Saturday, February 23, 2013

Prototyping with OSH Park

Thanks to a tip from an awesome open source project (FreeIMU) a few years ago, I started using DorkbotPDX for circuit board prototypes. Since then, Dorkbot consolodated its PCB fabrication service onto a dedicated site,

For a flat area rate and free shipping, you can get professional grade circuit boards that not only look good, but are easier to assemble than homebrewed options such as etching or routing. You pay $5 per square inch for 3 copies of a two layer board and $10 per square inch for 3 copies of a four layer board.

I wanted to test some mosfets that I found on Digikey for use with an outdoor laser tag system I am working on. I drew up the circuit and layed it out in Eagle, exported the gerbers and uploaded them to OSH Park.

OSH Park Order Page
$1.20 and two weeks later, I had 3 boards in hand, ready to solder.

My MOSFET_breakout board ready for breadboard testing 
OSH Park can deliver such great rates for prototype PCBs because it is a panelizer. It collects dozens of different PCB designs in order to fill a much larger panel. This mosaic panel is what is sent to the PCB fabricator. When the panel comes back from the fabricator, it is broken up and sent to the correct addresses. This effectively gives everyone on the panel a quantity discount, even if their order was only a few square inches.

The quality of the boards is superb. If you are looking for prototype PCB service, use OSH Park!


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