Circuit Board Ordering

June 4th, 2024
Working first on my plucked electronic instrument and now my hardware whistle synthesizer I've been ordering custom circuit boards ("PCBs"). Once the design digitized in KiCad (tutorial), the timeline looks like:

  • ~15min: place order online (JLCPCB, picked kind of randomly)
  • ~30min: manufacturer reviews order
    • In the most recent case they paused at this stage until I sent them another $5 because I'd made a panel of PCBs but hadn't checked the "this is a panel" button and so had been undercharged.
  • ~2d: manufacturer produces board (2.5d, 3.5d, 1.5d, 1.5d)
  • ~3d: DHL ships board from China to Boston (5d, 2d, 2d, 3d)
  • ~5.5d: total time (8d [1], 5d, 4d, 5d)

This is really impressive: for ~$30 I can go from having a fragile breadboarded circuit on my desk to a professional quality circuit board in less than a week.

I think a big reason why Nell and I never finished the RS232 to ethernet project is that while we were very enthusiastic about the project initially that faded during the months we waited for the PCB to arrive. Five days is still not as good as overnight, but it's fast enough to maintain decent momentum on a project.

[1] This one was slower because of a holiday there.

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