[quote author="eauth"]There are some hints and youtube videos how non-plated holes can be done in DesignSpark.[/quote]
I'll have to keep looking as I can't find any that don't do as I describe and still place copper with the intention of the drill removing it - which often doesn't work as the alignment is never spot on.
I feel this is something missing from DS - it would be so easy to place a drill only with no associated pad but for some reason they don't want to add this feature.
That's my point - what data do we need to send them to get unplated holes? Milling data is in a different file from drilling data and milling and drilling are different stages in the PCB production process. I generally create mounting holes as milled rather than drilled so they won't be plated, mousebites are too small to mill and need drilling.
There is an option in DSPCB for a pad to be 'Unplated' - however this creates two drill files. For a board house to do unplated holes they need to drill the board, plate it then drill again. This extra stage adds cost and my understanding (although it would be helpful if someone from DirtyPCB could confirm) is that this stage isn't part of the spec and if we include an 'Unplated holes' file it is down to the board house if they use it or not.
How do you specify non-plated holes? I should clarify I've not tried non-plated holes before as I'd read somewhere (although I can't find where) that DirtyPCB doesn't support non-plated holes to keep the cost down.
DesignSpark creates two separate files, one for plated holes and one for unplated. I actually have to merge the two files sometimes as there are some holes created unplated which I need to move in to the plated file otherwise they don't get drilled. If I can send both and they definitely get used (rather than the unplated holes being omitted) then I'll do that.
I've put quite a few panels through DirtyPCBs and had no issues until the last one where the board house rejected it as they said the nibs were too small. I increased the size to about double what I normally use and they accepted them, but when I got the boards back they have obviously tinkered with the routing and increased some of the nibs massively, to the point where they are much too big to cut.
Two questions, first, has anyone else used nibs and what size have you used with success. And second, I've seen others use mouse-bites. How are these created? I use DesignSpark and I can see no way to place a hole without an associated pad and also DirtyPCBs doesn't seem to be able to do non-plated holes (presumably as this is an extra stage in the PCB production process and so costs more).
I'm getting an odd error in the cart on the new site where it is telling me that a board 9.8 x 10.0 is bigger than 10x10. To compound that, the actual gerbers measure 9.8 x 9.8 both in my CAD package and in DFMNow! I assume it's safe to ignore this?
Also, the layer reports don't seem to work. I just get a link to a zip file which doesn't download.
Lastly, I've spotted a pricing oddity. If you select a 10x10 panel with ENIG finish the cart shows a price of $31.95. If you change the size from 10x10 to custom but keep the sizes 10x10 it only shows $29. Increasing the size to 11x10 and the price goes up to >$40.
I suspect one issue will be that the boards are factory packed so it would be more hassle than it is worth for them to unpack and repack a smaller quantity.
I know Ian was going to address this but one problem I've had is that no shipping value has been declared either on the package or the documentation, so DHL and UK customs have been assuming some stupid cost like £100 and based the charges on that. It appears to be impossible to do anything about this as DHL just throw it back to the customs people (which strictly speaking is correct) but trying to get any response out of them is like getting blood out of a stone. It's literally not worth spending the time - I can make more by doing something productive than taking the hours necessary to challenge them.
Ian, did you get anywhere with adding PostNL as a carrier? The main issue I and most other have with DHL is that their handling charge is usually as much or more than the VAT/Duty due.
[quote author="ian"]@sghughes42 - there is a "?" button on the BOM editor. Just include a full manufacturer part number in your BOM and hit the quote button, we'll try to source it here. LiteOn is a cheap and accessible brand of LED in China if you already have a partnumber for that brand.[/quote]
Thanks, Ian. Always happy to support Taiwanese businesses so I'll try and find a matching part in the LiteOn catalogue. However, I'm also happy to have someone choose for me provided it is within a range of brightness and colour temperature if that is possible.
Once you get the chance to add me to the testers I'll give it a shot.
Hi Ian, You mentioned this a while back and I never got around to emailing you to offer to test it - please add me when you are next adding testers. I sell stuff in the UK to railway modellers that I make myself, if I can get it made in China then it would save me a load of time and hassle! Got some fairly simple ones I can push through, only caveat is that my stuff is fairly specific when it comes to LED colour, I can't just accept any crap, needs to be fairly well specced in terms of output and wavelength / CIE value.
Will that be an issue?
There is plenty of other stuff I do that doesn't have these caveats but these little LED boards I sell loads of and are fairly simple so would be a good, quick test.
Just to add to the calls for 'Anyone but DHL' they have overcharged me VAT - including adding a 'VAT Value Adjustment' which appears to just be a way to make me pay more. In addition they have charged me for the paying the VAT without giving me the option to pay it first.
There seems to be no appeal - they take the view they have paid it on my behalf so tough.
Frustrating to get such good service from Dangerous Prototypes only to get terrible service from the courier...
That's the one. Usually self-adhesive backed 'plastic sheet' printed that sticks on the front of a product. If you can also do the ones with buttons in that is even better, although for prototyping you can generally just hack somethign with a physical switch.
No shortage of suppliers in the UK but they all either want you to order hundreds or aren't set up for low volumes. (Mechanical / die cutting, non-digital printing so artwork charges etc)
Really loving the site - made PCBs so much easier and cheaper for me. Previously I had to order 14"x12" panels to get sensible prices which took ages to get enough prototypes together to justify one. Not only are yours cheaper and more flexible, the quality is usually much better than my UK supplier.
Tempted to look further in to getting some product made in China, currently what I do is a mix of prototypes and small scale production (ebay / hobbyist business) and keep thinking it would be so much easier to just get someone else to do the manufacturing for me...
Interesting - I just need to find a use for it now!
Out of interest, do you have any plans to expand to include printed overlays? That is one thing I have never managed to find a supplier of at sensible prices.
Also, I guess the shipping might be prohibitive, but I wonder if you couldn't expand the laser cutting (or other machining) to small enclosures? There are loads of nice small Hammond (for example) enclosures I'd love to fit things in to, but short of investing a lot in to tooling I can't do a 'good job' of cutting apertures etc.
Just coming back on this, I found the Guest Checkout option *was* available going through the 'new' site. At the time I was placing the order I couldn't work out how to get the new site to accept my gerbers, I since worked out that a naming convention had been imposed.
You probably already know this but I did a bit of googling and apparently there is a setting in the Paypal account which makes the guest checkout disappear, however I sort of assume you use the same one for both so that may not be the case...