Things to avoid when sending PCBs to the fab house

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Sjaak shared some tips when sending PCBs to the fab house:

I usually collect a few PCB designs before sending them off to the PCB fabhouse. I prefer to use dirtypcbs.com as I know Ian from dangerousprototypes.com for a long time and think he provides good quality, and fast turn around time for your money. Also tend to be loyal to my suppliers so a better alternative may exist. The main reason I wait before sending them off is that I want my PCBs returned quickly. DirtyPCBs provide fast DHL shipping (about 2-3 days to .nl) but it is quite expensive (about 30 USD) compared to the manufacturing the PCBs. Luckily the PCBs don’t weight a ton, and adding more designs will not add much additional shipping costs.

More details at smdprutser.nl site.

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10 Comments

  1. Isn’t actually postponing all but your last PCB a bit counter-productive if you want them done fast? Well, unless you crank out a PCB each day I guess…

    1. it is, but dhl shipping is like $20 and returned in a few days. free shipping wil tak usually 3-4 weeks to .nl. I tend to loose interest after 2-3 week in a project and move on. :)

      BTW I don’t crank a pcb a day (that will increase the failure rate even higher :))

  2. Here’s my checklist (derived after sooo many screw ups)

    schematic check
    erc
    look for cross-sheet references that aren’t connected
    add 2 fudicials, sparkfun lib-FIDUCIAL-1X2
    4 mounting holes
    add ground test points with holes for probe gnd
    check notes.txt file for todos
    create readme.txt with board name, zip content desc and fudicial placement, example below
    check that all operational output lines have pull up/down during reset
    make sure I2C SDA/SCL have pull-up resistors and solderable test points

    board check
    put a silk square down for sharpie id marking
    add dimensions to tDocu
    load dru file, this sets spacing for pours, etc
    ratsnest
    load board house’s dru then drc
    ratsnet then run zoom-unrouted
    add company name to tNames
    add board name and version to tNames
    run normalize-text:
    set to 40 & 8 mils
    smashes all components
    place names with top, bottom off, tcream on
    place logo with import-bitmap, or use lib part logo-oshw
    check all the version numbers, board, schematic, readme and zip filename (to be created)

    board submission
    print layout
    check connector placement
    create readme.txt with fudicial placement
    cam 4 layer
    gerb274x-4layer.cam
    make sure layer 51 tDocu is in plc, side silkscreen CMP
    make sure layer 200 bmp is in plc, side silkscreen CMP
    excellon.com
    gerbv *.crc *.plc *.stc *.cmp *.ly2 *.l15 *.sol *.sts *.pls
    run Centroid_ScreamingCircuits_smd.ulp
    update version and rev in readme.txt, add version/rev to sheet 1 of sch
    zip gerber.zip *.cmp *.crc *.crs *.drd *.dri *.gpi *.l15 *.ly2 *.plc *.pls *.sol *.stc *.sts readme.txt *centroid.csv *.dim
    zip -sf gerber.zip
    verify that sch and brd are NOT included in gerber zip file
    mv gerber.zip to board-v0.0-gerber.zip
    print sch and brd as pdf
    zip board-v0.0-release.zip board-v0.0-gerber.zip *.sch *.brd *.pdf *.pdf *.csv
    mv 2 zip files to ../release dir
    freedfm

    cat > readme.txt << EOF
    This information, board files, assembly instructions and bill of
    materials are company confidental.
    Not for distribution.

    board
    ???

    version
    ???

    date
    ???

    svn revision
    ???

    fudicials at
    x,y
    x,y

    2 layer description
    2 layer board
    crc component cream
    plc component side silkscreen
    stc component side solder stop mask
    cmp component side copper
    sol solder side copper
    sts solder side solder stop mask
    pls solder side silkscreen
    crs solder cream

    drd drill data
    dri drill info
    gpi gerber info

    2 layer stack up sequence
    top x.cmp
    bottom x.sol

    4 layer description
    4 layer board
    crc component cream
    plc component side silkscreen
    stc component side solder stop mask
    cmp component side copper
    ly2 layer2
    l15 layer15
    sol solder side copper
    sts solder side solder stop mask
    pls solder side silkscreen
    crs solder cream

    drd drill data
    dri drill info
    gpi gerber info
    4 layer stack up sequence
    top x.cmp
    inner 2 x.ly2
    inner 3 x.l15
    bottom x.sol

    2 layer description – using itead's cam
    Silk Top: pcbname.GTO
    Solder Stop Mask Top: pcbname.GTS
    Top layer: pcbname.GTL
    Bottom layer: pcbname.GBL
    Solder Stop Mask Bottom: pcbname.GBS
    Silk Bottom: pcbname.GBO
    NC Drill: pcbname.TXT
    Drill Board Outline: pcbname.do
    Edge Milling: pcbname.GML
    Pad Mask Bottom: pcbname.GBP
    Pad Mask Top: pcbname.GTP

    2 layer stack up sequence
    top x.GTL
    bottom x.GBL

    contact info
    firstName lastName
    phone number
    email

    EOF

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