[Noisebridge-discuss] PCB fab places?

Jonathan Foote jtfoote at ieee.org
Thu Nov 24 07:36:45 UTC 2011

I don't want to diss Express PCB too much -- I used them for a few PCB
designs years ago -- but that price comes with significant
limitations: no silkscreen or solder mask. (Solder mask is absolutely
necessary when doing anything SMD or fine pitch, and silkscreen may
not seem necessary but doing a complicated board without it is asking
for mistakes.)

But FAR worse: Express PCB locks you into their proprietary design
software. Unless things have changed, they don't accept
industry-standard Gerber files, so anything you design with their
software can only be fabricated by them -- if you want to shop around
or use the much cheaper overseas fabs for a larger run you are SOL.

And  $51 for 3 boards costs about what Laen charges, but Laen gives
you silkscreen and dope purple soldermask.
(Though Express PCB has faster turnaround, its the same old choice
again: fast, cheap, good; you get to pick two.)

If you really need a quick-turnaround no-soldermask solution consider
4pcb "Bare Bones" service which at least accepts Gerbers so you can
use EagleCAD or Kicad to design your board.

> People have told me that they really like Express PCB but I'm thinking that
> you might have been one of those people. :)
> http://www.expresspcb.com/
> 3 boards for $51 (I know you only need one but maybe spares might be nice to
> have?)
> Lorah
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