Hypothetical - any circuit board

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PymbleSoftware
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Hypothetical - any circuit board

Unread postby PymbleSoftware » Tue Feb 21, 2012 4:23 pm

If you had almost unlimited venture capital funding (1a) and could manufacture circuit boards "cheaper than China with far greater quality control" (1b)

... What would you build...? Keep in mind this is for profit and not fun. Min production runs are quite large so it would want to be something you could sell a lot of.

R.

1a. You should have seen what they sunk 90 million into (and lost it all).
1b. So they say.I'd take that with a whole salt pan of salt, not just a pinch.
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Re: Hypothetical - any circuit board

Unread postby R-ten-K » Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:49 pm

What do you mean by "manufacturing circuit boards?"
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Re: Hypothetical - any circuit board

Unread postby PymbleSoftware » Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:57 pm

R-ten-K wrote:What do you mean by "manufacturing circuit boards?"


Access to factory where they can cheaply take boards cheaply etched elsewhere with machines to layout all the components and then solder bake ovens to solder every thing in place in a mass run. Alot of units produced quickly and cheapily, I am led to believe.

I think my question should have been ... If we were doing a mass run of circuit boards for something, what we really need is a...
I want a widget X ... and I think a lot of other people would want one too..

Just kind of an idle thought after people approached me about how the boards we use at where I work are manufactured, and if we would switch board manufacturers.

R.
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Re: Hypothetical - any circuit board

Unread postby kubatyszko » Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:36 pm

Cheap v12's ? :-)

The key point is that a board would have to add value over the installed components with enough margin.
So ram modules or CPU boards (unless different than the rest) won't give you enough of that.
Would need to be more complex circuitry with many cheap components rather than few expensive ones.
Maybe some add- on card extending functionality of whatever by significant enough factor to attract market, you probably don't want to make iPads :-)
Or maybe some arduinos or arduino-addons Or even sth raspberry-pi like (but here the key component is the soc itself not much margin), there seems to be a lot of market in tiny computers.
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Re: Hypothetical - any circuit board

Unread postby hamei » Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:26 pm

PymbleSoftware wrote:Min production runs are quite large so it would want to be something you could sell a lot of.

There's the problem. May as well forget about competing in the "large production run" end of things. People with vast amounts of money are already doing that. Smart people. The investment is huge and it's still a race to the bottom. What's the point of going there ?

Now, if you had a method that could do low volumes with no setup costs and quick turnover as cheaply as Samsung does large volumes, then you'd have something.

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Re: Hypothetical - any circuit board

Unread postby R-ten-K » Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:33 pm

Easy, make hula hoop shaped circuit boards. You know, for the kids.
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Re: Hypothetical - any circuit board

Unread postby [[C|-|E]] » Wed Feb 22, 2012 7:44 am

I would probably make very good audio amplifiers and then I would sell them at half of the price of the normal ones :D.
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Re: Hypothetical - any circuit board

Unread postby GL1zdA » Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:13 pm

R-ten-K wrote:Easy, make hula hoop shaped circuit boards. You know, for the kids.

Probably to dangerous... Parents nowadays are a bit oversensitive about toys. http://abcnews.go.com/WN/story?id=3969447
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Re: Hypothetical - any circuit board

Unread postby skywriter » Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:35 pm

well, judging from the thinly veiled sarcasm, and the mention of VC's, i would guess it was something stupid. devilishly clever! yeah, that's it!
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Re: Hypothetical - any circuit board

Unread postby Dr. Dave » Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:33 pm

What do you want to know?

Lately I've been cranking out PCB's for things it seems like about one every 3 weeks or so, straight to machine assembly. Depending on complexity, the money is in the setup fees and not so much in the actual running of the line. For instance, the solder paste masks can be expensive, but are necessary for running a run. From an assembly standpoint, double-sided is pretty much the same as multi-layer, so it pays to put as much cleverness into the PCB as possible. Also, if you have the ability to create gerbers from source files, often you can export enough data on the board that the people programming the pick-and-place machine can use that to generate the programming for the board assembly.

Having said that, if it's a one-off, or small run, it may be just as cost effective to go to an assembly shop and have them manually pick-and-place the board, however a solder paste mask is usually still required. If you're really adventurous, Sparkfun sells a reflow controller that can be used with a toaster oven for sticking down SMT, but without a solder-paste mask it usually ends up messy enough that it needs cleanup. For the real deal, the amount of solder paste laid down on the board is pretty critical to the cleanliness of the final assembly.

And you can get quality out of China, you just have to pay for it - however at that point unless you're running bazillions, it's often just as cheap to have it done domestically. It's been my experience that you often get odd questions out of the Chinese manufacturers regarding stuff that you have to figure out - they are very risk adverse and will happily make something wrong because that's what you said you wanted it.

There are also companies around that will do both the PCB's and assembly, for prototype runs, for a fee. The trick is following their data requirements, and often chosing from a list of 'stock' components for the jellybean parts.
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