in your shopping cart you can click on "share/sell" to make the design public. Does anybody else know other board houses that offer this service? It should offer worldwide shipping for a reasonable price and credit card or Paypal payment options.

Of course, it makes sense to also upload the files to the forum, here. So in the case the board shop shuts down we have a backup.

Comments

  • PublisonPublison Posts: 12,208

    OshPark offers sharing.

    https://oshpark.com/shared_projects

  • ManAtWorkManAtWork Posts: 1,260
    edited 2021-09-30 10:13

    Looks very interesting. And they are in the USA. I wonder how long their free postal shipping takes to Europe and how customs are handled. I'll try them out the next time I have a prototype board. Thanks!

    PS: they don't offer SMD stencils? I think I'll have to buy a cheap laser cutter sooner or later.

  • PublisonPublison Posts: 12,208

    If you search "Parallax" you will find a couple of boards made by forum members. JonnyMac had one there but I can not find it right now.

  • maccamacca Posts: 339

    Aisler also allows to share pcb projects. This may be more suitable for EU residents giving the recent changes in the EU import rules. Prices are comparable to OSHPark.
    They also allows to purchase parts along with the pcb (they source parts from Digikey and Mouser).

  • Nice. Probably it's best to upload to both, Oshpark and Aisler. So members from both USA and Europe can order without customs trouble. Aisler also offers stencils.

    How do we handle BOMs? Some adaptors only contain standard pin headers and don't need any further explanation. But some need special USB/HDMI or SMT connectors. In this case exact order numbers would be helpful.

  • Ok, I've made test orders at Aisler and OshPark Let's see how it works...

    Aisler also offers parts procurement and assembly service. I don't know if that makes sense for anyone else. Assembly starts at €99 they say. Too much money for small boards and probably too much trouble for more complex projects.

  • PublisonPublison Posts: 12,208

    I have seen people include BOM and links when they publish.

  • PublisonPublison Posts: 12,208
    edited 2021-09-30 17:03

    OshPark entry looks good!

  • TubularTubular Posts: 4,425

    This is a good idea

    You can get stencils with your Oshpark orders from a separate but associated company, oshstencils.com

    PCBway also have some community designs, I'll investigate further

    I'm going to busy for a few more weeks but look forward to being part of this in the future

  • PublisonPublison Posts: 12,208

    @macca said:
    Aisler also allows to share pcb projects. This may be more suitable for EU residents giving the recent changes in the EU import rules. Prices are comparable to OSHPark.
    They also allows to purchase parts along with the pcb (they source parts from Digikey and Mouser).

    I noticed you have a project on OshPark.

  • maccamacca Posts: 339

    @Publison said:

    @macca said:
    Aisler also allows to share pcb projects. This may be more suitable for EU residents giving the recent changes in the EU import rules. Prices are comparable to OSHPark.
    They also allows to purchase parts along with the pcb (they source parts from Digikey and Mouser).

    I noticed you have a project on OshPark.

    Yes, more than one...

  • Three weeks have passed since my orders and none of the boards have arrived, yet. :/ I hate to say that but the service of chinese board houses is much better or at least much faster.

  • With OshPark did you take the cheapest shipping option? Within the US, it's First Class Mail (aka, what you use to send a letter). I've usually gotten things within two weeks, but then basic postal service is usually good for two day shipping. Did you receive a "Panels have been cut, your package has been shipped" notification?

  • Yes, OSHpark has shipped but the boards haven't arrived yet. I think, "first class" means they take the luxury cruise ship instead of the plane. :D Aisler didn't even finish production, yet. :(

  • maccamacca Posts: 339

    @ManAtWork said:
    Aisler didn't even finish production, yet. :(

    That's definitely not good. In my past experience PCBs are manufatured within 2-3 days from order and shipped right afterwards, with a total of 2 weeks max. from order to delivery (to Italy).
    I suggest you to contact the administrator and ask if there are issues with your order, usually he is very responsive and helpful.

  • What makes me wonder is that there's a suspicious coincidence with the current shipment delays from China. Could it be that Aisler doesn't have any own production facility but sells chinese boards simply labeling them as their own? I've seen that before with another "so called" german board house.

    Some years ago, I got a parcel from a Chinese board house where I have ordered (intentionally). But the chinese shipping agent mixed up the boxes and sent me the wrong parcel. Fortunatelly there was a company logo on the boards so I googled them and called them up, "hey, I've accidentally got your boards, could it be that you've got mine?" ;) I've told them from where I got the parcel and they became very angry because they thought they'd ordered from a german manufacturer... :D

    Another explanation would be that they suffer from the current raw material shortage. But no matter what excuse they have, they are simply way too slow. Next time I'll order directly from China, again.

  • Just while we talked about it... The boards from OshPark have arrived, finally! They look nice. I've got a free upgrade to ENIG finish. I think I payed $6 for the boards to OshPark, 1€ customs fee and 6€ import fee to DHL. :| Still a good deal. I think, next time I upload to OshPark so that other comunity members from the USA can order there. But I'll order my boards from JLC.

    Still have to wait for the stencil from Aisler before I can assemble the boards.

  • OSHPark has ENIG standard. No way to order without it.

  • Message from Aisler: The boards have been shipped but the stencil hasn't. :/

  • I'm starting to get really angry about Aisler. I've got an invoice for both the boards and stencil but the stencil still hasn't shipped. According to the project status in my account production hasn't even started. I get no notifications and no response to my emails. :(

  • PublisonPublison Posts: 12,208

    As Donald Trump would say...You Fired!

  • JonnyMacJonnyMac Posts: 7,823

    I'm starting to get really angry about Aisler.

    Have you considered PCBWay.com? I've had really good luck with them. On a build I'm doing this week, I ordered on Sunday and had boards by Friday -- without asking for rush service. That included a stainless steel stencil.

  • I normally use PCBway, but their prices has gone sky high. Changed to JLCPCB, found them to be nearly half price of PCBway. I can't tell you yet about quality difference, I will receive the PCBs in two days.
    (Mostly 4 layer enig PCBs, and less than thirty pc of each design)

  • JonnyMacJonnyMac Posts: 7,823

    I haven't used JLC in a long time -- will give them a try as the materials I received from them in the past (simple, 2-layer boards) we excellent.

  • I use JLCPCB. Absent some huge falling out, I probably wont change, either. They have this thing down, and best of all they dont mind putting up with Noobs like me.

    The only issue I ever had is the way they route the board edges. I didnt understand the width of the cutting tool, so when it followed my lines to cut the boards they wound-up just a smidgen smaller than I wanted. No biggie for a hobby board! Lol

  • Wow, finally the stencil from Aisler has arrived, today. That's almost two months lead time. Not acceptable for prototypes. Never again...

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