Last month,I discovered a cheap pcb fabricator - JLCPCB. What attracted me most was their $2 price.I decided to give it a try, because the website looked pretty neat and modern. They also provided a little bit better specs than the others.
As buyers or PCB hobbyists, we are questioning why some PCB fabricators enjoy a cheap price and whether they secretly sacrifice the quality to achieve the low cost. When I received the PCB from JLCPCB, I would like to say “of course not”! Their PCBs have a high quality.
Now i will give a short tutorial about how to order your pcbs from Jlcpcb.com.
1.Visit JLCPCB website and have a register.
Direct your web browser to Jlcpcb.com and you will see their page front:
If you want to order from JLCPCB, you must register a account. Or you could use your google account or EasyEDA account. JLCPCB and EasyEDA are family companies. If you create your account, you can use it to log into any EsayEDA service site.
Clicking the “Quote Now” button, the quote page will be shown as the picture.
There are a lot of options on this page. I will list what they are below:
●Layer: You will pick 2 layers. This means you will have circuits both on top and bottom of your circuit boards. I don’t see many single layer PCB any more but they were popular decades ago.
●PCB Dimension: This is the rectangular size that encloses your PCB. In the past, the board dimensions are taken automatically from your PCB design files but not anymore. You have to supply it yourself now. But you also get a “gerber viewer” after you upload your design.
●PCB Qty: JLCPCB service doesn’t make one PCB, the least amount is 5. They have a big discounts .10 pieces 2layer board (Size ≤ 100×100mm) just cost $2. A piece 27×20mm from Oshpark cost me $4.3.
●PCB Thickness: Go ahead and pick 1.6mm. Most common thickness is 1.6mm. If you want some added mechanical strength on your larger boards, you can go with 2.0mm. If you need a 2.5mm or 3mm thickness board, please ask us for a quote via email. Note that not all thicknesses will be available for all numbers of layers; for example no PCB house can fabricate a 32 layer PCB with a 0.4mm thickness.
● PCB Color: You can choose your color .All colors are for free. I’ve used green, red, blue, and black. They all come out fine.
●Surface Finish: Pick HASL (Hot Air Surface Leveling). It’s a technique that plates holes with hot molten solder and the excess is removed by hot air. You can also pick leadless HASL if you want to go green. You may upgrade to ENIG-Rohs, which is Electroless Nickel Immersion Gold. Holes will be covered by a thin layer of gold to prevent oxidation.But you need cost $18.
●Copper Weight: this is the weight of copper clad per square foot. 1oz is a typical choice. Thicker copper clad offers less resistance with the same trace size. It’s simple physics.
●Gold Fingers: If you wish to built PCBs that plug directly into edge connectors, such as memory cards,you can choose.
●Material Details: Typical boards are made of FR4-Standard.JLCPCB also supports FR4-Standard Tg 140C, FR4-Tg 150C, FR4-High Tg 170C. The FR4 TG's lead time may be more than 6 days.
●Panel By JLCPCB: just go with default NO
●Half-cut/Castellated Holes:go with NO. Never done it.
3. upload your gerber file
After everything is selected and click “SAVE To CART’. On next page click and upload your gerber file, you will see the picture:
The JLCPCB offers you a free online Gerber Viewer. You can 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.
After Gerber Viewer ,click the “save to cart”button again,then finish checking.
Afetr “Checkout Securely”,you will enter Shipping Address and choose the delivery method. I use DHL. For shipping to United States,shipping is less than $20. In general, I use Paypal ,here you also can use credit.
JLCPCB really provides a excellent service. It is a real cheapest PCB fabricator. If you want to try new providers, I think it is a good choice.
There is a video tutorial about how to prototype PCBs f with JLCPCB: