Quick-Turn PCB Fab Hack Chat

Fast, right, or cheap - pick two

Wednesday, July 31, 2019 12:00 pm PDT Local time zone:
Hack Chat
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Mihir Shah will host the Quick-Turn PCB Fabrication Hack Chat on July 31, 2019.

Time zones got you down? Here's a handy time converter!

Join Hack ChatWe've all become used to designing a PCB and having it magically appear at our doorstep - after a fashion. Modern PCB fabs rely on economies of scale to deliver your design cheaply, at the expense of time - the time it takes to put enough orders onto a panel, and the time it takes to ship the finished boards from Far, Far Away.

Not everyone has that kind of time to burn, though. Hobbyists who want rapid turnaround can etch their own boards, but that won't generally fly for manufacturers. That's where quick-turn fabs come in. These manufacturers specialize in getting boards to their customers as quickly as possible, helping them deal with sudden design changes or supporting specialty applications for customers. 

It's a niche industry, but an important one, and Royal Circuits is at the forefront. Mihir Shah is Director of Special Projects there, and he's deep into the business of getting PCBs to customers as quickly as possible. He'll drop by the Hack Chat to answer all your questions about how the quick-turn industry fits into the electronics manufacturing ecosystem, and to show off some of the tools of the future that they're developing and investing in to streamline PCB design and analysis - from DebuggAR to, and more..

And we're doing a livestream! Tune into

  • Hack Chat Transcript, Part 1

    Lutetium07/31/2019 at 20:09 0 comments

    Mihir Shah11:59 AM
    Hi everyone, here is the link to the livestream:

    I'll be answering questions live on there ( and typing up summary's here... at the same time lol)

    We'll be going live in about a minute here

    OK all, let's get started. Let's welcome Mihir from Royal Circuits to talk about quick-turn fabrication. We'll be doing this a little differently as Mihir points out, so you'll want to tune into the livestream now.

    morgan12:00 PM
    whoot whoot!

    Chris Sullivan12:00 PM

    morgan12:00 PM
    all good

    Mike12:00 PM

    Sebastian Weber12:00 PM
    sound good

    Tim K12:00 PM
    Sounds good

    morgan12:00 PM

    jamesonbeebe12:00 PM

    We see and hear

    Everyone remember that we're asking questions here, and Mihir will respond on the livestream

    So ask away...

    Sebastian Weber12:02 PM
    What is the quickest turn you have ever done?

    morgan12:03 PM

    Chris Sullivan12:04 PM
    Whats the smallest order (volume) you will handle?

    Christopher Bero12:04 PM

    What drives the decision for a company to demand a quick-turn? Are these prototypes or something?

    jamesonbeebe12:04 PM
    What's your scale of production? (i.e. What if everyone at DEFCON orders and expects 3 day turn time)

    Ah, OK - prototypes mostly

    morgan12:05 PM
    Oh! it's not too late for!

    morgan12:05 PM

    Hi Milan!

    Sebastian Weber12:06 PM
    On average how many jobs can you process in a day throughout all your facilities?

    Newcomers will want to go to the livestream -

    jamesonbeebe12:06 PM
    Ahhh bueno pues. Muchas gracias!

    jamesonbeebe12:07 PM
    That must be a super streamlined supply-chain

    Mike12:07 PM
    Do you guys prefer ODB++ or Gerbers?

    Sebastian Weber12:08 PM
    Can you guys do box build/final assembly and testing?

    Mihir Shah12:09 PM



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    hayden12:09 PM
    max board layer possible? and does board layer affect turn around time?

    Paul Stoffregen12:10 PM
    I'm thinking of using a Maxim chip which only comes in a wafer scale package, 36 balls at 0.4mm pitch. Any guidance? Or should I avoid that sort of part for a small volume?

    Tim K12:11 PM
    For moving towards high density designs, what's a good technology progression with respect to cost? 8mil vias -> 6 layer -> laser vias -> blind / buried -> ???

    Chris Sullivan12:11 PM
    So you do prototypes - do you make end products for clients? (non prototype). If so - Name a well known product.

    Tim K12:13 PM
    I guess, where are the big price jumps

    Tim K12:14 PM
    How do laser vias compare with say, 6 mil drills, or jumping to 6 to 8 layers perhaps?

    David Sean12:15 PM
    you mentioned paste deposition, would it be possible to add extra paste to accommodate the wicking action of a via in a pad?

    Tim K12:15 PM
    Thanks for your answer! Good info.

    hayden12:16 PM
    Thank-you for the answer, answered my question!

    Paste printer - so, sort of an inkjet printer for solder paste? How fine can that apply?

    Mihir Shah12:17 PM

    Mihir Shah12:17 PM
    paste printer

    David12:18 PM
    Speaking of processing files from a wide variety of PCB tools/programs: do you prefer the paste and soldermask openings on surface mount pads to be 1:1 aspect to the pad, or grown automatically in the gerber files sent to you?

    David12:19 PM

    Sebastian Weber12:19 PM
    How do you compare/compete with China?

    Mike12:20 PM
    What are the most common reasons that a job might go on hold?

    Tim K12:20 PM
    In that same vein of David's question -- what about doing (for example) USB trace impedance? If I don't know your stack up it's pretty time consuming to re-run the traces...

    Read more »

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