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A review of Three Chinese PCB Manufactures

Posted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:40 pm
by parkview
In April/May 2018, I placed seven PCB orders with three different Shenzhen PCB manufactures, but remember things most probably will have changed by the time you might need/want to use them, so take this review as a snapshot in time.

1) PCBWay:
2) DirtyPCB:
3) Seeed:

All boards were either billed as a single board or panel at 10cm x 10cm and two of a panel at 5cm x 5cm. DirtyPCB has the easiest website to use and it gave instant feed back on price. The others required an email address before you could get to the pricing page. I liked the fact that they would give you a presentation of what the PCB might look like after manufacture - kind of reassuring that it met my expectations.

All three had around the same price of AUD$20 for a 10cm x 10cm PCB. Some might have charged a bit extra for a panel of PCB's vs. a single large PCB design. Express shipping was around AUD$24 extra. For this price you will get a stack of 10 PCB's. In one order I had a panel of 30 small finger nail PCB's, so all up that gave me 30 x 10 = 300 PCB's :D Note: PCB or panel of PCB's will have a tiny silk-mask job reference text/number on it. On a panel this might be ok, as it only effects one of the panellised PCB;s. You can pay extra (quite a bit more), to go down the Pro route and not have that text printed on each of the 10 PCB's.

PCB Turn Around:
1) Seeed: Express shipping - 11 days
2) Seeed: Slow shipping - 26 days
3) Seeed: Slow shipping - 18 days
4) DirtyPCB: Slow shipping - 51 days - guys, your killing me!
5) DirtyPCB: Slow shipping - 42 days - gave me an extra PCB
6) DirtyPCB: Slow shipping - 31 days - gave me two extra PCB's
7) PCBWay: Slow shipping - 23 days

The panellised PCB's where easy to break apart and just required a quick filing to smooth the remaining drill bumps flat. Most of the manufactures sent reassuring notifications of each step of the process, ie: payment, production start/end and shipping.

One shipment from DirtyPCB arrived with the panellised PCBs as single boards, ie: no longer panellised. Maybe they fitted them here and there through out a larger order? Due to overall shipping times, I would recommend Seeed, then PCBway, then DirtyPCB.

PCBs.jpg (60.83 KiB) Viewed 2527 times

Two other PCB manufacture companies I might have a go at in the future: and a Shanghai based:

Next step will be to try out some PCB assembly, but those costs will be in the hundreds of dollars, so I want to make sure everything is working ok first.

Re: A review of Three Chinese PCB Manufactures

Posted: Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:39 pm
by parkview
Ok, make that Four. I just sent off for a PCB to be manufactured at Elecrow, in Shenzhen, China: At todays rate (depends on the US$ to A$ exchange rate), it cost me A$22.49 via Paypal for 10 panellised boards, with each containing four PCB's. This was A$2.49 cheaper than Seeed batch I sent off two days ago - mainly around slightly cheaper shipping. It did cost me around $1.xx extra for registered/tracking shipping. Interesting to see that there was no on-line Gerber viewing portal.

It will be interesting to see how long this takes and shipping quality etc. I have to say, that I am impressed by both Seeed and PCBWay's shipping, in that they both vacuum pack the stack of panels in bubble wrap. One company (Seeed?), even emailed a photo of package before it was shipped off to me.

I did try out PCBWay for this, but the current price was US$28! Maybe my first order came with a special introduction pricing? Both Seeed and Elecrow's pricing was US$4.90 + shipping. How awesome is that!

Re: A review of Three Chinese PCB Manufactures

Posted: Fri Oct 19, 2018 8:49 pm
by parkview
I have continued to use Seeed Fusion PCB service, while ok, their production times have varied from 3 to 12 days (then add on shipping times)! This is fine if your not in a rush.

I have just found another company: that is offering free DHL shipping for the first Kg of PCB's. Their on-line portal says it will cost US$24 (around A$34 in Oct 2018) to ship five 100mm x 100mm PCB's and they should arrive in 7 days - how awesome is that!

Mind you Seeed is currently running a US$1 for three x 100mm x 100mm PCB special. Add on shipping and it cost me around A$14 and the turn around was approx. 30 days delivered via slow post.

Re: A review of Three Chinese PCB Manufactures

Posted: Sat May 16, 2020 12:28 pm
by parkview
I have used around 7 or so Chinese PCB manufacturers by now. My current favourite PCB manufacture is JLCPCB: They currently offer US$2.00 for 5 10x10cm PCBs + shipping. Before C19 and the US/AU dollar slipping, it was as cheap as A$12.84 including shipping. This included a 24 days turn around via slow shipping.

JLCPCB currently has one of the best websites (for the price), that gives you updates on the manufacturing status. While there is a fixed price for any colour soldermask, Green soldermask is the default colour and has the fastest manufacturing turnaround of 1-2 days. Other colours might take 3-4 days.

Talking of coloured solder masks (PCB's), one interesting tip I read online, was that you could make each version of your PCB in a different colour. That way it was instantly clear on which version of the PCB you had in your hand. While I place a version number on all my PCB's, I have started trying out this approach: Green, Red... White.