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Which is cheaper. Buy your own pcb kit and make a pcb or send a design to a pcb manufacturer and get them to do it? Answered




5 years ago

  • Assuming you want it to work
  • Your questions indicate scant experience

Send the design to a PCB fabricator who will help you prevent a
multitude of beginner mistakes you want to avoid.
Such as :
  1. Inadequate annulus ring
  2. Trace width too small
  3. Adjacent copper separation spacing too close

The fab house does not correct wiring errors or inadequate drill
diameters or faulty dip pad spacing.

There are fabricators who can do one day turn around for a price.


Ive had much trouble with this too, and ended up doing a lot of stuff trying to get DIY pcbs to work with no avail. The only thing I have not tried is going for broke and buying photosensitive boards (I tried photosensitive films with bad results... but I am using muratic acid instead of ferric chloride so that may be my problem)....

My opinion would to be to get them from a 3rd party (eg, seeedstudio, etc). Takes 3 weeks, but the results are very nice and professional looking.

Having the materials for a quick one-off isnt bad either, I would much rather do that for prototyping!! You can get plain boards from taydaelectronics.com for ridiculously cheap, thats what I used before I realized I was no good at PCB making...

If the circuit is fairly simple...and you only want to build ONE or two... then I just take a BLANK copper board and a dremmel tool. I cut grids of squares at various places on the blank copper surface. Then I use the squares to connect transistors and other parts to. This is a quick and easy way to make a prototype or ONE-OFF circuit. Don't try to cut DETAILED traces, just clusters of places to solder parts to.. then run little jumper wires to match your schematic.

If you only need a few every now and then, give them away. If you need them regularly, DIY may be a better option.

What kind of technology?
Single layer, normal pitch - good for DIY
Double layer, no vias, normal pitch - tricky but doable
Lots of vias, fine pitch - may be better to give away
Multilayer, buried vias etc - that's stuff for professionals

Depends on size and technology. Most amateur boards are simple enough to do at home, with basic methods.


for a one off send it away.

For many DIY - The equipment doesn't need to be complicated or expensive.

We used to make PCB's in shallow trays, the only bit of equipment we really had was a UV light box.

For small PCBs you can buy the chemicals in a plastic, use once, pouch.