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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A slew of announcements about new materials and design concepts for transportation have come out of several trade shows focusing on plastics, aircraft interiors, heavy trucks, and automotive engineering. A few more announcements have come independent of any trade shows, maybe just because it's spring.
Samsung's Galaxy line of smartphones used to fare quite well in the repairability department, but last year's flagship S5 model took a tumble, scoring a meh-inducing 5/10. Will the newly redesigned S6 lead us back into star-studded territory, or will we sink further into the depths of a repairability black hole?
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