I’ve updated the spreadsheet with 38 online quotes (I haven’t called anyone) from 4 different vendors. Advanced circuits, eteknet, oshpark and seeedstudio.
Does anyone have any other board houses they would like us to consider? Let me know and I’ll add them to the list.
So far (Dave is getting an update from Oshpark) for domestic production, eteknet is the clear winner. In addition to the best price, they will do black soldermask (black boards) with yellow silkscreen for only $35 more per order, no matter what quantity.
If we stay with a small quantity, and don’t mind ordering from china, seeed studio’s “100 boards for $80” is the way to go, though that does not include shipping. I’ve been very happy with the boards I’ve ordered from them in the past, I can bring in samples. They offer black boards for +$0.02 each, but only white silk screen.
Note that since these are online quotes obtained just by providing the dimensions of a square that fits the board, and not taking into how many will fit on a panel and ordering appropriately, the actual price will probably turn out to be a bit lower. Particularly with the possible stacking options a hex board gives us. But these prices should do for narrowing the options.
Laen will hook us the fuck up. I seem to have best luck catching him in the evening. I’d rather give him the business if possible because of what he does to support small scale hobbyists and their circuit board needs. I don’t know much about eteknet - they seem to have done well for others.
I also for one STRONGLY vote against China fab. We’re members of a fucking hackerspace. We’re using these at an event to promote DIY and homegrown invention, manufacturing and tinkering. I think China fab goes against all of these principles that we’re otherwise trying to promote and is extremely hypocritical. I personally insist on US manufacture for all PCBs and US assembly of all devices I’ve designed and manufactured for profit. I really feel strongly that we should too.
I’m not sure I understand all the aspects the China bias. Seeedstudio is all about open source hardware and their fusion service was originally started for hobbiests in china. In terms of being homegrown, I don’t see a big difference in having them shipped from Colorado or China, in either case I’m not actually involved in the manufacturing.
However, I expected there would b a problem with Chinese fabrication because of the unknowable quality of the working conditions and environmental controls in the factory. Those are pretty good reasons to steer clear of Chinese manufacture, unless you are willing to fly out and tour some factories yourself. That’s why I specifically pointed out the domestic options, and didn’t bother with Gold Phoenix, etc. I only listed the seeestudio option because it was so cheap in the “100 boards or less” category.
I looked at eteknet because they were who did the original ATXHS badges, and was pleased to find that they can do the yellow on black for so little.
I join Dave’s vote against Chinese manufacture and look forward to the OSHpark quote, because I think those boards are beautiful.
James@OSH Park pretty much said because it is a hackerspace project, he will meet/beat the e-teknet price on a “sponsorship” basis provided we find a way to put something to the effect of “Made in the USA by OSHpark.com” on the boards. 3 week turn, we’d receive the whole panels and be responsible for de-panelizing the boards ourselves. I think this is perfectly reasonable, personally. OSHpark is a great resource for enthusiasts getting started with circuit board design - having a little thing for them on the boards would be a breadcrumb for people who would want to do their own boards. He’d prefer to also do his standard pretty purple soldermask but would be able to do other colors as long as q was 1000 or so.
Would they be tab routed to aid in cutting them apart? Remember, they will (by the current discussion at least) be hexegonal, so de-panelizing them might not be a tiny task. You can’t score and snap a a crooked line. I don’t know much about cutting circuit boards, having only done it with tin snips. Hopefully we would come up with a better way.
Yeah, they’d be tab route. We could get them de-panelized but it would be a little more. I don’t think this is a stumbling block. It’s a whole lot easier to store panels than loose boards IMHO.