Design Con 2015

Finding a quick-turn PCB shop

-June 02, 2014

Not all boards have 8, 12, 16 or more layers. For more modest needs, shops specializing in quick (it varies) and low-cost (it varies) 2-4 layer proto PCBs have sprung up in recent years. And I've discovered a great new site that helps you choose the right place for the job.

Thanks to software engineer and hardware hobbyist Bob Alexander, next time you need a batch of PCBs, make his PCB Shopper site your first stop. Enter your basic board specs, like size, layer count, and quantity, and out pops a list of vendors (from China, USA, Canada, & Germany) along with prices and delivery time (BTW, here's another Canadian source that hasn't made his list yet: Bittele/7pcb). The site also has a nice little summary of CAD tools.

Bob's site grew out of his frustration with finding the best board house for a given project, as well as a desire to get himself up to speed with Web programming. I'd say he's made a great start with PCB Shopper. Long may it run.

p.s., Should EDN consider reviewing some of the PCB houses by sending out sample designs? Obviously, budget approval would be needed, but if enough of you ask for it in the comments, who knows…

p.p.s., [update 2014/10/30] see Quick-Turn PCB shop review project: Step 1, the PCB

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