by USB Armory:
The USB Armory batch production is almost complete and we would like to take this opportunity to provide some details about the manufacturing process. The journey that takes the USB Armory design from schematics to the physical board is truly fascinating and involves several steps.
We decided from a very early stage to manufacture and assemble the USB Armory PCB 100% in Italy, which is where Inverse Path is based. This allows us to efficiently interact with our suppliers and ensure the quality that the USB Armory boards deserve.
The PCB manufacturing is done by TVR, a high quality “Just in Time” manufacturer founded in 1975. Their manufacturing capabilities, efficiency and process quality are remarkable, they are highly praised for the quick turnover in producing complex PCBs with an extremely low failure rate.
Manufacturing Process of USB Armory - [Link]
After my initial PCB success with Maker Studio, I uploaded the design files to three more board houses. I had planned to try four or five more, but I started to get the impression that many of the China-based sources used the same fab house, so I stopped at three.
Elecrow’s basic board fab service supplies 5 or 10 PCBs for $11.90, with a basic international shipping cost of around $7 for 5 boards. Although I haven’t been paying close attention to delivery time for these reviews (too many variables), I will say that Elecrow was significantly slower than the other three sources.
Quick-Turn PCB shop review project: Elecrow - [Link]
Peter of Cytec BG writes:
My idea was for pcb designers to be able to quickly, without too much hassle, check their board for correct footprints (especially for connectors) and collisions between components. Currently one can change soldermask colors, silkscreen layers, move and rotate components around, change component models and import step files.
3D Eagle BRD Viewer - [Link]
By Chris Glaser @ ti.com:
Especially for switch-mode power supplies (SMPSs), the printed circuit board (PCB) layout is a critical but often under appreciated step in achieving proper performance and reliability. Errors in the PCB layout cause a variety of misbehaviors including poor output voltage regulation, switching jitter, and even device failure. Issues like these should be avoided at all costs, since fixing them usually requires a PCB design modification. However, these pitfalls are easily circumvented if time and thought are spent during the PCB layout process before the first PCBs are ever ordered. This article presents five simple steps to ensure that your next step-down converter’s PCB layout is robust and ready for prototyping.
Five steps to a great PCB layout for a step-down converter - [Link]
by Stephen Edward:
A Simple Breakout board for the edison. Does nothing special except breaks out the 70pin connector to 2.54mm Pins so you can start experimenting with the Edison.
Has an experimenters area so you can solder on things like a regulator or Level shifter.
It also has the bottom side through connectors so that you can daisy change multiple boards or other Edison shields
Custom DIY Intel Edison Breakout Board - [Link]
Raj from Embedded Lab has designed this breadboard friendly adapter for rapid prototyping with the ESP8266 serial-to-wifi module. It receives a ESP-01 model ESP8266 transceiver through a 2×4 female header and provides easy access to those pins through two single row headers that are breadboard friendly.
ESP8266 adapter for easy breadboarding - [Link]
Andrew Sarangan @ edn.com:
Why make your own printed circuit boards when you can get them commercially made for low cost? For one, it can take one to four weeks to receive the boards. For prototyping, this can be a major hurdle. Each design iteration will then take a month or more, and a project may need many months to get done. The DIYer can fab the board and assemble everything in one evening. That advantage is really hard to beat.
Besides time, there are other reasons to make your own board. Commercial services charge by board size, not complexity. Larger boards will cost more even if they are completely blank. I once had to make an oversized PCB because the parts had to be spaced far apart. It was a very sparse board, but getting it made from even the cheapest commercial source would have been expensive.
Make high-quality double-sided PCBs – at home - [Link]
by Michael Dunn @ edn.com:
The first batch of test PCBs has arrived from Maker Studio, and overall, I like what I see.
Maker Studio’s basic board fab service supplies 10 PCBs for $9.99, with a basic international shipping cost of around $7. Interestingly, you get to choose shipping from several countries, including China, Singapore, and Sweden! Does this mean there are several fab sites? IIRC, I chose Sweden for my order.
Quick-Turn PCB shop review project: Maker Studio - [Link]
by Michael Dunn @ edn.com:
Well, the “Test PCB” project is finally underway. In case you don’t remember my original blog, the idea is to send a PCB design out to a half-dozen or so low-cost PCB prototype shops, then review their service and quality.
I’ve created a 6 × 6cm double-sided design for this project. I would have made it larger, but at least one fab’s prices (I’m looking at you, OSH Park) rise steeply with board size, and I wanted to keep within budget.
Quick-Turn PCB shop review project: Step 1, the PCB - [Link]
In this tutorial Dave explains what a PCB spark gap is and how it can be a useful zero cost addition to your PCB layout to help prevent ESD damage.
He shows how to easily design them into your board and calculate the approximate voltage rating.
And of course has some fun applying 5kV to some gaps to show how them at work.
EEVblog #678 – What is a PCB Spark Gap? - [Link]