Prototyping and Short Run Services
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Prototyping and Short Run Services

by johnnyc on Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:35 am

I'm wondering if there's a good company out there that can turn prototypes around for less than $300 per part?

As my prototypes get smaller and more complex, I've felt the pain of doing a lot of soldering. I've been looking for a company that can do the prototyping for me.

The last six months I've been working on a project that has growing number of parts, a lot of LQFP pins, smaller and smaller SMD parts. There have been a lot of re-designs and each time, I feel more pain of multi-day builds and tests.

The pain of soldering these projects by hand pushed me to look for a company that could prototype the project.
I couldn't find a company that would cost something reasonable: most of the quotes were in the $500 to $1,000 per board range.

I was wondering if anyone knew of a company that was offering prototype assembly on the cheap. I can wait 8 days (I can wait longer), but the price of $750 per prototype is too expensive for me.

I was also wondering if anyone else had this problem and thoughts on how to solve it? I saw Sparkfun's Pit of Despair blog post a few months back and thought I might be sinking into that (http://www.sparkfun.com/news/909)
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Re: Prototyping and Short Run Services

by Laen on Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:11 pm

johnnyc wrote:I'm wondering if there's a good company out there that can turn prototypes around for less than $300 per part?

The last six months I've been working on a project that has growing number of parts, a lot of LQFP pins, smaller and smaller SMD parts. There have been a lot of re-designs and each time, I feel more pain of multi-day builds and tests.


Yeah, you're in a really difficult place. Inexpensive short-run manufacturing isn't a nut that's been cracked, as far as I know.

The only lead I can give you is this: http://www.nelson-specialties.com/ One of my OSHPark customers told me they got a quote for ~$50 a board for prototype assembly.
Laen
 
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Re: Prototyping and Short Run Services

by JD3 on Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:41 am

Are you hand soldering, or using a reflow oven / electric skillet?
That little black caterpillar you just stepped on will set you back a few bucks....
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Re: Prototyping and Short Run Services

by johnnyc on Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:17 am

I am doing mostly hand soldering. I'm actually doing hand soldering of SMD components for the most part. Some through-hole though.
John Cole
http://www.dexterindustries.com
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Re: Prototyping and Short Run Services

by JD3 on Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:47 am

I have been using an electric skillet for reflow soldering SMD components.
I am using a lower temp leaded solder and it's working great.

Maybe this technique will make it easier?

http://wb9ipa.qrpradio.com/smt/smt.htm
That little black caterpillar you just stepped on will set you back a few bucks....
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Re: Prototyping and Short Run Services

by ColinFitzgerald on Tue Feb 05, 2013 9:31 pm

Hi Johnny,

I tried to send you a direct email (from you site), but may not have gotten through.

Anyway, I'm currently in the process of setting up a SMT assembly service aimed precisely at the Maker/DIY crowd. In short, I've created equipment/process that allows be to almost eliminate setup fee's and run very small batches at a price competitive with anything else.

Now, I'm not quite ready to launch my biz publicly yet, but I can run jobs. If your interested please get in touch and I'll send you more details.

BTW, neat products ! Best of luck!!

Colin Fitzgerald
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