Low Cost PCB Prototype - JLCPCB and Oshpark Comparison

3 years ago 6103
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Now a lot of PCB companies call themself “ low cost pcb prototype”. JLCPCB, OSH Park, they are on my list. I have to say that from both you will get superior PCBs with quality on the professional level.

1.Web Interface and notifications:

Both services have very easy and straight forward interface.On JLCPCB ,the price calculator and ordering system are fully automated on their website, you just fill in the details, you get a price quotation, next you upload your gerber files and place your order. JLCPCB Web interface will show a visual preview of your board plus layers like silkscreen, drilling, etc. On Oshpark, you can also upload your Eagle board directly and don’t have to export Gerbers. Once you upload your board they show you nice purple renderings of what your board will look like, including all the layers which you can visually inspect to make sure everything looks like you want. I have tried Eagle and Circuit Maker files, both without any issues. Super. But sometimes it’s slower on Oshpark than JLCPCB when upload gerber files.

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While functionality is similar , I would say jlcpcb web is much modern and looks simply better. They are probably the easiest way to get a PCB manufactured though, thanks to their handy uploader. Oshpark software is pretty good at generating the gerbers for you, but I’ve run into issues with their silkscreen layers where things will be missing (like a resistor value). I’m sure if you follow their instructions when setting up your design it would work better though.

2.Price Comparison:

The easiest thing to compare. PCB Orderfrom JLCPCB : 2 layer 27.61mm x,20.17 mm cost me $2( $2.00(Size ≤ 100×100mm)

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Order from Oshpark:

2 layer boards are $5 per square inch (with 3 copies of your board included in that price)

My order : 2 layer 27.61mm x,20.17 mm cost $13 for 9 pcs.

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For this size board, JLCPCB wins. $2 for a PCB company, it is not easy. Oshpark boards must be ordered in quantities of 3. Most of low cost pcb prototype companies  minimum is 5 .That’s actually pretty helpful if you’re just wanting to proof your design before having a large number of boards made,so you can buy a board or two and still be safe, but you don’t end up with 20 boards laying around that can’t be used because you had an error in your design. .However, JLCPCB is still upon on Oshpark about this. A board is $4.3 in Oshpark and $2 in JLCPCB. 10 pieces board (2 layer 100*100) still $2.

3.Quality Comparison:

This one's slightly hard for me to judge, since I'm not quite sure what I'm looking for. JLCPCB has better tolerances than OSH Park, though since I wanted to have the same board made at both, I used the safer JLCPCB tolerances. Here is some parameters comparison.

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Here's a picture of the two boards -- as you can see they both look quite excellent:

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Another benefit is that JLCPCB gives you the option of different soldermask colors. OSH Park doesn't charge you for color, but your only option is purple.Definitely perfect for making front panels as I intended for one of these pcbs.

So let’s go through some things and compare these pcbs.

First let’s take a look at the quality of the silkscreen.All have white silkscreen and I tried to get similar sized text for comparison but failed .The pcb from JLCPCB is better than from OshPark.

Here are some tests that worked out slightly less well from Oshpark:

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The “4” traces did not survive. The text can’t be recognized well.

The board below is from JLCPCB,it’s clear.

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In this case, the result is quite clear, much better printing from JLCPCB, they seem to have a higher resolution print.

Here i want to say some about “text layer”.

We know that in general text width is equal or greater than0.15mm (6mil). If it is less than 0.15mm (6mil), the board may cause the character to be unclear for design reasons;the text height is equal or greater than0.8mm(32mil).If it is less than 0.8mm(32mil), the text may also be unclear.

The ratio of the width and the height of the text from JLCPCB is 1:6. It is the most suitable width and height ratio and good for production.

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After buying ,my order went through manufacturing and I was notified it has been shipped with DHL.You can see the “order status” on JLCPCB. About 8 days later I had the boards in my hands . The OSH Park panel was dated for 7/4, but didn't go out until 7/7; probably good since it seems like the cutoff for getting in on a panel is the day before the panel date.  The panel was returned to OSH Park on 7/16, they shipped by boards that day, and I received them on 7/18.  15 calendar days, which is slightly better than the average

So to conclude my experience with this two low cost pcb prototype company- JLCPCB and Oshpark, both websites are great, you get all the info you need there and the process of ordering is very streamlined. Their customer support was very professional, not wasting time at all and the pcb quality was superb, the pictures speak for themselves. Personally speaking, the JLCPCB is my preference. The $2 price and good quality really strike me !

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