Praise for OurPCB
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Praise for OurPCB

by uscjeremy on Wed Dec 23, 2009 7:39 pm

LadyAda has a nice review of PCB manufacturers (http://www.ladyada.net/library/pcb/manufacturers.html). She briefly mentions OurPCB, but I'd like to give them a somewhat more detailed and positive review. (I am not affiliated with them at all, except for having ordered from them.)

This was my first PCB ever so I wasn't sure what to expect. I spent a long time researching my fab options. I decided on OurPCB because their value seemed to be the best by a long shot: $50 setup plus about $0.15 per square inch for dual-layer boards with solderstop and silkscreening on both sides, with 10-day production time. They're in China, so another $40 for 2-day shipping. That worked out to about $110 shipped for Qty 10 6.5"x3" boards. Plus they even give you 4/4 mil width and spacing, which most places don't. It's hard to find a company that will produce boards of that size, in that quantity, for that price; the ones that come close don't have solderstop or silkscreening, or have larger minimum feature sizes.

The boards they produced were beautiful:

http://www.circlemud.org/~jelson/rocket ... 0Front.jpg
http://www.circlemud.org/~jelson/rocket ... 20Back.jpg

(If possible, try to suppress snarky comments regarding my dumb routing that uses vias like they're going out of style. This was my first board, and it's mostly auto-routed using Eagle.)

The boards pictured use 8 mil traces, but a 2nd revision used 6 mil traces; I've soldered together about 15 of them so far without any failures. They're both pretty and robust. The solderstop makes them incredibly easy to solder; a friend who had never soldered anything put one together after about 5 minutes of practice.

They have no automated order system, which is good or bad, depending on whether you like talking to humans. You email them your Gerbers, and they email you back a price quote. If you approve, you paypal them money.

If you need PCBs tomorrow, they're not a good choice due to the long lead time. But for DIY projects I've been very happy with them.

They also do pick&place assembly but I haven't used that service.

Cheers,
--Jeremy
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Re: Praise for OurPCB

by dsula on Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:58 pm

I did a turnkey assembly job of 100 PCBs with OurPCB recently and this is my findings:

1. high quality 4 layer board
2. high quality silkscreen
3. 2 out of 100 PCBs had solder issues with QFN parts
4. excellent price for PCB
5. excellent price for assembly
6. excellent price for parts
7. When you submit a BOM the people take the time to find cheaper alternativ parts which you can accept or reject.
8. Very long assembly lead time and lack of communication.
9. Some counterfeit parts were used. This is unfortunate and a killer for any future parts procuring through OurPCB. I don't know if OurPCB knowingly uses fake parts or if they get screwed by some local supplier.

So my recommendation: don't let them procur parts. Or at least have them disclose the suppliers they are using and only proceed if they buy from authorized distributors of the parts in question.
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Re: Praise for OurPCB

by adafruit_support_mike on Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:05 pm

uscjeremy wrote:(If possible, try to suppress snarky comments regarding my dumb routing that uses vias like they're going out of style. This was my first board, and it's mostly auto-routed using Eagle.)

Hey, routing is an art form.. anyone who snarks is just refusing to admit the messes in their own "learning to do it" pile. ;-)

uscjeremy wrote:The boards pictured use 8 mil traces, but a 2nd revision used 6 mil traces;

That's getting a little thin actually..

Most PCB fabs prefer a 12/12 pitch: 12 mil traces with 12 mil of space between them. Going smaller than about 10/10 increases the odds of broken traces or shorts between traces, so the price for making the boards goes up.

From what I see in the pictures, you could probably go up to 12/12 (or 16/16) without any trouble. It won't hurt the layout, and might make the boards cheaper. The general goal is to use the widest traces and spacing you can, shrinking them only when other constraints force you to.
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Re: Praise for OurPCB

by dmpyron on Fri Dec 14, 2012 9:31 pm

mstone@yawp.com wrote:
uscjeremy wrote:(If possible, try to suppress snarky comments regarding my dumb routing that uses vias like they're going out of style. This was my first board, and it's mostly auto-routed using Eagle.)

Hey, routing is an art form.. anyone who snarks is just refusing to admit the messes in their own "learning to do it" pile. ;-)


Hey, the "big guys" pay a couple of a hundred thousand a seat for auto routers, then pay folks to fix the problems. Just be glad you're not doing an eight layer IC.
mstone@yawp.com wrote:
uscjeremy wrote:The boards pictured use 8 mil traces, but a 2nd revision used 6 mil traces;

That's getting a little thin actually..

Most PCB fabs prefer a 12/12 pitch: 12 mil traces with 12 mil of space between them. Going smaller than about 10/10 increases the odds of broken traces or shorts between traces, so the price for making the boards goes up.


Most places have design rules to protect against those problems because somebody has to pay to fix them, and it's always "your" fault (customer or fab). So you have design rules and DRC (design rules checking).

I guess at the prices we're paying for these boards, LVS (layout vs schematic) is probably too expensive to put into what is usually free software and the boards aren't so intricate that it can't be done visually.

mstone@yawp.com wrote:From what I see in the pictures, you could probably go up to 12/12 (or 16/16) without any trouble. It won't hurt the layout, and might make the boards cheaper. The general goal is to use the widest traces and spacing you can, shrinking them only when other constraints force you to.


As long as you don't go too far over your real estate budget for the board, 12/12 or bigger is usually the best choice. It also makes going "thinner" here and there easier. And easier is always a good thing.
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Re: Praise for OurPCB

by gorilla2013 on Mon Apr 22, 2013 4:17 am

Hi,

I have just recently used OurPCB service. I gave them a mirrored gerber files (which includes the GTL, GBL and soldermask files) and they end up produce a mirrored PCB. I always thought the GTL and GBL gives an indication of the top and bottom layers of the PCB but they didn't picked it up. I was hoping if they have received a mirrored file at least they could have indicate to me that they can't use it.

I have used PCBCart and they used mirrored files without any issues. Other PCB manufacturers will actually indicate the gerber files has to be not mirrored.

Paul
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