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Source for prototype PC boards, reasonable cost Answered

Can anyone recommend a decent source for prototype PC boards? 

I have found a few but they all seem to expect a Gerber file and I have no means to produce that format.  In the "good ol' days" all that was needed was clean artwork to make a mask to place the resist on a board prior to etching.

I can easily find software that provides  dxf files but then no way to convert to Gerber without spending still more cash on a conversion program.

I need a company that still knows how to use an image or that can at least take final 1:1 art and create a PC board using any method they choose.  I am only interested in the final product...not how they choose to get there !

Thanks much !


Ask them. These days they expect only computer formats, and Gerber is the universal interchange format, but ultimately they all work off lith film. Tell them you have that

Failing that, EAGLE is free software that you can design with, and DesignSpark has free software too.

You don't say where you are in the world to help further.

Oh yeah, plenty of people will do that. Heck I'LL do that, but it ain't a cheap option....

I am updating this post with more information try to make my intent more clear.

I am specifically asking for a recommendation from anyone who has actually used a pc maker for prototypes who does not require Gerber files and who can work from camera ready art.  I like having input from someone who has personal experience with a provider.

The handfull I have called do not accept anything but Gerber except a few who have their own design programs to download but are too costly or have too large a minimum order.

If you do not have personal experience in order to make a recommendation then please don't post responses as I have found all the free software suggested ( I stated that above ) but have not found one that actually produces a Gerber file....only .pcb or .dxf files.  Making the design is not a problem...it is done.

Then you frankly haven't looked hard enough. Eagle (free) produces Gerber as does DesignSpark ...both of which I told you about this morning.

Okay...what I asked for was a recommendation from someone here who actually had a recommendation. Google won't know who is good, who is bad or who has good deals.

If you have nothing to offer from your personal experience suggesting Google is not appropriate to this discussion.

*smile again*

What you ASKED for was someone who can work without Gerbers. Answer: Probably any of your local makers. Ask them.

I COULD recommend BBG in Largo, but again, unless you ask, you won't know if they can work from camera ready artwork. *smile*

You could also answer the question *smile*
about why you can't just redo the board in one of the free design tools *smile*

When you can't match what the makers demand these days - Gerbers - to get a good deal, you'll have to hit the phones. With Gerbers *smile* you can ping them off to 20 suppliers in an hour.

Sorry. Thanks for the reply. I am in NE Florida. USA

What's the problem ? That you don't have PCB design software, or you have an old board design you want remaking ? Here in the UK, and conveniently local to me, there is a company that makes photo-tools for the PCB and graphic art industry.

Can anyone recommend a decent source for prototype PC boards?