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Designing PCBs and PCB fabrication are getting a lot easier these days. The possibility of manufacturing 5-10pcs circuit boards at dirt cheap price has given millions of hobbyists an opportunity to work on their ideas freely. However, for a hobbyist or a beginner, even cheap services can become expensive if he/she is unaware of all the steps involved from designing to PCB fabrication . There are a lot of things a designer should know while designing a circuit board. In this article, we are going to discuss few important aspects of designing and ordering a PCB and find out how JLCPCB performs on those aspects.
Here are 6 points why we are recommending JLCPCB. All PCB related services are offered by one company: JLCPCB is operated by the same team which operates EasyEDA .JLCPCB is a rapidly growing company for manufacturing low cost PCBs, it has 200,000+ active customers and accepts 8,000+ online orders per day.
1.Cheapest PCB fabrication service ($2 for 10pcs of 10cmx10cm PCBs):
JLCPCB is the cheapest manufacturer of PCBs. For 10pcs of 10cmx10cm board, it costs only $2. And at 1/4 the price! JLCPCB cant be beat in my opinion, if for no other reason than I can get a micropolished framed stencil with my board orders for 27 dollars. Ordered 20 4 layer PCBs and a micropolished stencil and got them for the same cost as what I paid Advanced Circuits for just four 4 layer PCBS. How can you beat that for low quantity board orders? Online Instant PCB Quote: https://jlcpcb.com/quote
2.Excellent Service and Quality
I ordered a set of 2 layer PCBs from JLCPCB and The price is $2 for 10pcs boards. 1.2mm thick, 1-OZ copper, 6/6-mil outer (0.1525mm). The boards look great. The internal cutout is correct. Copper traces are perfect. Non-plated holes are not plated. Drills are centered perfect.Vias that I had tented & not-tented are correct. Silk (both sides) is spot on, 45-mil(1.14mm) high 6-mil(0.1524mm) wide text, very good looking. Boards was built in 3 days and shipped in 4 days received them the next day in USA by DHL.
The following video shows the quality of the PCBs ordered from JLCPCB.
3.Order SMT stencils at JLCPCB
If your circuit boards have SMT components, you would need SMT stencils also. Sometimes, if you have ordered PCBs from one company and stencils from other company. JLCPCB is also taking orders for high precision SMT stencils. JLCPCB charges only $9 for 38cmx28cm stencil.
4.Simplified or non-existing design rules:
The PCB manufacturing companies have a set of design rules that the designer should adhere to. If the designer does not follow the rules, the design would be rejected by the manufacturing machine. That’s why most of the PCB manufacturing companies publish a set of design rules and most of them have terms which are confusing to beginners.
For example, this design rule has been depicted from a different manufacturing company’s page:
Minimum track width: 6mil (0.15mm) Minimum spacing: 6mil (0.15mm) Minimum vias specifications: pad:20mil(0.5mm)/hole size:12mil(0.3mm)
JLCPCB does not require any design rules before ordering the PCBs. It will simply accept your gerber files. If there is any problem, they will contact you. We have written an article on how to order PCBs from JLCPCB. One example of rejection by OSH park:
We have a Gerber file (generated by Eagle) that is readily accepted by most of the PCB manufacturing companies including JLCPCB, but it has been rejected by OSH Park. This can happen to any of your Gerber files. Therefore, we recommend JLCPCB to avoid this failure.
5.Accepts Gerber files created by- Eagle, Altium, Kicad and Diptrace.
A PCB manufacturing company should accept Gerbers created by any PCB design software. However, there are some design rules given by the companies that a designer should follow. In case of JLCPCB, they have published 4 video tutorials to help users to create their Gerbers with ease. Altium, Eagle, Kicad and Diptrace are most popular software for designing PCBs and JLCPCB accepts all.
6.JLCPCB offers a platform for checking your Gerber- Gerber Viewer
As stated earlier, EasyEDA is JLCPCB’s partner platform and they also offer you a free online Gerber viewer. You can use it to check your PCB Gerber files and check how it appears in different colors, layers and surface finish. The Gerber viewer is so good that it can generate the image closely resembling the real circuit board. Check the following images:
Now there are a lot of PCB fabrication companies. For a PCB from designing to shipping, everything needs proper care. So, while choosing your PCB fabrication manufacturer, do a thorough research about the company, its background, so that you get genuine and high-quality services in return.
Related Posts 1.Tutorial on how to prototype PCBs for $2 with JLCPCB