How to Buy Printed Circuit Board

Printed circuit boards are a crucial part of electronic devices. Various components are installed on these boards. Each of these components plays a crucial role in the functioning of an electronic system. Also, the price of printed circuit boards varies based on some factors. For instance, multilayer boards are costlier than single sided boards.  

How Much Does PCB Cost?

The cost of a printed circuit board ranges between  $10 to $100 per board. Also, the type of material, size, and number of layers determine the exact price of a circuit board. Sometimes, smaller circuit boards tend to be costlier than bigger boards. This is because some smaller boards are very complex to fabricate. Therefore, their fabrication process demands more time and money.

The fabrication of some printed circuit boards requires more effort, materials, and time. Also, the price of materials and components used for circuit boards varies among suppliers.

Factors that Impact the Cost of a Printed Circuit Board

As earlier said, several factors determine the price of a PCB. Also, printed circuit boards are available in various types. Therefore, the components and the materials used for these circuit boards may differ. Also, PCBs that require more complex manufacturing processes are costlier.

Quantity

The quantity of circuit boards you ordered may affect the price. For instance, if you order a circuit board in large quantities, it will be cheaper. Ordering printed circuit boards in bulk is a reasonable means to reduce costs. Also, you may have to pay more for a minimum order.

Assembly type

There are three different techniques of assembling printed circuit boards. These are through hole, surface mount technology, and mixed assembly. SMT circuit boards are less expensive than through hole boards. Through hole technology requires drilling hole on a bare circuit board. Also, this process is a difficult one and it is time-consuming. However, through hole offers a stronger bond between components.

Number of components

PCBs vary based on the number of components present in them. While some circuit boards may require more components, some require less components. Also, the number of components on a circuit board will affect its cost.

Number of layers

The more the layers on a board, the more expensive it is. For example, multilayer PCBs are more expensive than double sided and single sided boards. Also, the multilayer PCB manufacturing process requires more effort and time.

Surface finish type

There is a wide range of surface finish options. Also, some surface finish types are more expensive than others. Therefore, the type of surface finish you opt for will have an impact on the cost of your circuit board. For example, immersion gold is more expensive than HASL.

Other Factors that May Contribute to the Cost of a PCB

Potting

Potting is crucial for printed circuit boards exposed to moisture, humidity, and vibration. However, this process can increase the cost of your circuit. However, you can consider a lower cost option for potting.

Special part preparation requirements

Some parts need special processing. For example, odd spacing and unique lead length may increase the cost of your printed circuit board.

Types of metal core

PCB base layer are usually made of metal. However, there are three different types of metal core commonly used in PCB fabrication. These are copper, aluminum, and iron. Also, the type of metal you choose will have an impact on the cost of a PCB.

Shipping and delivery

You may need to pay more money to ship your printed circuit board. However, ordering for large quantities of PCBs will save your more cost. Also, this will help to reduce the cost of shipping and delivery per unit.

Test requirements

Quality control is definitely important in PCB fabrication. There are several PCB testing and inspection methods. Consult your manufacturer to know the best method to integrate.

Lead time

This describes the time it takes to begin PCB production and complete it. Also, if you request for a short lead time, you may have to pay more.  

How to Save Money when Buying a PCB

There are ways you can save cost when ordering for your PCB. However, you have to consider these factors before you place an order.

PCB design

You can save cost by considering your PCB design. Also, reconsider some features in your design. Features like complex shape and large boards. Keep your PCB sizes and shapes according to standards of your manufacturer.

Material selection

Different types of materials are widely used in the production of printed circuits. Some materials offer cutting edge solution to PCB fabrication issues. Selecting the right material is a crucial aspect of PCB manufacturing. You can opt for less expensive materials to achieve your desired PCB. However, do not compromise quality for price.

Create a comprehensive BOM

A bill of material is one of the best ways to know what your PCB will be including. This document comprises a list of material your manufacturing will be integrating for your PCB products. Create a BOM to know the crucial materials and rule out unnecessary materials. Also, a BOM gives you the highest precision you need.

How to Order for PCB

Ordering for a PCB is a simple and straightforward process. If you are yet to know how to order for a PCB, read this section.

Provide a Gerber file

Your PCB manufacturer will request a Gerber file. Also, Gerber files describe basic information about the PCB. It comprises information such as solder mask, copper layers, drill data, and more.

Create a Bill of material

A bill of material comprises the list of materials and components needed for PCB manufacturing.

Choose necessary PCB options

You will need to select necessary PCB options like thickness, color, PCB quantity, and more.

Preview

You will need to review the information you have included.

Make payment

You have to provide your credit card details to make payment.

Conclusion

When choosing a PCB partner for your PCB project, ensure you consider some factors like expertise, lead time, and certification. PCB mass production can help you save more money. Also, there are other ways to save more money when fabricating a circuit board.