I've ordered a few 2-layer PCBs for hobby purposes. The first was made with KiCad and the others with DesignSpark. But I learned a few things from Carol's lecture.
I use a batching service now called OSH Park (formerly Dorkbot PCB) with excellent output (boards are US made). For my hobby use it's worth waiting a couple of weeks to save a couple hundred dollars compared to the cost of quick-turn places like Advanced Circuits.
@Mr. E, Don't have any names for you. It would depend on the volume. If your are willing to wait and have enough volume, ask for their bottom price. Some manufacturer's here will have a relationship with a Chinese mfr and can handle it for you.
To double check package layouts it helps to print the top layer on a good laser printer, as well as the bottom layer, mirrored. Then actually put your components on the paper to make sure everything is OK.
It really helps to talk with the vendor--it can save you lots of money. Also, many vendors have standard design rules. If you meet these rules your board will cost less. For example, one 8 mil trace can add 10 or 20% to the board cost if the vendor's standard is 10 mil traces.
@Rob Generally good, never the quality I usually expect and little room for modification once they are in the flow. There are two streams: one for prototyping and another for production quantities. Some houses want it panelized complete with registrations, others will want to do that themselves.
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Wal-Mart will hold its second Made in the USA Open Call July 7-8, at its headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. The event will be a repeat effort by the world’s biggest seller of consumer goods to increase the amount of US-made products it sells in Wal-Mart stores, in Sam’s Club members-only wholesale outlets, and on walmart.com.
From design feasibility, to development, to production, having the right information to make good decisions can ultimately keep a product from failing validation. The key is highly focused information that doesn’t come from conventional, statistics-based tests but from accelerated stress testing.
There’s a good chance that a few of the things mentioned here won't fully come to fruition in 2015 but rather much later down the line. However, as Malcolm X once said, "The future belongs to those who prepare for it today."
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.