It does not make any sense to invest in costly production equipment if you only want to spin a few prototypes. Instead, you can outsource PCB China and prototype manufacturing to a more reliable vendor. A lot of contract manufacturers would offer instant quote mechanism on their site for manufacture of circuit boards as well as prototype assembly. This allows you to save a lot of time when you compare different China PCB manufacturers. You have to ensure the quote system enables you to enter all the details including the material of the board, the thickness, milling, copper thickness and others so you can get an accurate quote without surprising yourself later on. The cost per board will usually decrease as its quantity increases.
This is because of the fairly high cost of setup of circuit board manufacturing and assembly of component. Some vendors are using systems in which they combine boards from various customers. This will then distribute the setup costs among many customers. When manufacturing a product, obviously you do not want to manufacture larger quantity of boards immediately while refining your design. A limitation involved with small quantity prototypes is that the thickness and choice of materials tend to be limited. When using a special material, there may not be any other customers that are using similar materials. Additionally, time also has very important and big role to play in the determination of cost. If the lead time is longer, manufacturer is given more freedom to slot in your production. Typically, this is reflected in the lower costs that will be able to see in the quote section.
So if you are in a rush and desire to be moved to the pile, you have to be spending more money. Another thing you have to remember is you have to ensure the contract manufacturer can support the file formal for the manufacture you are providing. The very common PCB manufacture format is the Gerber format however there are also other vendors who will be accepting board files from other common PCB software products. Also, some suppliers can offer you with in-house PCB design. Even if the design of the board is something you made yourself, selecting a vendor that offers design services is beneficial should there be problems with your files. This way, the vendor can easily make quick changes, avoiding costly delays. When it comes to subcontracting PCB assembly, make sure the vendor is capable of assembling all of the types of package your board uses.
There are some vendors who can’t actually assemble specific types of IC packages. If you are unsure about this, you should contact the vendor ahead of time. Other contract pcb manufacture carry an inventory of typical SMT as well as through-hole components. One can save a lot of time if you pull from the inventory of the vendor instead of buying every component yourself. It is important to specify the components that you want to consign yourself when uploading your bill of materials.