Author Topic: PCB panelizing (Elecrow)  (Read 8844 times)

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Offline stevenhoneyman

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PCB panelizing (Elecrow)
« on: May 10, 2015, 12:58:15 am »
Please could someone explain to me what's actually meant by page 3 of the elecrow readme? (in relation to 5 or 10 boards)
http://www.elecrow.com/download/Readme%20before%20ordering%20PCB%20online%20V1.2.pdf

I'm not sure if it's not translated very well, or because it's the first time I haven't etched my own boards and I don't know the terminology yet!

Basically I was wondering if I had, for example a 2.5cm x 2.5cm board, are they saying that will cost me extra if I put 4 of them on the 5x5cm area included in the cost?
 

Offline Wilksey

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Re: PCB panelizing (Elecrow)
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2015, 05:49:51 am »
Yes, if you want them to panellise your boards then the panellising fee will apply.

The 5x5cm service is max, so anything < 5cm will be price X, if you want panellisation it will be price Y, I don't know what panel sizes they support off hand but I guess you order the maximum you can fit on a panel as you are essentially paying for the panel, on a 5x5 service it will be pooled probably, with panellisation depending how many you want it may or may not be.
 

Offline stevenhoneyman

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Re: PCB panelizing (Elecrow)
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2015, 05:56:03 am »
Thanks. Is the thing that defines it as a panelized board just the v-cuts then? So some lines on the silkscreen and a "repeating pattern" on the copper technically is just a single board?
Basically number 3 on here: http://support.seeedstudio.com/knowledgebase/articles/388503-what-are-the-pcb-panelization-rules

Not trying to cheat the system, just planning to make it as efficient and unwasteful as possible!
 

Offline CrashO

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Re: PCB panelizing (Elecrow)
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2015, 06:14:52 am »
In my experience you can stick whatever you want on the board, as long you don't increase their tooling/sawing costs. So if you stick 12 boards on there, separated only by silk it will be ok. If you start adding v-cuts or creating slots and separating them by small pieces of pcb. They will start to complain.  :-+
 

Offline kizzap

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Re: PCB panelizing (Elecrow)
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2015, 02:18:05 pm »
I have a board going through elecrow atm which I have "panelized" in Eagle:

http://gerblook.org/pcb/eXmxmHPsHQvbpShLSAYXsW

From the website, it says that they support internal cutouts, which they do do properly, as seen here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/a6b21vxtbiz6gaz/frontpanel_PCB.jpg?dl=0

I've gotten confirmation emails that the design I just sent them is ok, and is in production, but we shall see how it comes out in the next couple of days I guess.
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Offline kjs

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Re: PCB panelizing (Elecrow)
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2015, 02:49:30 pm »
yes, Elecrow is one of the very few companies which don't complain (= charge extra) if you have a somewhat strange outline and internal cut-outs. Their PCB quality is decent too including the ENIG.
Copper adhesion like with most Chinese shops doesn't match what I have seen from my Canadian supplier but it is OK. Service is good and fast too unless you take the canoe shipping (China Post) which is cheap but dead slow (as always)
 

Offline Psi

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Re: PCB panelizing (Elecrow)
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2015, 03:57:16 pm »
Elecrow silkscreen alignment is usually not 100% perfect but other than that they are great.

Greek letter 'Psi' (not Pounds per Square Inch)
 

Offline zapta

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Re: PCB panelizing (Elecrow)
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2015, 05:12:33 pm »
In my experience you can stick whatever you want on the board, as long you don't increase their tooling/sawing costs. So if you stick 12 boards on there, separated only by silk it will be ok.

According to page 3 this is OK for no extra charge only if the 12 PCBs are different.  "Different PCB panelize".

Am I missing something?

BTW, for small prototype PCBs, OshPark has better price and you get ENIG included.
Drain the swamp.
 

Offline stevenhoneyman

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Re: PCB panelizing (Elecrow)
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2015, 08:22:59 pm »
I think in summary, what it basically sounds like is if you're getting them to chop up a board into little boards (or v-cut); it'll cost more. If you're trying to cheat by drilling rows of holes, they'll get annoyed (understandably!) If you're happy to cut up the boards yourself then just draw a few lines on the silkscreen which makes no difference to the manufacturer (it's no extra time or money to them)
 

Offline charlespax

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Re: PCB panelizing (Elecrow)
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2015, 01:33:55 am »
I recommend http://dirtypcbs.com. They don't charge extra for panelized boards whether the same design or various designs. It's just up to you to provide the final panelized file. No V-grooves, so you'll just have to mill slots. For a 5x5 cm PCB it's $14 USD with free shipping via Hong Kong Post.

In the attached image you can see slots milled into a PCB I've ordered. You can get a detailed look at how I made the PCB by downloading the design files from github. This should give you some hints on which layer to use, milling line thickness, and breakaway tab width.
 

Offline splin

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Re: PCB panelizing (Elecrow)
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2015, 07:21:56 am »
I think in summary, what it basically sounds like is if you're getting them to chop up a board into little boards (or v-cut); it'll cost more. If you're trying to cheat by drilling rows of holes, they'll get annoyed (understandably!) If you're happy to cut up the boards yourself then just draw a few lines on the silkscreen which makes no difference to the manufacturer (it's no extra time or money to them)

I agree. I asked this question in this thread: https://www.eevblog.com/forum/eda/why-do-prototype-pcb-makers-charge-extra-for-panelized-boards-and-sub-pcbs/

My conclusion was that it is about the extra machining costs which is fair enough, but the magnitude of the extra charges for panelizing don't really make sense - it seems they'd rather not do it for some reason, even though they allow slots for free. EG. Iteadstudio allow you to have as many designs as you want on one PCB for no extra cost proviing you don't have a slot of more than 2/3 of the width/height of the board, but will triple the cost if your slot exceeds 2/3 (see reply #8 on the other thread)!!

I had missed the fact that dirtypcbs do seem to allow free panelizing of 2 layer boards, but they don't offer v-grooving.
 

Offline charlespax

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Re: PCB panelizing (Elecrow)
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2015, 10:01:36 am »
I had missed the fact that dirtypcbs do seem to allow free panelizing of 2 layer boards, but they don't offer v-grooving.

I just learned last night that dirtypcbs.com will do v-grooving, but it's not supported. Basically, the board house will make it if you do it right, but don't complain if they don't like the way you did it and ignore the v-grooves.
 

Offline sdhsg

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Re: PCB panelizing (Elecrow)
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2015, 12:38:03 pm »
NOTE: This message has been deleted by the forum moderator Simon for being against the forum rules and/or at the discretion of the moderator as being in the best interests of the forum community and the nature of the thread.
If you believe this to be in error, please contact the moderator involved.
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« Last Edit: May 12, 2015, 03:27:11 pm by Simon »
 

Offline CrashO

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Re: PCB panelizing (Elecrow)
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2015, 12:44:07 pm »
I have tried pcbway
Based on seeing at least 2 dozen spam messages regarding them in the last month, all from "new" accounts. I can tell u you won't be seeing of my business anytime soon. Just stop the freaking spam.  |O

Doing a search on this forum for the company name, only gives spam posts. Nice job, marketing department  :-DD
 

Offline charlespax

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Re: PCB panelizing (Elecrow)
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2015, 12:49:04 pm »
...they do not get the extra fee for penalizing...

Please done penalize me.
 

Offline matseng

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Re: PCB panelizing (Elecrow)
« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2015, 02:01:48 pm »
When I have a board small enough to panelize (or actually step&repeat) on a single 5x5 or 10x10 pcb I usually make it on 0.8 mm board thinkness for easier cutting.   On 1.6mm you need to make a lot of passes on both sides with a box cutter in order to have them to be easily snappablem but 0.8 usually requires just one pass at each side and then the board snaps apart with no effeort at all.

I also make a 0.25 or 0.33 mm wide void with both on the stop layers (to remove the solder mask) and restrict layers (to remove the copper).  This will make a groove that is easy to follow with the knife. 

As a bonus I've discovered that the boardhouses that Seeed and SmartPrototyping are using will often do V-grooving on the boards for free when there's a void like that. But if I actually mark the cuts with an "Outline" both Seeed and Smart will say "hey man! give us more money or we won't process the board".

So if you just give a subtle hint of the places for the v-grooving the board house might do it automatically if you're lucky. :-)
 

Offline kizzap

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Re: PCB panelizing (Elecrow)
« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2015, 10:47:34 am »
Just thought I'd post an update on my experience on DIY "panelizing" with elecrow: It seems they don't mind!  :-+



This was done by joining the two boards into a single project, then modifying the board outline to join them, and adding a couple of drill hits.

-kizzap
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<Baljem> hey, you're the one who apparently pronounces FPGA 'fuhpugger'
 

Offline stevenhoneyman

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Re: PCB panelizing (Elecrow)
« Reply #17 on: August 12, 2015, 07:24:56 am »
Sorry for bumping this. I chickened out for my first two boards and went with single design, but I'm determined to make use of the wasted space on my 3rd run!

@kizzap - Thanks for sharing :-+

I actually contacted them to ask, and gave them a link to this as an example in case there was a language barrier issue: (google image result, not mine) http://ava.upuaut.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Untitled.png
The reply wasn't very clear unfortunately - I got a link to the "getting started" PDF, and the following:
Quote
I think this PCB you list can be acceptable as 1 board.
If there is any problem, the PCB engineer will contact you after you placing the order.
 

Offline ralphd

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Re: PCB panelizing (Elecrow)
« Reply #18 on: August 12, 2015, 08:09:18 am »
I had missed the fact that dirtypcbs do seem to allow free panelizing of 2 layer boards, but they don't offer v-grooving.

I just learned last night that dirtypcbs.com will do v-grooving, but it's not supported. Basically, the board house will make it if you do it right, but don't complain if they don't like the way you did it and ignore the v-grooves.
So what's the "right" way?  Are v-grooves at right angles to the board edge OK?
Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. Einstein
 

Offline charlespax

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Re: PCB panelizing (Elecrow)
« Reply #19 on: August 12, 2015, 12:53:20 pm »
So what's the "right" way?  Are v-grooves at right angles to the board edge OK?

Yes, the v-grooves must be straight lines at right angles to the board edge. There will probably also be a minimum size to the PCB because they have to feed it into a cutting machine. DirtyPCBs doesn't support it, so I wouldn't count on it happening, but it's worth a shot.
 


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