Designing PCBs is getting a lot easier these days. The possibility of manufacturing 5-10pcs circuit boards at dirt cheap price has given millions of hobbyists an opportunity to work on their ideas freely. However, for a hobbyist or a beginner, even cheap services can become expensive if he/she is unaware of all the steps involved from designing a PCB to manufacturing it. There are a lot of things a designer should know while designing a circuit board. In this article, we are going to discuss few important aspects of designing and ordering a PCB and find out how JLCPCB performs on those aspects.
- JLCPCB offers a platform for PCB design:
EasyEDA is a partner company of JLCPCB. Both EasyEDA and JLCPCB are operated by the same team. Usually, we design a circuit board on a different platform like Eagle, Fritzing, etc. and use the gerbers generated by those platforms to order from a manufacturer which is completely a different company. This is definitely not a problem, because most of the designers are making their designs on one platform, for example, Eagle and sending their design Gerbers to other company.
How about this.. if you are a beginner and you design a circuit using circuitwizard, and you do not know how to generate a Gerber ? And the manufacturing company does not have circuitwizard installed on their computer and they cannot generate Gerber for you ?
Here comes the advantage of using EasyEDA because this company has its own design software as well as PCB manufacturing service. You can simply use EasyEDA to design a circuit board and order it from JLCPCB. If there is any problem, the team will contact you,
2. JLCPCB offers a platform for checking your Gerber- Gerber Viewer
As stated earlier, EasyEDA is JLCPCB’s partner platform and they also offer you a free online Gerber viewer. You can use it to check your PCB Gerber files and check how it appears in different colors, layers and surface finish. The Gerber viewer is so good that it can generate the image closely resembling the real circuit board. Check the following images:
3. Simplified or non-existing design rules:
The PCB manufacturing companies have a set of design rules that the designer should adhere to. If the designer does not follow the rules, the design would be rejected by the manufacturing machine. That’s why most of the PCB manufacturing companies publish a set of design rules and most of them have terms which are confusing to beginners.
For example, this design rule has been depicted from a different manufacturing company’s page:
Minimum track width: 6mil (0.15mm)
Minimum spacing: 6mil (0.15mm)
Minimum vias specifications: pad:20mil(0.5mm)/hole size:12mil(0.3mm)
JLCPCB does not require any design rules before ordering the PCBs. It will simply accept your gerber files. If there is any problem, they will contact you. We have written an article on how to order PCBs from JLCPCB.
One example of rejection by OSH park:
We have a Gerber file (generated by Eagle) that is readily accepted by most of the PCB manufacturing companies including JLCPCB, but it has been rejected by OSH Park. This can happen to any of your Gerber files. Therefore, we recommend JLCPCB to avoid this failure.
4. Accepts Gerber files created by- Eagle, Altium, Kicad and Diptrace.
A PCB manufacturing company should accept Gerbers created by any PCB design software. However, there are some design rules given by the companies that a designer should follow. In case of JLCPCB, they have published 4 video tutorials to help users to create their Gerbers with ease. Altium, Eagle, Kicad and Diptrace are most popular software for designing PCBs and JLCPCB accepts all.
- Altium PCB to gerber files
- Eagle PCB to gerber files
- Kicad PCB to gerber files
- Diptrace PCB to gerber files
5. Cheapest PCB manufacturing service ($2 for 10pcs of 10cmx10cm PCBs):
JLCPCB is the cheapest manufacturer of PCBs. For 10pcs of 10cmx10cm board, it costs only $2. You can read the full article about the ordering process.
6. JLCPCB offers a store for purchasing components:
When you order a PCB, you will definitely need components to solder on it. Why look other companies for the components you need ? If you have 10 components in your circuit board, there are chances that you would be searching at least 3-5 stores for those components. JLCPCB has a solution for you.
JLCPCB is a rapidly growing company for manufacturing low cost PCBs, it has 200,000+ active customers and accepts 8,000+ online orders per day.
7. Order SMT stencils at JLCPCB
If your circuit boards have SMT components, you would need SMT stencils also. Sometimes, if you have ordered PCBs from one company and stencils from other company. JLCPCB is also taking orders for high precision SMT stencils. JLCPCB charges only $9 for 38cmx28cm stencil.
BuildCiruit strongly recommends using JLCPCB.
The following video shows the quality of the PCBs ordered from JLCPCB
Related article: How to order PCBs from JLCPCB.COM
EasyEDA: Ideas for Circuit Design, Innovation for Electronics Access
Free Circuit Design: Schematic – Simulation – PCB Layout – Gerber Viewer
JLCPCB Prototype & Small-batch PCB: Only $2 for 10pcs 10×10cm PCBs, 24 hours Quick Turn, DHL Delivery in 3 Days