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Everything PCB with OSH Park Hack Chat

Dan and Drew from OSH Park will be talking about everything PCB, from artwork to 2 layer flexible PCB testing and beyond.

Friday, March 2, 2018 12:00 pm PST - Friday, March 2, 2018 12:30 pm PST Local time zone:
Hack Chat
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Join this Hack Chat by clicking on the JOIN HACK CHAT button. 

______________________________________________________________________________

Dan Sheadel and Drew Fustini from OSH Park will be co-hosting the Hack Chat this week. This Hack Chat is at noon PST, Friday, March 2nd.

Time Zones got you down? Here's a handy count down timer!

OSH Park are the creators of countless perfect purple PCBs, and they are here to talk about anything PCB related, from board artwork, to panelization, Gerber x2, castellated edges, stop mask expansion, drill file formats, and more.  They are particularly excited to discuss their experiences testing out 2 layer flexible PCB processes.

Dan is an original member of the @OSH Park team responsible for countless perfect purple PCBs. He enjoys designing tiny useless robots and mentoring students building better ones. 

Drew is an Open Source Hardware designer and firmware developer at OSH Park. He can often be found at maker events dressed in purple.  Drew is also a board member of the BeagleBoard.org Foundation and maintains the Adafruit BeagleBone Python library.

In this chat, we'll discuss:

  • PCB Artwork
  • 2 Layer Flexible PCBs
  • Stop Mask Expansion
  • Everything PCB!

  • Everything PCB with OSH Park Hack Chat Transcript: Part 3

    Lutetium03/02/2018 at 21:17 0 comments

    Michael Welling says: scripts don't mind being yelled at by the guys at the fab

    Dan Sheadel says: > Does OSHPark support (or are they planning to support) chamfering to make edge connectors?

    Nope. Turns out our fabs kinda hate doing bevel edges. Because of how the fab processes steps, it also adds a bunch to the panel fab setup costs, so the whole panel cost goes up.

    Nick Sayer says: On that topic, though, it would be nice to be able to signal to the penalization code "no tab" spots.

    Stephen says: @r miloh alexander asks: can you tell us what sw does OSH park use internally to panelize? How automated is the panelization process? Do you tabs (or mousebite) these batch panel orders or does the fab do this procedure?

    Dan Sheadel says: It's also a super rare feauture. For production boards it's handy, but production card edges should also have hard gold (which we don't do_

    Stephen Legge says: @Kevin You're thinking of Castellated Edges (http://docs.oshpark.com/tips+tricks/castellation/)

    Nick Sayer says: It kinda sucks sometimes when there's a tab *right* under an edge mounted component.

    samy kamkar says: @oshpark Important question, any plans on sending more jelly beans out with boards?

    morgan says: the most important question

    Ted Yapo says: @Nick Sayer sandpaper is your friend. Or a good file.

    r miloh alexander says: erp i meant to write "do you tab (or mousebite) the batch panel orders..."

    Kevin says: Jelly beans? I never got any jelly beans.

    oshpark says: @samy kamkar that was a treat during the winter holiday season... we'll be having more stickers though

    Stephen says: @samy kamkar asks what we've all really been here to find out

    Michael Welling says: awe

    Dan Sheadel says: > On that topic, though, it would be nice to be able to signal to the penalization code "no tab" spots.

    Working on this! Processing outlines is somewhat automated: Specifically, our fab does it with a human and some really fancy software on their end that inserts tabs.

    My current project is actually doing fully-automated outline detection, mill path routing, and tab placement. I have some prototypes working, but the runtime complexity for bad cases is awful. So, porting it to something faster.

    Nick Sayer says: @Ted Yapo Oh, sure, there's workarounds, but it's annoying.

    Benchoff says: wait, are we talking about pogs?

    Dan Sheadel says: One of the things we plan when this is live is adding the ability to designate no tab zones on an upload.

    baldengineer says: no tab zones++

    Nick Sayer says: YAAAAY!

    oshpark says: @Benchoff yes! we are working on new designs right now :)

    Dan Sheadel says: @oshpark Important question, any plans on sending more jelly beans out with boards?

    Maybe! We like keeping it kinda seasonal and special.

    > wait, are we talking about pogs?

    Clearly.

    r miloh alexander says: @Dan Sheadel sounds peachy to have DNP tab zones...

    Stephen says: With just a few minutes left I want to throw in this statement from @Nick Sayer so the people from OSH Park don't miss it: Not so much a question as a comment: OSHPark is 90% (10% goes to EAGLE) responsible for returning me to a hobby that I abandoned over 30 years ago when I was a teenager. Everything I've designed since then has been entirely because the barriers to getting professionally made PCBs at a reasonable timeframe and budget have gone away.

    Dan Sheadel says: <3!

    Jasmine Brackett says: :)

    Shayna says: aww

    baldengineer says: well said

    Nick Sayer says: Absolutely true. I was building Heathkits in the 80s, but I tried to make my own PCB at home once and it was a disaster. I gave up for 30+ years.

    oshpark says:...

    Read more »

  • Everything PCB with OSH Park Hack Chat Transcript: Part 2

    Lutetium03/02/2018 at 21:13 0 comments

    Nick Sayer says: I wish I had a really good use-case for flex. All I can think of is just making FFCs, but you can just buy those from DigiKey. :/

    Dan Sheadel says: One of the issues with flex is that there's fewer fabs to do it in the US, and 2 of the fabs we've talked to said "Yeah, we do flex fabs and we're also in the us", but they just exported the job to a chinese fab. One literally just sent us the box _from_ the chinese fab directly. >_>

    Adam Vadala-Roth says: @Thomas Shaddack Voxel8 did that until they realized no one wanted to buy their printer

    Nick Sayer says: That's harsh.

    oshpark says: @r miloh alexander:

    > do you see any pcb artists using halftoning?

    Here is a wonderful example https://plus.google.com/photos/100779964808096572793/album/6333017586389944753/6333018254399231794

    Carrie Sundra says: I agree Nick. You can do a lot with origami folding.

    Dan Sheadel says: The second fab we placed an order, then actually remembered to check "These are fabbed literally in a spot IN THE US, right?" and the answer was no." At least that time we were able to cancel the order.

    Adam Vadala-Roth says: @Dan Sheadel thats a common problemt these days I'veheard from multiple people in industry

    Dan Sheadel says: The current fab IS ACTUALLY a US fab, as we hoped and expected. But some delays came up regarding our panelization, requirements, and we had to do some adjustments. The final panel for this is delayed, but still en route! Hopefuly we have news soon.

    Adam Vadala-Roth says: some US fabs just out source and say they do it here

    Thomas Shaddack says: what's the trick to drill holes in the PCBs without having burrs on the edges?

    oshpark says: Here is a link with Flex Beta Service Info + FAQ

    http://docs.oshpark.com/services/flex/

    Mohammad AL-Hamad says: lternative solder mask colours? ---> try this code #ff8040

    Dan Sheadel says: > I wish I had a really good use-case for flex. All I can think of is just making FFCs, but you can just buy those from DigiKey. :/

    We've seen some really good stuff so far. Once this is affordable, I think the ideas will come popping out the woodwork.

    Stephen says: Hah, wow I cen't believe they just shipped you the box straight from China!

    Stephen says: While we're on the topic of flexible PCBS, Robert Marosi asks: What's the most interesting flex-PCB application you've encountered so far?

    oshpark says: Dan has written some good documenatation about Castellated Edges here: http://docs.oshpark.com/tips+tricks/castellation/

    oshpark says: This was a fun flex test that Trammell Hudson designed https://twitter.com/qrs/status/929513598203830272

    Dan Sheadel says: We've seen some cool ones!

    - 90* angle bends for neopixels and lighting strips,

    - Someone is using a couple sheets as a pressure sensor for botton of shoes

    - Connectors, obviously

    - Glue on fingernail lights

    oshpark says: We had the good fortunate to be able to deliver the test flex boards in person to people at Supercon

    Robert Marosi says: Is it possible to solder BGA packages and small passives on flex-PCBs

    Dan Sheadel says: I made a pebble watchband (RIP) for breaking out the signals into a dev kit.

    oshpark says: @Andrew Sowa used the flex to make letter shapes for a sign http://andrewsowa.com/projects/#/3h-chicago-hardware-meetup/

    Adam Vadala-Roth says: @Dan Sheadel love that idea abotu the watchband

    Mohammad AL-Hamad says: Catalan solid flex PCB prototype is a good idea you can build many shapes and used as kit

    Dan Sheadel says: > Is it possible to solder BGA packages and small passives on flex-PCBs

    Solder, yeah. Will they stay there? NO IDEA. One of the things we'll be doing is some in-house destructive testing to figure out these edge cases.

    Thomas Shaddack says: thought. flex...

    Read more »

  • Everything PCB with OSH Park Hack Chat Transcript: Part 1

    Lutetium03/02/2018 at 20:34 0 comments

    Stephen says: 
    Okay, let's get this PCB party started!

    Add your questions in the discussion here and I'll ask them throughout the chat: https://hackaday.io/event/63030-everything-pcb-with-osh-park-hack-chat

    A big welcome to @Dan Sheadel and Drew @oshpark ! Why don't we start off with both of you telling us a little bit about yourself?

    Dan Sheadel says: 
    (for reference, here's why we can't be trusted to label things)

    Nick Sayer says: 
    @Thomas Shaddack That's fair. They're just not-so-awesome when they escape their containment.

    Mohammad AL-Hamad says:
    usually, i label my PCB using the copper in the design

    Stephen says: 
    HAH @Dan Sheadel

    oshpark says: 
    Hi, this is Drew Fustini from OSH Park. Here is a list I'm working on of PCB projects with awesome artwork:

    http://blog.oshpark.com/2018/03/02/pcb-projects-with-awesome-artwork/

    oshpark says: 
    I'm always amazed by the creative ways that people are able to use fiberglass, copper, silkscreen and soldermask :)

    Daniel Velazquez says:
    Silkscreen is not reallt needed

    Dan Sheadel says:
    Anyway, on point! Hi! I'm Dan! I'm a mash of Support and dev, mostly working on the backend but also managing front end updates and fixes.

    Dan Sheadel says:
    Fan of board art, tiny useless robots, and an FRC mentor, hence they byline on the hackaday blog. :)

    Stephen says:
    That's awesome, so glad to have you two on the chat. Let's start this Q&A with the basics before ramping up. Julius (Mr. Seeker) asks:

    If you want to start PCB design, what software would you guys recommend, besides Eagle?

    oshpark says:
    I am an Open Source Hardware designer here at OSH Park and am also a member of the BeagleBoard.org Foundation board of directors. I can often be found at hardware meetups wearing purple :)

    oshpark says:
    -Drew Fustini

    Stephen says:
    SO MUCH PURPLE

    oshpark says:
    Always :D

    Dan Sheadel says:
    Totes! Kicad and Eagle are the ones we're fans of. As far as hobby work goes, I think they're the most well rounded and usable.

    Non-ICE says:
    I've used Designspark too, tho it has its downsides

    oshpark says:
    Within OSH Park, we are split about 50/50 between EAGLE and KiCad. I (Drew) use KiCad for my projects while Dan usually uses EAGLE. Both are very popular tools with our customers

    Non-ICE says:
    from RS components

    Mohammad AL-Hamad says:
    i prefer KiCad

    Robert Marosi says:
    How can someone get into industry software like Altium or OrCad without paying so much?

    Nick Sayer says:
    I promise to keep mostly quiet, but one advice for beginners is to try both and then figure out which one you like the best. After you are down the road, you'll build up libraries of parts and footprints that will make you very *sticky* to the tool - changing will be a hassle you won't want to do.

    Boian Mitov says:
    Hello everyone, sorry for the late join :-(

    oshpark says:
    For anyone interested in learning KiCad, we recommend this tutorial: https://contextualelectronics.com/courses/getting-to-blinky/

    Dan Sheadel says:
    We've heard DipTrace and Designspark are both pretty usable. Haven't used them. If you have a school or university, you can try Altium or ORCAD a lot of time.

    Mohammad AL-Hamad says:
    I used both Kicad and Eagle

    Robert Marosi says:
    How can someone get into industry software like Altium or OrCad without paying so much?

    Nick Sayer says:
    I promise to keep mostly quiet, but one advice for beginners is to try both and then figure out which one you like the...

    Read more »

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Febriansyah Maulana wrote 03/18/2018 at 04:13 point

hi i am new person,

Can someone help me

  Are you sure? yes | no

morgan wrote 03/07/2018 at 18:44 point

Something that I forgot to ask during chat and don't think came up... there an ETA for KiCAD 5/nightly support? I got bit by the nasty "I didn't re-pour zones before exporting Gerber" mistake recently.

  Are you sure? yes | no

oshpark wrote 03/07/2018 at 00:43 point

FYI - the PCB Design and Fabrication Institute was a great website.  it is still accessible via the Wayback Machine:

 https://web.archive.org/web/20170330154242/http://www.pcbdesignschool.com/

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jac Goudsmit wrote 03/02/2018 at 20:55 point

On one of my boards, a drill apparently broke and half my vias were just islands. There were other problems that I caused myself so I didn't ask for a refund. But does OSHPark have a return policy? Also, does/do your fab(s) test the boards in any way?

  Are you sure? yes | no

oshpark wrote 03/03/2018 at 08:23 point

Sorry to hear that!  Please email support@oshpark.com whenever the boards are not perfect.  Our support team is always happy to work customers to resolve issues, whether it is remaking the boards or refunding the order.

We always appreciate any quality feedback, no matter how small.  We compile all the quality issues on a regular basis to discover patterns and work with the fab to resolve them.

Our fabs use automatic optical inspection (AOI) to QA every step of the manufacturing process.  If there's a discrepancy that's beyond specs, then the board is marked as bad.  In practice, this has resulted in a bad board rate of less than 1 in 10,000.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Nick Sayer wrote 03/02/2018 at 20:52 point

Super duper kudos for the plated-through-slot abilities - unofficial though they may be.

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oshpark wrote 03/07/2018 at 00:30 point

fyi - here is information on slots and cutouts: http://docs.oshpark.com/troubleshooting/cutouts-and-slots/  And feel free to email support@oshpark.com and our support engineers can advise the best approach to take for a specific project

  Are you sure? yes | no

r miloh alexander wrote 03/02/2018 at 20:51 point

can you tell us what sw does OSH park use internally to panelize? How automated is the panelization process? Do you tabs  (or mousebite) these batch panel orders or does the fab do this procedure?

  Are you sure? yes | no

oshpark wrote 03/07/2018 at 00:33 point

We rely on gerbv and custom software that we've written over the years.  Our panelization process is fully automated.  Ultimately, we send a set of gerber files for the panel to the fab.  That includes the outline layer which shows where each board fits in the panel.  The CAM engineer at the fab will then place routing tabs using their fab software and run structural analysis on the panel.

  Are you sure? yes | no

r miloh alexander wrote 03/02/2018 at 20:43 point

how did OSHpark get its name?

  Are you sure? yes | no

oshpark wrote 03/03/2018 at 08:42 point

The service grew out of the DorkbotPDX electronics meetup in Portland:  https://dorkbotpdx.org  The informal DorkbotPDX PCB service got big enough that Laen transitioned it to a real company and choose the name OSH Park.

The "OSH" is a reference to our admiration for Open Source Hardware projects.  All uploaded projects are private by default, but there is an option to share your project:  https://blog.oshpark.com/2017/06/05/how-to-share-your-project/

The "Park" refers to our vision to host a collection of Open Source Hardware designs.  Our current Shared Projects area is a basic implementation that we hope to build on in the future: https://oshpark.com/shared_projects

  Are you sure? yes | no

Nick Sayer wrote 03/02/2018 at 20:31 point

Can you give a brief overview of the flex fab process? Is it like PCB where you start with a fully clad board and then etch away the copper you don't want?

  Are you sure? yes | no

oshpark wrote 03/07/2018 at 00:39 point

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jac Goudsmit wrote 03/02/2018 at 20:24 point

Does OSHPark support (or are they planning to support) chamfering to make edge connectors?

  Are you sure? yes | no

oshpark wrote 03/03/2018 at 17:23 point

Unfortunately, not.  It increases the panel setup cost at the fab too much to be practical for our service.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Mohammad Ahmad AL-Hamad wrote 03/02/2018 at 20:23 point

what is the proper unit in your opinion to use for designing PCBs is it Imperial or metric I use both ?

  Are you sure? yes | no

oshpark wrote 03/07/2018 at 00:35 point

It really doesn't matter for our service. They represent the same physical sizes with different numbers, so it's all the same after a conversion. Since the export process is also independent of the design units, no one really needs to care. Use what you like.

The only exception is that due to how the numbers work out, drill files with metric units are worse than drills with imperial units, and have more ways to be misinterpreted.
If drill files actually indicated how to read their formatting consistently, that too would be a non-issue. Gerber files do this, but drills generally don't

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jac Goudsmit wrote 03/02/2018 at 20:23 point

Another question out of curiosity: My medium-run PCBs didn't have "mouse teeth". Are they made differently from the 3-board run?

  Are you sure? yes | no

oshpark wrote 03/03/2018 at 17:27 point

Yes, our Medium Run service is manufactured as a set of 10 panel.  The increased volume allows us to lower the price to $1/sqin.  It is also why we require the order to be over 100 sq in total and divisible by 10:  https://docs.oshpark.com/services/two-layer-medium-run/

Another benefit of Medium Run is that the boards can be fully milled out if desired.  Please email support@oshpark.com to request a Medium Run order be "Fully Routed".

  Are you sure? yes | no

x wrote 03/02/2018 at 20:15 point

What do you think of PCBmodE any other interesting design centric PCB tools?

  Are you sure? yes | no

oshpark wrote 03/07/2018 at 00:27 point

The Boldport designs really show off the power of PCBmodE but none of us at OSH Park have personally used it for a project.  Dan did try it but found doing artwork directly in EAGLE was easier for him. 

Regarding other software, @Blake Ramsdell  has created software for doing PCB paintings:
https://hackaday.io/page/3353-full-panel-pcb-painting-fabricated


I believe in the future @Andrew Sowa  will be doing a hackchat about pcb artwork so he can talk more about his process. We love what did with this full panel sign for us: 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BcGrEupBJQi/

He has a great process for converting photos into PCB:
http://andrewsowa.com/blog/2017/12/18/pay-what-you-want-pcb-art

  Are you sure? yes | no

Audi McAvoy wrote 03/02/2018 at 20:15 point

Does oshpark support ODB++? If so, is that preferred over Gerber?

  Are you sure? yes | no

oshpark wrote 03/07/2018 at 00:12 point

Unfortunately, we do not support ODB++.  It is a proprietary format while Geber X2 is free. Please visit our design tool help page for more information on generating gerber files for our service: http://docs.oshpark.com/design-tools/  Please email support@oshpark.com with any questions.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Carrie Sundra wrote 03/02/2018 at 20:11 point

Question: I'm interested in making a few batches of PCBs that are mostly decorative and are 0.5" round discs.  It's important that the edges be smooth - no mouse bites, fully routed edge.  Is this possible for you guys to do?  If so, how would I indicate it on my order?

  Are you sure? yes | no

oshpark wrote 03/07/2018 at 00:08 point

It is possible to have Medium Run orders (http://docs.oshpark.com/services/two-layer-medium-run/) fully milled by the fab.  Please email support@oshpark.com and say that you would like the order "fully routed".

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jac Goudsmit wrote 03/02/2018 at 20:10 point

It's not really important but I was wondering... In the last few orders I placed with OSHpark, I didn't get any stickers or other goodies. Is that because I used a discount code or because I ordered a Medium Run?

  Are you sure? yes | no

oshpark wrote 03/07/2018 at 00:07 point

We try to put sticker in all orders.  We do run low on supplies sometimes, but we have new designs on the way!  We also always happy to get ideas for new sticker designs and look forward to someday reaching 0xFF.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Audi McAvoy wrote 03/02/2018 at 20:09 point

How automated is the Gerber submission process? I didn't have a board outline layer, and it was kicked back pretty quick.

  Are you sure? yes | no

oshpark wrote 03/06/2018 at 23:09 point

100% . We can send your order to fabrication without human intervention. However, we do look over a panel for anything that looks super weird.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Nick Sayer wrote 03/02/2018 at 20:09 point

Not so much a question as a comment: OSHPark is 90% (10% goes to EAGLE) responsible for returning me to a hobby that I abandoned over 30 years ago when I was a teenager. Everything I've designed since then has been entirely because the barriers to getting professionally made PCBs at a reasonable timeframe and budget have gone away.

  Are you sure? yes | no

oshpark wrote 03/07/2018 at 00:05 point

That is wonderful to hear!  OSH Park grew out of a group of electronics hobbyists, and helping individuals get their projects made is the reason we exist :)

  Are you sure? yes | no

Robert Marosi wrote 03/02/2018 at 20:05 point

Will OSH Park sell PCB assembly services at some point?

  Are you sure? yes | no

oshpark wrote 03/06/2018 at 23:13 point

Maybe.  If we do, we'll probably do "jellybean" parts at a low cost. We probably won't ever offer a full turnkey solution though. It's not off the table, but it's a ton of work that's somewhat out of the focus of our normal operations.  We also recognize that just getting a consistent BOM is gonna be a hassle. We're not gonna launch a service that's not somewhat on par with the ease of workflow process we pride ourselves on. And doing that for PCB assembly is gonna be tough.

We do recommend Small Batch Assembly to our customers:
https://www.smallbatchassembly.com/

The service is run by @Bob Coggeshall in Virginia.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Robert Marosi wrote 03/02/2018 at 20:01 point

What's the most interesting flex-PCB application you've encountered so far?

  Are you sure? yes | no

oshpark wrote 03/06/2018 at 23:34 point

We've seen some cool ones!

- 90* angle bends for neopixels and lighting strips

- Someone is using a couple sheets as a pressure sensor for botton of shoes

- Connectors, obviously

- Glue on fingernail lights

Trammell Hudson designed https://twitter.com/qrs/status/929513598203830272
@Andrew Sowa  used the flex to make letter shapes for a sign http://andrewsowa.com/projects/#/3h-chicago-hardware-meetup/

  Are you sure? yes | no

Julius (Mr. Seeker) wrote 03/02/2018 at 19:59 point

If you want to start PCB design, what software would you guys recommend, besides Eagle?

  Are you sure? yes | no

oshpark wrote 03/06/2018 at 23:58 point

Check out KiCad: http://kicad-pcb.org/  It is free and open source software that runs on Windows, Mac and Linux.  @Chris Gammell has a free getting started tutorial called Getting to Blinky: https://contextualelectronics.com/courses/getting-to-blinky/

  Are you sure? yes | no

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