Hi folks. I just pulled the trigger on a set of 10 proto PCBs from PCBway, with included purchasing and assembly. Here’s my log of the events. I’ll add more once I get the boards, but I want to start now while it’s fresh in my memory.
Order of 20 PCBs, 48 x 40mm, 4 layer, 0.8mm, 0.15/0.15mm space/trace, 0.25mm drill.
Assembly of 10 PCBs, all SMT, 81 parts, 50 uniques, lots of 0201.
Cost: $142 ($14.20 per PCB)
Note: cost goes down to $3/unit for large volume
Cost: generally a 2x markup on all parts. Original quote was ~$50/unit, I removed three ICs (two QFN, one LGA), quote became ~$20/unit.
So far, it’s a decent deal. Basically a $24 additional cost per board. We will need to do the QFNs and LGAs ourselves, but these parts are easy for us to solder as long as the solder paste is already there (it will be). Moreover, we’ll need to rework these parts anyway during testing for energy and impedance.
The giant pains for us are applying solder paste and soldering lots of 0201s and other micro components. These two activities are purportedly solved for $24/board. Worth it.
Final note is that I could easily compete with this price ($14 labor + $10 hidden handling cost per board) with an operation in Ukraine. Probably I should talk to the guys at Diptrace about this – one click PCB build and stuff would be a nice feature.