pcbs

Ordering Circuit Boards

This tutorial explains the process of ordering printed circuit boards (PCBs), to which you can solder electronic components to make a functional electronic device. There are a variety of online vendors offering PCB manufacturing services, including in very small quantities (like two or three PCBs). Different services offer different turn-around times, from a few days to a few weeks. Typically, the faster you want to get the boards back, the more you’ll pay. The more boards you order, the lower the price per board. Costs can range from a few dollars per board (if you’re ordering a bunch of them and willing to wait) to $50 or more per board if you want a couple of prototypes quickly.

Pre-Requisites

This tutorial assumes that you already have the Gerber files for your circuit board. These are the files that you send to the PCB manufacturer. They’re generated from the original board layout files, like those created with Eagle or Altium. For information on generating Gerber files from Eagle, see the this tutorial from SparkFun or Jeremy Blum’s CAM output tutorial.

Other Resources

Dangerous Prototypes has a more complete tutorial that discusses generating Gerbers as well as ordering boards. Colin Karpfinger has a similarly-complete tutorial.

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