I'm sorry if I caused confusion, I really did think it was a real service and it sounds as if it is, even if you didn't intend it to be. I read quite a lot of the site before submitting. I agree the tone is a bit odd, but then it's a bargain-basement service so it wasn't "odd enough" for me to ignore it, I guess.
I'm a closet fan of Dangerous Prototypes, I think it was that connection that made it interesting enough to submit, to me.
Also, stop doing joke PCB ordering sites, and get back to designing that STM32-based Bus Pirate v5, please. :)
Also: dirtycircuits.com will do routing! dirtycables.com will do custom cables! It's a dirty world!
> dirtycables.com - Great idea, hope you're not joking again.
How about a dirtyassembly.com? Please?
I'd like to buy in bulk and I really don't care of the PCB quality because it's just to mess around with.
Also, after talking to a few people this is a really good marketing strategy. Last year it would have been great to be able to go through one company for proto-pcbs then when we had ironed out all of our own kinks we could have placed an order for 'production ready boards'
They're explicitly saying the quality is not top-notch, but compensating with the price level to target prototype runs.
With only two pricing tiers (5x5 cm for $12, 10x10 cm for $24, both include 10 copies of the board and global shipping) it's really simple and very cheap.
It's by the people at Dangerous Prototypes (http://dirtypcbs.com/) so I'm pretty confident they have plenty of experience in dealing with pcb manufacturing houses.
Source? I can't find any mention on their website.
[Ian] at Dangerous Prototypes has just announced Dirt Cheap Dirty Boards, a PCB fabrication service for times where quality doesn’t matter too much.
I'm not quite sure if they can make a sustainable business at this price level but if they can- this looks like another great service!
1) Silkscreen isn't that important unless you're going into production - and are you really going to stiff your customers with crappy boards? The only other place it might matter is if you're dealing with particularly sensitive layouts where you don't want gunge on your traces, but again - why are you using a $10 manufacturer?
2) Etch quality is normally fine with these boards, pushing the fab minimums is asking for trouble, but standard 6/8mil is never normally a problem.
3) Shipping is a lottery, sometimes stuff arrives very fast, sometimes it doesn't, that's just HK mail.
4) Drill quality is where you might start to get worried because if the holes are sloppy, you might end up with messed up vias or holes in traces where they shouldn't be. (see https://www.sparkfun.com/tutorials/115) This is something that the cheaper houses tend to fall over on, but you can get round this by making the via rings larger to allow for their mistakes.
5) Panelising is an interesting case here, as someone mentioned. DirtyPCB specifically mentions V-cuts in the fab specification so presumably they're allowed. There's no good reason why any middle-man should prevent you from making a design if the fab wouldn't make it for the same price.
6) Cost per board - there's a fixed cost here which seems to imply that if possible and allowed, you should panelise your boards or at least put multiple copies into a single 5x5 or 10x10 shape.
If you want an alternative, look at OSHPark, http://oshpark.com. They offer $1/sqin for 3 boards shipped anywhere - this scales to 9 boards for $12 so fairly similar to dirty PCB and often cheaper because often you only want one or two revisions of a prototype board.
The quality is excellent, you get ENIG (gold tinned) plating and they're made in the US which should mean fast shipping. For us in Europe, shipping is still a gamble. For more advanced designs you can get 4 layer boards and there are cheaper options for large orders. You can only get purple boards, which look cool, but aren't for everyone.
Critically the price is per square inch rounded down to the hundredths or thousandths. So if I want to make an LED breakout board that's only 0.5 square inches, I only pay $0.50 for 3 (and I've done this).
There's also BatchPCB, but as they lost my order and are no longer price competitive I'd have to say they're not worth it any more.
Now, quality fade may set in. It might get crappy over time... however we're prepared! It's dirty boards after all!
It doesn't look like the owners have shown up here yet. If they do, here are some (hopefully helpful) suggestions from a target user who purchases proto pcbs all the time over the internet:
> Examples: 4cm by 2cm, red PCB: $12 for 10 copies - This should go on the front page. The price is so low that I thought it might be $12 per copy, but you have to order 10.
> Return customers - You like it dirty, you're back for more - Ok, for $12, I guess I can put up with this kind of stuff. But you're not helping yourself here.
> Is my design safe? - Your board will go to a cut-rate prototype PCB factory in China. In all likelihood they have too much volume to give a crap about what's on your PCB, but if this is a concern PLEASE FIND ANOTHER SUPPLIER. - Well, this one is actually funny, but in a sad, tearful sort of way. Why remind people of sad truths? All it can do is take away what could have been a potential customer.
> Shipping is by Hong Kong Post (or similar), which takes 4-30 days - This is great for a lot of people, but there are a whole class of other people (maybe 50% of your audience) who would gladly pay quite a bit more money to get something faster. 30 days is a long time. A different shipping option, even if it was $35 or so, would go a long way here.
PS Good job with the site! The cost is so shockingly low that it certainly gets your attention.
A. Get your head outta the sand and take a look around, our prices copy existing services just without all the bull.
1. The top header has that info, not sure how you missed it...
2. Yeah, we like it dirty and we don't want your business. Don't put up with it, go somewhere else...
3. Finish the quote, don't select the random bit that proves your point. This is for open source hardware, we WANT to share and propagate. Take our stuff China, please!
4. We don't care. Pay a ton of handling fees or do the environment a favor and go local. We want to drop stuff off to xiao dou (Mr. Little Bean) at espeed in Huaqiangbei and be done with it. Can't be assed to do more at these prices...
Funny. It would be a thing that would discourage me from using your site. Lack of graphic and flashy ads actually is very pleasant to the eye.
We have a clue, we just don't usually have a choice.
$1 per square inch rounded to some fraction. You get three boards shipped anywhere in the world (see my other post for my thoughts). A 5x5 board is roughly 4 square inches, so would cost you $4 for three or $12 for 9. If it's smaller, you pay less.
Turn around time is around 10 days + shipping from the US so either a blessing or a curse.
Seeed used to be cheaper for massive orders, but now OSH has a medium run order it's about the same.
At OSH Park:
2 layer boards are $5 per square inch (with 3 copies of your board included in that price)
So a 5x5 cm board from OSH Park is $20 for three, with this service you pay $12 for ten. Way cheaper.
You don't want every customer you can get.
I guess they panelize internally at a period of 10x10cm(+margin).
There are a few options for 6+ layers that don't seem too unreasonable. For example, Pheonix PCB does 100sqin of 6-layer board for a single design for $550. They go down to 4mil trace/spacing and 8mil drill (about $90 extra). There might be better options. At this point, for the hobbyist market, design tools start to be the barrier, not manufacturing. $500 for a bunch of prototype boards seems like peanuts compared to the price of Alitum.
On the picture they posted, the silkscreen registration is pretty bad, but that's par for the course for these types of services.
In my environment it's pretty easy to answer that question.
I was on the OSH Park website a few minutes ago, and I think I will give this a try instead.
It's one of the things I enjoy about HN "Oh you cured cancer and it costs $10 a dose and can be made in a kitchen, brilliant but the site doesn't work properly on Firefox Pre-Alpha on Solaris so I have no faith in you".
It used to bother me but somewhere down the line I just stopped reading the comments and looked for the positive stuff instead.
I get that they're trying to convey 'quick and dirty', but they're only saying the dirty, crappy part of it, and de-emphasizing the cheap and easy. To me it says not environmentally friendly crap.
It's totally their marketing decision to make though. It would be interesting to see them comment about this, and what their rationale was in choosing the name (it could be that this was extremely well tested and researched).
I'll be using them, anyway!
This company have very cheap proces but have set expectation for quality low - so when the customer actually gets the boards they're probably going to be pleased.
But this is just my opinion!