First Boards from Osh Park
If there's anything I love more than getting first prototype boards, it's getting cheap first prototype boards. I recently put in two different orders, one to Seeedstudio Fusion
(with shipping, $15 for ten 5x5cm boards, and $25 for five 10x10cm boards are the best deals), and one to Osh Park
(three copies, $5 per square inch of design).
Obviously Seeedstudio is better for larger boards, and Osh Park is better for smaller boards. This article is about Osh Park and my experience with them.
My first Osh Park design is a surface mount tutorial - a PIC, a couple LEDs, a pushbutton, and breakout and programming headers. Two layer board, 0.7" by 0.75" for a total of $2.65 for three boards with free shipping. (By the way, Osh Park is literally a 20 minute drive from me, so I'm considering emailing the guy to see if I can't pick up boards in person.)
First thing I noticed was the nice envelope the boards came in. Cool sticker. Boards clearly routed with tabs left, not v-scored, and then broken apart in a fairly rudimentary fashion. This means I need to break off the last tabs, and sand everything down. It's a little annoying, but worse things have happened. I don't have a file, but I can solder first and file later.
There was a speck of some garbage caught in a through-hole (seen on lower left), but I pushed it out with no trouble at all.
My vias were not tented. I suspect I messed something up in the gerbers. (Update 10/11/13: Confirmed. I made the vias too large and the tenting broke. Make them 12mil and no problem!)
All in all, I'm fairly happy so far. I need to fix a few design issues of my own (next article!) and get things working better on the circuit board side (get a file for the rough edges left by the tabs, and figure out tented vias).
September 20, 2013