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Costs & Pricing

  • Cost Factors in Pricing a Flexible Printed Circuit Board

    Based upon a 12' x 18' board , we are looking at creating either a FPCB or Flexi-rigid board but for the time being if we could get ballpark figures for the FPCB and what would increase/decrease the price?

    • Whether 1 layer or 2 layers is a big factor. 2 layer FPCB will be +50% more expensive than 1 layer FPCB. Local stiffeners are expected and not expensive. They are best if all are same thickness and on same side.

      The larger the FPCB, the more expensive it will be. But in small quantities, most of the cost is in the set up charge for the job, so the size will not be the biggest factor.

      A 1 layer flex or 2 layer flex with PTH and localised rigidisers all on the same size and the same thickness, is generally the lowest cost flex configuration. Note that the rigidisers here are blank pieces of FR4 or polyimide. All tracking must be on the flex part of the circuit.

      Flexies with more than 2 layers, say 4 or 6 layers, are rare & expensive. Probably best avoided for commercial work. Flexi-rigids are expensive and can get very complex in their construction. The rigid part will have PTH and tracks, and be bonded to the flex part. Such a configuration will be some 3 times more expensive than a simple flex with plain rigidiser.

  • Are your quoted prices per lot or per circuit?

    • Prices quoted are per lot.

  • Cost of PCB Manufacture and Assembly (Customer Question)

    Is the cost of PCB manufacture included in the assembly quote?

    I'm creating design files in DesignSpark and, to avoid costly mistakes, I plan to check your manufactured PCB visually and probably then hand assemble one to be sure it's all OK before releasing for short run assembly.

    When an online assembly order is raised do you include the cost of board manufacture in the "Assembly" quote or are they two separate costs? If so, as you need PCBs framed, is it best for me to order a couple of boards first for testing and then later order a Frame for Assembly; which presumably you could hold? Or could I order a Frame, snap off a couple and then return the remaining Frame for assembly?

    • Manufacture of the bare PCB and assembly are two separate transactions, and need to be ordered independently.

      Any PCB can be ordered with a frame, (= a snap off handling frame) or without. If we are assembling the PCB we prefer always to have a frame. PCBs can be assembled without a frame, but they are much easier in a frame if you are using any machinery to assist (solder paste printing, semi-auto smd assembly, etc)

      There is no charge for the frame. The frame may be around just one PCB or a group (step & repeated). You could take delivery of the PCBs in a frame and snap one out and return the rest for us to assemble later, or you could order say 5 pcs is singles each in a frame, and return 4 pcs as singles in a frame for us to assemble.

    • Great! I was thinking of ordering 10 pcbs for best cost break and testing a few. Then returning 6 for assembly. So would it be best to order 10 in a frame and snap four off? Also if you are assembling do I have to order a solder paste layer?
    • Our assembly quotes always include the cost of solder paste screens. We could assemble the frame of 10 pcs with a number snapped off. However, it would be more elegant to order say 5 sets of 2 pcs in a frame, and return 3 frames to us.
  • Price Quote on Gerber File Set (Customer Question)

    Is it possible to get a quote on a supplied set of Gerber files? I have the files, but only approximately the size of the board. A subsequent question is what is expected in a Gerber file set (naming convention, extensions)?

Specification & Ordering

  • How do I place an Order?

  • What files do I need to send you to make a single sided pcb?

    • If you send us the extended gerber files below, that will be fine:

      Top layer copper
      Top layer solder mask
      Top layer silkscreen
      Holes Board

  • Minimum Track Widths

    I am designing a prototype circuit with BGA of where the tracks gap around it may be slightly lower than the capability of 0.15mm (it is measured to be 5.81 mil or 0.1476 mm) The remaining width and gap is ensured to be more than 6 mil. Will you be able to manufacture the board?, if so then: - Will I need a special quote for it? - How much will the price difference to standard order?

    • It would be better if you could design the tracks at 0.15 mm then it will not cause any problem with our design rule checks. It is so close to 0.1476mm that it should not make any practical difference. We can make this even if the tracks are actually slightly undersize at 0.1476mm. No extra charge.

  • I am in the process of organising files with a view to having a PCB designed and Assembled with PCB Train.

    I am at this stage considering sending PCB Train a Bill of Materials to receive a quote to have PCB Train supply the components also. Is there any unusual information to be included in the BOM? Or just the normal Mfr Part Num; Case; Value; Tolerance; etc...

    • Just the standard information will be OK. But it is helpful to have RS or Farnell part numbers as well.

  • What do you mean by PCB sizes up to 1 Squ.Dcm?

    • The price bands are set by board area. 1 Squ.Dcm is an area 100mm x 100mm. So a Eurocard, 160mm x 100mm will be in the price band "PCB sizes up to 2 Squ.Dcm". A circuit with dimensions 300mm x 30mm has an area of 0.9 Squ.Dcm. and will be in the price band "PCB sizes up to 1 Squ.Dcm".

  • Will you palletise several different circuit designs for me?

    • No, each set of gerber files is treated as an individual circuit for pricing and production purposes. You must do the palletisation of different gerber designs yourself.

  • About Profiles

    Can I get irregular profiles cut on your PCB Train express service, or does the profile have to be rectangular?

    • The profile can be irregular. It can be any shape which a 2.00 mm diameter router can cut. However, internal cut-outs are not permitted.

  • Do I need to step & repeat the gerber data for you?

    • No, we prefer to do this ourselves. We will step & repeat the same gerber data as required. If you want circuits supplied as a mini-pallet held by tabs, you must advise us and confirm in your order.

  • Need for silkscreen

    Finally I have a pcb circuit in DesignSpark that gives no errors on anything except silkscreens overlapping tracks and pads. It would be hard to fit all the silkscreen outlines in this compact design though I could just leave the component names (R12, C6 etc). Do I need to print silkscreen anyway if you are manufacturing? I can mark any important polarities with pad shapes and surely the DesignSpark output tells your system where to place and orient components?

    • The presence of a silk screen legend on a pcb is helpful for checking and fault finding. It is, however, not absolutely essential for the assembly process as long as the same information is available in the gerbers or documentation. The usual compromise where there is a space constraint is to omit the component outlines, but keep the component names. Where required, the component name text can be reduced in size. Digital inkjet printed legends have a higher resolution than silk screen printing. Most of our production legends will be digital inkjet printed, so there is a good chance you will be able to read the legends even in very small print.

    • I've now cleared all the errors with reduced outlines and smaller component names. I'm not clear how to add component info onto the documentation file? Is it a good idea to add these descriptions as well as provide the gerber? Also does it matter where the reference point is placed on the board as the zero for co-ordinates? I've inadvertently moved the white registration marker. It's still on the board but I'm not sure if there's preferred position for this if you are assembling? If so how does one position it? Many thanks!
    • Q. I'm not clear how to add component info onto the documentation file? Is it a good idea to add these descriptions as well as provide the gerber?
    • A. If you just want us to make the pcb, we just need the gerbers, & do not need component descriptions. BTW, a tick box in "component properties" controls whether the component reference (say R7) appears. If you need a more detailed answer, can you give me more details regarding what you have done (did you create a schematic first?) and I will try to help.
    • Q. Also does it matter where the reference point is placed on the board as the zero for co-ordinates? I've inadvertantly moved the white registration marker. It's still on the board but I'm not sure if there's preferred position for this if you are assembling? If so how does one position it?
    • A. Any zero point should work. Commonly the bottom left hand corner of the outline is used as a datum point. We will move it anyway when we programme the pick & place machines.
  • CAD Files Acceptable or Not?

    I am planning on using Eagle Software to design some new boards can you accept the *.brd files for manufacture and assembly of the PCB's. Exactly what CAM files do you want

    • I am an occasional Eagle user and find that there are conflicting help on the web. I see from your website  you state You would like GERBER RS274X files and the .GBL, .GTL and .GM1 files for top, bottom and mechanical are obviously vital (and .GBS, GTS,GBO and GTO if doing solder resists and silkscreens). You need drill files but Eagle seems to offer a number of ways of doing this. 

      So; for a 2 layer board ordered on the express service is a useful minimum subset .gbl, gtl, gm1 and .dri gerber rs274x files (as well as the eagle .brd and .sch files ) 

      Might be useful to have a simple idiot's guide for each product you offer. 
    • We have Eagle software here, so we can read the Eagle files. 

      However, we would rather receive specific Gerber and CNC data, BOMs, etc as output by Eagle. The default outputs are generally fine.
  • 1oz Cu Weight vs 2oz Cu Weight

    What is the Current rating of 1oz Cu Weight compared to 2oz Cu Weight? What are the advantages of using 2oz compared to 1oz?

    • Broadly, 2 oz copper tracking will carry twice the current of equivalent width 1 oz copper tracking. In reality, because the surface area of 2 oz copper is practically the same as 1 oz copper tracking, it will get hotter. So a 0.2 mm wide 2 oz copper track will get a little hotter than a 0.4 mm 1 oz copper track for the same current. 2 oz copper tracking is more difficult to etch and we recommend that it is not used for track widths of less than 0.3 mm
  • Hole Diameter After Plating

    I need a hole size for a component that is a bit more critical than normal. The finished hole diameter must be 1.2mm but no less than that. Do I need to make an allowance for the decrease in diameter due to plating or will the finished hole size be 1.2mm if I specify a 1.2mm drill hole in my CAD data?

    • The hole size you specify will be at least the finished hole size we produce. We will make allowance for the reduction in diameter arising from copper plated down the hole, and drill the hole oversize, so that the finished hole is at least, the size you specify.
  • Assembly of Devices With Heatsinks

    I assume that a D2PAK device straddled by a surface mounted heatsink is OK, and counts as two placements?

    Now, what about a board with a row of 6 TO220 devices, each mounted with insulating kit on a milled aluminium strip which serves as a heatsink/bracket?

    • The six TO220 devices would nominally count as 6 placements. We would hope to keep to this pricing. If due to the heatsink arrangements, the actual work significantly exceeded this allowance, we would negotiate an adjusted price in advance.
  • Small Hexagonal Boards Possible?

    I have a small board shaped as a regular hexagon where each side is 300thou (8.255mm) long. This is larger than 10x10mm over all, but the sides are less than 10mm long each. Is this too small for a regular order?

    • In the same order I also need a 23x30mm rectangular board and a 46x18mm rectangular board made (all 3 boards are currently on the same gerber). The outline of this gerber is 44x48mm - the 3 boards are spaced 2.45mm apart (this can all be adjusted of course).
    • All of the boards are 2 layers, with soldermask and the boards need to be individually routed. I need 6 copies of each board. All other options are standard / cheapest. I am interested in between 5 - 15 day turnaround depending on price.
    • We should be able to produce these small sized pcbs. When the pcbs become small, there is a risk that they will be sucked up the dust extraction system when they are routed out. To avoid this, special precautions have to be taken.
  • Hole Sizes

    For the PCB Express service, the range of hole sizes is given as 0.5mm to 6.5mm. Within this range, do you have a set of preferred hole sizes, or is it possible to have any hole size?

    • Drill sizes are available in 0.05 mm increments over the range specified. We will use the nearest larger size to the one you specify if there is not an exact match. Hope that helps.
  • Replacement Circuit Boards

    If I supplied a circuit board would you be able to re create it? I have a treadmill which gets power but the lcd screen doesn't light up so it doesn't work.

    • Whilst it is possible to do this, It is probably uneconomic to undergo the technical exercise of reproducing this circuit board. A rule of thumb is that there needs to be a demand for perhaps 50 + pcs before it would be worth considering back engineering a reasonably complex pcb. There will also be design right problems to consider.
  • Designs

    How does sending in designs work? Do I have to send in PCB layout drawings or can I just send in circuit designs?

    • Order to start the quote process, please send us whatever documented information you have regarding your project. This might be schematic diagrams, but could just be a simple textual description of desired finished device functionality. We can review these and respond with our queries. Through dialogue we can usually flesh out a viable design specification or the scope of a feasibility study.
    • Thanks for your reply, so it would be possible to send a circuit design and have to PCB layout done by you? What would the extra cost be?
    • Take a look at this link, It sets out how to get a CAD layout quote.
  • Preferred Component Placement

    I have a board with conventional (through-hole) components and surface mount components. The conventional components will be on the top.

    Do you prefer to have (a) all SM components on the bottom, or (b) SM passives on the bottom with SM ICs on the top, or (c) some other arrangement, or (d) no restrictions on the placement of the SM components?

    • It is better for all the SMD parts to be on one and the same side. This means the parts can be placed with one pick & place machine set-up, one solder paste stencil print, one pass through the SMD reflow, one pass through the AOI, etc.
    • If all can be fitted in on the board, then the leaded parts should be mounted on the same side as the SMD parts. This allows the possibility of wave soldering the leaded parts (without having to glue the SMD parts which would be exposed directly to the solder wave if they were fitted to the side opposite to the leaded parts).
    • If I put all components on the top side of the board, as you suggest, does this mean that the top side requires a SM solder paste mask but no solder mask, and the bottom requires a solder mask but no SM solder paste mask?
    • Not quite. Top and bottom sides will need a solder resist (or mask) whatever is placed on the respective sides, just to cover the copper tracking, and expose any pads for soldering. Only the side with any SMD parts will need a solder paste (= solder paste mask) . So if all parts are on the top side, you will need a solder resist both sides and a solder paste for the top side. Plated holes on single-sided boards
    • Every time I order single-sided boards they come back with plated-through holes. Not a problem, unless you have to desolder a component. This time I thought I had cracked it - I set every pad in the design to "not plated". They still came back plated. I use Easy-PC for my board designs. Am I doing something wrong or do PCBTrain just plate every hole by default? Single sided pcbs are made on the same panels and process as double sided pcbs. Consequently some copper plating will be present down the holes of single sided pcbs. We make them on the same panels as double sided pcbs because the level of demand for single sided pcbs is very small, and uneconomic at the prices we charge if we just processed panels as "single sided only". So you are doing nothing wrong in your design.
  • Assembly of other manufacturer's PCBs

    Will you assemble PCBs not manufactured by PCB Train?

    • Yes, we assemble PCBs made by other manufacturers, when supplied to us by our clients.
  • PCB Train Express Query

    I received my pcb ordered on the pcbtrain express service in good shape. However there were some things I expected which were missing?

    • 1. There is no text on my board. I use the design spark tool from RS-components. Text in the silkscreen was supplied by me. And I put two text line in copper (both layers) but there is no text at all on my board. 2. The PCB is not protected by the green solder resist protective coating. 3. I designed a hole in the board. But on the board there is only a faint circle. For the first ten samples I can live with these restrictions. But how can I avoid this in the future?
    • As your board was ordered on the PCB Express Service, we do have limitations as per the attached link, which should cover the queries you have raised. For additional boards to have the features you have mentioned you would need to choose our standard 2 layer FR4 1.6mm 1oz copper, every day service and not PCB Express.
    • I hope that this helps to clarify, but in the meantime, if we could be of further assistance, do not hesitate to contact us.
  • Solder Paste Aperture Size

    I note that the website states that all customer gerbers will be reduced by 5% for solder paste data. I currently have my solder paste data oversized by 2-4thou (relative to absolute component pad size). Should I just send this to you as-is or do you require something different?

    • Best that solder paste data is 1:1 to the component pads on the pcb. We automatically reduce the apertures in the s/s stencil by 5% in size, this is general good commercial practice, so that you have a tolerance to print the s/paste 100% onto the pads. It is crucial not to spill solder paste off the pads on to the solder resist. This is a major cause of solder balls and solder shorts.
  • Multi-layer "Z" axis Spacing

    I want to calculate the impedance of copper tracking. What is the "Z" axis spacing between layers of PCB Train multi-layers?

    • For a 4 layer 0.8 mm overall thickness PCB Train multi-layer, the "Z" axis spacing of copper layers (4 layers) between layers 1-2 , is 0.22 mm, 2-3, is 0.20 mm, & 3-4, is 0.22 mm. For a 4 layer 1.6 mm overall thickness PCB Train multi-layer, the "Z" axis spacing of copper layers (4 layers) between layers 1-2 , is 0.22 mm, 2-3, is 0.99 mm, & 3-4, is 0.22 mm. For a 6 layer 1.6 mm overall thickness PCB Train multi-layer, the "Z" axis spacing of copper layers (6 layers) between layers 1-2 , is 0.22 mm, 2-3, is 0.30 mm, 3-4, is 0.22 mm, 4-5, is 0.30 mm & 5-6 is 0.22 mm.
  • Dielectric constant

    What is the dielectric constant (Dk) of the FR4 laminate used by PCb train?

    • Dielectric constant (Dk) of FR4 cores is 4.55 Dielectric constant (Dk) of FR4 prepregs is 4.2
  • Checking Data

    I am not confident about the data I am sending you, what can I do to check it?

    • We recommend that you download a gerber viewer. Try GC-Prevue from Graphicode ( which is free of charge). It will allow you to view and check your gerber and drill data.
  • Storage of PCBs

    How should PCBs be stored to maximise their shelf life?

    • PCBs must be stored in a clean and dry atmosphere preferably within their original packaging. Typical shelf life is 6 months. Experience has shown that in good storage conditions, pcbs may be satisfactorily used after years of storage. However, given the opportunity, glass epoxy laminate will absorb moisture which may be released during the assembly reflow process. Problems such as blow-holes, spitting, blistering and delamination may be seen after reflow. To sample test a batch of pcbs for solderability, pass a first off unpopulated pcb test sample through the reflow process. If a problem is exhibited, moisture may be driven off by baking the pcbs for 1 to 2 hours at 140 degrees C +/- 5 degrees C. Subsequent storage should be in a dry area and boards used within 7 days of baking.
  • Check-plots

    Can I get check-plots faxed to me before you manufacture my circuits?

    • No. This is a prototype service. We will endeavour not to proceed with manufacture if your circuit data looks obviously wrong, but we cannot warrant that we will catch all or indeed any errors. If we do not manufacture to the data you sent us due to our error, we will remake the circuits on the next PCB Train.
  • What is the insulation spacing between layers on your multi-layers?

    • Take a look at the Technical Specifications.
  • Can you offer scoring on PCB Train?

    • At present we do not offer scoring. All profiles will be routed.
  • Do your prices include all tooling and photographic costs?

    • Yes. There is no more to pay other than the quoted lot price.
  • Can I get photography returned to me?

    • No. Tooling is produced for each PCB Train and then destroyed.
  • If I need the same circuits in the future, do I need to send you the data again?

    • We archive all your data and can retrieve it for future use. You do not have to resend the data.
  • Can you manufacture larger quantities or alternative specifications to those permitted on PCB Train?

    • Yes. Just ask us to quote. PCB Train is a division of Newbury Electronics who can supply any quantity or type of pcb at very competitive prices.
  • Can you populate components on my circuit boards?

    • We assembly any type of component and any quantity of circuits. Go to Quote and Order, and select Assembly.
  • Can you supply components as well?

    • Yes, we can supply kits of components. Provide us with a Bill of Materials and we will be happy to quote.

Potential Problems & Errors

  • What are the common errors clients make?

    • Common errors are: No board outline. Draw the outline on the mechanical layer. No drill file. No drill sizes. Layer descriptions are also often missing from the data we receive. Make it easy for us to identify the purpose of each data file. Put a layer description so that it is printed on the pcb. Make your file names meaningful. Send us a text file which cross refers filenames to their application.
  • Router and Board Outlines

    I have just received a batch of 30 pcb's made via your PCB train service. Their dimensions are 13mmX7mm. None of the 4 sides have been cut in a straight line, ie the router looks as if it has wandered thus producing a "wavy" cut. Is the router adjusted so that the board is cut on the centre of the board outline? How can I avoid this happening in the future?

    • To answer this, we need to look at the original data for your pcb, and the CNC tooling we have created. Can you email your order details so I can trace it through our records here? send it to
    • I have checked your data and this is fine. I have looked at some spare pcbs from your production batch, and the edges have a small indentation of perhaps 0.1 mm or 0.2mm. This problem can arise when routing (cutting out) such small pcbs. The edge profile process is to rout the outline on all 4 sides leaving tabs (pips) or mouse-bites on each side to hold the pcb in the panel. Adhesive tape is placed on the pcb, and the remaining tabs are routed away, with the tape holding the pcbs in place. The loose pcbs and the tape are then removed. The roughness in the profile is caused by the de-pipping process cutting slightly into the pcb. With small pcbs it is difficult to prevent some movement to the small pcb when de-pipping, and this causes misalignment. The surface area for the tape to hold to is small. The solution is to use smaller or minimum sized pips, possibly just at the corners. This is a tiny pcb and the pip size we used were probably in excess of that which was needed. In a production run, we would optimise this and eliminate the de-pip indentations by using very small pips.
    • When you say "In a production run, we would optimise this and eliminate the de-pip indentations by using very small pips", are you referring to having them fabricated by Newbury Electronics instead of using the PCB Train service? I have used the PCB train many times before with no problems, but never with such tiny PCB's.
    • As we require the boards to have straight edges, and they are so tiny, maybe this is the way to go? De-pipping on tiny pcbs will tend to leave some sort of a witness mark whatever you do. We do not always know where to safely place them. I suggest that you create a gerber file of a "panel" of these pcbs with pips designed and placed by you to suite your needs. The pcb you would order would be "the panel". With small pcbs, the pips could be quite delicate and still be sufficient to hold them in the panel for supply to you. If they are placed at the corners, then any sprue could be dressed easily. But you can decide where the pips go to minimise the effect on the overall design.


  • Electrical Testing Method

    How do you electrically test the PCBs?

    • We use high performance moving probe testers which test the pcbs against a net-list created from the gerber data. Open circuits are identified by a continuity check between all net-ends on a single net. Short circuits are identified by a sophisticated algorithm which is based on the unique property of shorted nets of having an identical capacitance.
  • Electrical Testing Costs

    Why should I pay extra to have my pcb electrically tested?

    • For multi-layer pcbs (4 and 6 layers), electrical testing is included in the quoted price and is mandatory. This is because the inner layers cannot be inspected after completion of the pcb and gives peace of mind regarding electrical integrity, whatever the complexity of the pcb. However, 1 and 2 layer pcbs may often be satisfactorily inspected by eye, especially when they are simple. Nevertheless, if the design is complex or you are buying more than 5 circuits, we recommend that even 1 or 2 layer pcbs are electrically tested. This option costs an additional 20%. We suggest that you realistically judge the cost / benefit of electrical testing yourself, but if you have any doubt, we recommend that you have the pcbs electrically tested, and avoid any false economy. Update June 2013: electrical test is now included in the prices for all PCBs with the single exception of the 24 hour turnaround PCB Train Express service.
  • How Do You Electrically Test The PCBs?

    We use high performance moving probe testers which test the pcbs against a net-list created from the gerber data. Open circuits are identified by a continuity check between all net-ends on a single net. Short circuits are identified by a sophisticated algorithm which is based on the unique property of shorted nets of having an identical capacitance.

    • The electrical test specification used by PCB Train is as follows: Test area: 610x500mm Number of Probes: 2 Front, 2 Rear Minimum board size: 76x76mm Maximum board thickness for clamping: 6mm Repeatable accuracy: +/-10μm Resolution: 6μm Minimum pad pitch: 180μm Test voltage of resistance measurement continuity test: 0-10V Isolation test: 250V Test current of resistance measurement continuity test: 2.65μA-150mA
  • If the minimum board size is 76x76mm, does that mean my 32x38mm 4-layer board will not be tested?

    • Well spotted. But it is OK. The Electrical Test machine's clamping mechanism has a minimum size as set out above. However, since the PCBs are made in a panel large enough to fit the test machine, they can always be tested however small the individual circuits within that panel. So small circuits will always get electrically tested when required.

PCB Train Asks...

  • Design Rule Check Service

    • We are also working on a project to allow clients to upload their PCB design's gerber and drilling data, and receive a free Design Rule Check (DRC) prior to placing an order. This is much more than your PCB CAD layout software DRC. The PCB Train DRC software would check for a wide variety of manufacturability problems as well. We would send you the report, including graphic images of your layers. Benefits of PCB Train Design Rule Check: PCB Train DRC checks that all your data reads OK. We check that you have zipped up all the files we need to manufacture your PCB. The PCB Train DRC report identifies major problems as early as possible when they will be easy for you to fix. Avoid tooling delays and urgent DRC queries from us. Freecheck-plots of your design in .pdf format would be sent. Would this service be valued? Would you use this service?
  • Automatic pricing of Bills of Materials

    • We are working on a project to create a website that will automatically price up your Bill of Materials (BOMs). It will check a number of distributor website for prices and stock levels, and apend this information to your BOM as spreadsheet. The prices returned will be list prices appropriate for the number of complete units requested. Has anyone got any thoughts on this?
  • Inclusion of Electrical Testing in Prices as Standard

    • Since the beginning of May 2013, we have incorporated electrical testing (ET) into the standard pricing of all our PCB services except our 24 hour PCB Train express 2 layer service. We are pleased to say this change has been made without any increase in prices. Multi-layer PCBs have always incorporated ET a standard. So now single and double sided PCBs do as well, and ET is performed as standard without additional charge.
  • FR4 Laminate CNC Cut To CAD Datafiles

    • Would there be a demand for a low cost PCB Train service for the supply of FR4 laminate CNC cut to CAD datafiles? This could be used for space samples, rapid prototyping, check mechanical fit, or small run CNC machined components. We are thinking about this idea. Does anyone else have some views?
    • Presumably you mean unetched with copper still on both sides? To be useful need both the drilling and outline milling, then possible as a low cost space model for PCBs/backplanes allowing checking of connector positions etc. If you could offer the service with a black finish plus white text stencil it would be fantastic for prototype front and back panels -although it would be essential to allow milling within the outline for cutouts and larger holes.
    • Whilst there are prototyping operations for machining panels I haven't yet found one that offers a complete finished and stencilled panel without tooling costs.
    • That's a very interesting idea. Are you able to send us any sample panel design data for us to check that these sort of panels could be made and machined using our CNC machines? I am sure we could digitally print the text (as long as it is in white).
    • I thought your existing high res white text would be perfect for this. Not sure how you achieve a matching black finish. Ideally this would be a paint finish but perhaps there is something that could be screened on using your existing equipment. It needs to be fairly opaque to give a matte or satin black finish For most of our panels we have holes > 5mm plus some routed shapes. All of these are large enough for a pilot hole to be made at the drilling stage to allow the router to enter if it cannot drill through itself.