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Forum Index : PCB Manufacturing : PCB making in China

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Tinker

Guru

Joined: 07/11/2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 1904
Posted: 09:54am 01 Jul 2019
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I found this interesting.
Klaus
 
dwyer
Guru

Joined: 19/09/2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 572
Posted: 11:57am 01 Jul 2019
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  Tinker said   I found this interesting.


This link doesn't work


Dwyer the bushman
 
Tinker

Guru

Joined: 07/11/2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 1904
Posted: 12:08pm 01 Jul 2019
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Sorry about that, should have tested it first.
try this

Its from PCB way, click the video in the pic at top right in the page.
Klaus
 
BenandAmber
Guru

Joined: 16/02/2019
Location: United States
Posts: 731
Posted: 06:39pm 01 Jul 2019
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I wonder what the price is on having boards assembled maybe 5 or 10 at a time
 
Ironmaiden
Regular Member

Joined: 09/07/2019
Location: United States
Posts: 53
Posted: 08:54pm 09 Jul 2019
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Hi, I am wondering if anyone can tell me about JLCPCB? Eventually I am going to have to get a board made up after I learn how to use either Kicad or DesignSparkPCB.

I am hoping to find a program that can take a PCB layout drawing and convert it to these Gerber files now used by the manufacturers. Otherwise, I am going to have to learn the above programs and painstakingly redraw the ancient drawings and save to to the correct format.

RobertEdited by Ironmaiden 2019-07-11
 
Warpspeed
Guru

Joined: 09/08/2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 2755
Posted: 10:19pm 09 Jul 2019
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Gerbers are now the only way to access the really low cost Chinese circuit boards.

Whatever PCB design package you finally decide to learn on, make absolutely sure it can generate Gerbers in the RS274X format.

There are a whole range of options from freeware that can be a real pain to convert to Gerbers, or low cost entry design packages that have serious limitations.

These limitations usually are either a maximum physical board size, or the number of nodes (pads) you can place onto the board.

So three things to look for apart from cost:
1/ does it create Gerber 274X output files ?
2/ Maximum physical PCB size
3/ Maximum number of pads/components



Cheers, Tony.
 
Grogster

Guru

Joined: 31/12/2012
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 6901
Posted: 01:50am 10 Jul 2019
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Completely agree with Warpspeed on this one. Gerbers need to be RS274X, and the drill data(for drilling all the holes in the board) needs to be in Excellon format.

I note that several of the cheap PCB packages do NOT allow you to export Gerber files.
Some softwares will only output files that certain PCB factories will accept.

Gerbers work anywhere.

I use Sprint Layout 6, which is NOT free, but it is very affordable at only fifty Euros. That's about US$56 or so in American dollars. Very affordable.

Up to four-layer boards, and can export 274X and Excellon drill data files. I use SL6 for all my PCB designs.

Considering the price of SOME PCB CAD softwares, SL6 is extremely well priced.
Smoke makes things work. When the smoke gets out, it stops!
 
LadyN

Guru

Joined: 26/01/2019
Location: United States
Posts: 408
Posted: 02:46am 10 Jul 2019
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  Ironmaiden said   Hi, I am wondering if anyone can tell me about JLCPCB? Eventually I am going to have to get a board made up after I learn how to use either Kicad or DesignSparkPCB.

I am hoping to find a program that can take a PCB layout drawing and convert it to these Gerber files now used by the manufacturers. Otherwise, I am going to have to learn the above programs and painstakingly redraw the ancient drawings and save to to the correct format.


Robert, I would love to start learning Kicad with you.

Kicad supports Gerber 274X.

http://support.seeedstudio.com/knowledgebase/articles/1824574-how-to-generate-gerber-and-drill-files-from-kicad

https://electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/428596/how-to-convert-a-rs-274d-gerber-to-rs-274x

For myself, I would like to start off by laying down the schematic of the TbsSSR in Kicad - it's essentially two back to back T0-220 N Channel MOSFETs, a stamp size PSU offboard and some passives
 
Warpspeed
Guru

Joined: 09/08/2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 2755
Posted: 11:07pm 10 Jul 2019
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Kicad is completely new to me, I have never seen it before.

Quickly skimmed through the tutorial and it looks to be pretty good. I could find nothing there to indicate what the maximum physical PCB size is, or the maximum number of nodes. I believe there is a Kicad Forum, might be worth doing a search there or asking.

I did look at the popular Eagle PCB software once, long ago, only to discover that max PCB size was rather too small for some of the inverter types of projects I wished to do at that time.Edited by Warpspeed 2019-07-12
Cheers, Tony.
 
radar

Newbie

Joined: 09/06/2019
Location: Australia
Posts: 16
Posted: 12:44pm 13 Jul 2019
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  Warpspeed said  I could find nothing there to indicate what the maximum physical PCB size is


This might help KiCad_wiki

radar.
 
Warpspeed
Guru

Joined: 09/08/2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 2755
Posted: 11:29pm 13 Jul 2019
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Eagle versus Kicad:

https://www.bigmessowires.com/2010/05/03/eagle-vs-kicad/
Cheers, Tony.
 
radar

Newbie

Joined: 09/06/2019
Location: Australia
Posts: 16
Posted: 03:44pm 15 Jul 2019
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  Warpspeed said   Eagle versus Kicad


  "From Eagle_vs_KiCad" said   Depending on your project, the 2 layer and 10 x 8 cm & single schematic page limits may be a problem. If you need more, you’ll have to buy one of the commercial versions


  "From kicad Forum Members" said  I think board size is limited to around 2m x 2m, and there are up to 32 copper layers


Not that i have used many pcb cad's as yet , I like to look & try before buy,
So thank you Warp for the link ,

I previously did a four hour tutorial on using kicad
and i thought #uc# this thing is convoluted just to design and produce
the gerber's so i could possibly get some boards made , Patience Boy
I did like lots of other features it has .

I will when time allows do Sparkfun’s Eagle tutorial
to see if it can get me to the ordering stage earlier .
 
Warpspeed
Guru

Joined: 09/08/2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 2755
Posted: 01:57am 16 Jul 2019
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Problem with a tutorial is that it usually tells you ALL of the things it can do.
Once you start using it, a lot of the more exotic features may not be necessary.

Most packages these days require a fully detailed schematic to start from, and that can take about 95% of the time to do properly, because every component requires a lot of detail to be entered.
Even things like a supplier and suppliers part number and cost of each part!

All so that it can spit out a correct bill of materials at the end, or for use with a circuit simulator such as Spice.
That is important if you are doing this professionally for the Company you work for.

You can avoid all of that, by just placing parts on the circuit board manually, and joining up pads with tracks.
You still get all your Gerbers and drill files and it works !!
As a hobby project that may be all you really need to begin with.

Its only when you start having a very large complex board with dozens of integrated circuits and maybe a thousand pads and holes. It then becomes just about impossible to do it all manually without making multiple errors.

So don't be put off by a huge tutorial, a lot of it can be bypassed initially by just using parts picked from the parts library, and linking up pins manually.
Cheers, Tony.
 
Solar Mike
Guru

Joined: 08/02/2015
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 509
Posted: 03:47am 16 Jul 2019
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I use DipTrace a lot, has both a schematic drawing editor and PCB design; either of which may be used stand alone. Its very easy to use and there is a free version; or if used by a hobbyist (non Commercial) a full version lower cost variant is also available.


Cheers
Mike
 
Pinboards
Newbie

Joined: 19/08/2019
Location: Australia
Posts: 3
Posted: 09:22am 08 Sep 2019
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I have used FreePCB for more years than I remember.

We use it daily in a commercial environment with no problems at all.

Ordering PCBs from a couple of our preferred China board houses every week without a glitch.

http://www.freepcb.com/

It is very easy to learn and there are ZERO limitations with board size, shape, number of pins, layers up to 16.

I have tried several others (in fact we also use Altium here in the factory) but FreePCB beats them all hands down IMO.

It's a bit of a shame it's not so well known......
 
bigmik

Guru

Joined: 20/06/2011
Location: Australia
Posts: 2207
Posted: 02:59am 10 Sep 2019
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Not Bad PinBoards,

But I cant help stating that the software doesnt seem to have been updated since 2011 and the link to the free auto-router seems long dead and buried.

But for the price..

Kind Regards,

Mick
Mick's uMite Stuff can be found HERE

 
Pinboards
Newbie

Joined: 19/08/2019
Location: Australia
Posts: 3
Posted: 03:25am 10 Sep 2019
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Thanks for having a look at it Mick.

I am one of those 'dinosaurs' that absolutely despise updates (basically) for the sake of updates.

IMO too much stuff these days is pushed out the door too early with the attitude "she'll be right, we'll update the software later/when we feel like it/never".

FreePCB simply doesn't need any updates. It works just fine the way it is and I'm happy I don't have to learn new things every time an update comes along. I just don't have the time or patience these days to learn new things when I already know how to use a particular program.

'If it ain't broke - don't fix it' comes to mind.

We do some very complex stuff here and FreePCB hasn't let us down once, I can't say the same for (expensive) Altium and the few others I have tried always have some strange quirk or limitation (to me anyway).

I'm sold on FreePCB, which is strange since it's FREE - LOL.
 


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