Re: Eagle CAD design and fabrication of C64 & Plus4 cartridges

From: Jim Brain <>
Date: Mon, 11 Feb 2013 12:13:29 -0600
Message-ID: <>
On 2/11/2013 9:57 AM, Rob Clarke wrote:
> I just assumed that postage would be a factor but I guess it depends 
> on charges. Again, having no experience of this I have no idea what 
> the minimum order sizes are likely to be, but I hoped they would be <= 
> 10 boards. 
It's been my experience that, unless you are OK with 1 or 2 boards, 
you're not going to get a PCB design for less than $100.00.  The good 
news is, for that $100.00 (or equivalent in local currency), you can 
usually do a production run and get 20-100 boards.

The exception, if you have the time, might be "".  They 
gather designs from hobbyists around the world, do a run every so often, 
and ship the resulting boards out.  But, the rub is the wait until the 
"hopper" tips and the run is scheduled.

A cart-sized board will cost ~$1.00 to produce, and there is typically a 
$50.00 tooling charge.  Shipping is ~$30.00 for <50 boards of that size, 
anywhere in the world, might be cheaper.  So, 20 boards would be 
~100.00USD, give or take.

My point:  By all means check out and price the 1-2-3 board prototype 
places.  But, don't discount just running your prototype as a 
"production" run.  The prototype houses typically restrict drill sizes, 
routing options, via widths, plating options, and color options.  
Production houses relax or eliminate many of these restrictions.

Another tip:  If you have a set of boards you want in equal quantities, 
grab a tool called GerbMerge and merge your designs into 1 big design 
and ask for V-cut routing to create "snap edges" for the individual 
designs.  The house will typically charge $10.00 for the V cut, but it's 
cheaper than the $50.00USD tooling charge per design.  This also helps 
with special plating options.  Gold Immersion (which is what I use on 
all cart designs) is USD$30.00, but it's a flat charge for any design up 
to a specific size.  So, by merging designs, you can further cut down on 

On design, most prototype houses like 1mil traces or larger, and 12mil 
is often their smallest drill.  Plan accordingly when doing vias and traces.


Jim Brain

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Received on 2013-02-11 19:00:35

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