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Ken Gracey (Parallax) said...
We send our PCB files out for manufacturing. For prototype PCBs, our engineers like APCircuits. For production quantities, PCBs could be one of four to five places depending on the requirements. For example, the Altera boards are quite detailed and include graphic design so we couldn't send them just anywhere. RoHS requirements have also narrowed our selection a bit as well. Some of the smaller PCB companies don't offer the kind of plating we need for lead-free assembly.
You'll be surprised about the answer to your second question. All BASIC Stamps and core SMD products are made at our own manufacturing facility in our Rocklin office. These are not done with wave soldering equipment, but with a stencil, solder paste, Pick and Place machine and reflow oven. We can build high-quantity SMD products fairly efficiently in our office. Through-hole wave-soldered products are sent out for manufacturing. The high cost of labor in California (and the U.S.) necessitates much of our through-hole production be done in Asia or local fabrication houses.
There is one exception to the through-hole stuff. For very low-volume products we'll build them in house. But we are not soldering them by hand - we use a dipping machine which holds 20-25 boards at a time.
All of our SMD prototypes are also hand-built in Parallax, by the same staff who runs the equipment to build the BASIC Stamps.
The HM55B compass is only available in a module format through Parallax. Although we have the descrete sensor, Hitachi has requested we don't sell it alone. You can request sample quantities of the HM55B compass through Hitachi Metals America. This requirement (it's silly, I know) lets them track the designs really closely.
I was just curious to know if you could get any more specific than Q1 2006 for the Penguin's release. Any more detailed
information, inluding projected cost, would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
Here is a recent bit work work performed by Dr. Tedrake at the Artificial Intelligence lab at MIT: