Cheap PCBs
Beautiful black PCBs from factory

Beautiful black PCBs from factory

ITead Studio and Seeed Studio are selling PCBs at so ridiculously low price that I just have to make new projects. I just got my PCBs. I panelized six PCBs on one 5x5cm ITead order and Cmc demanded pictures, so here they are. I went with black board with tented vias, just to see how awesome they would look. And awesome they are. The designs on the board are: the latest Kobold, tinyDino, three boards for Golem, my Robotex robot, and a RF board for Matis.

Cut the PCB with knife a couple of times

Cut the PCB with knife a couple of times

After breaking the border is a bit rough, try to align the cuts next time

After breaking the border is a bit rough, try to align the cuts next time

At first I used dremel to cut the boards apart, but them Cmc told me to try to cut PCB with knife. Sound crazy enough to work. And after a little practice, it did work. It does require to cut several times from both sides, but it is order of magnitude cleaner and easier method than a dremel.

So, because my new design - Half Ohm, seemed ready enough, I ordered new PCBs. I used gerbmerge to panellize, because the Half Ohm is designed in KiCad and the other design I share board with - in EagleCad. After a small fight with conf files my gerbers were merged.

Design after merging with gerbmerge

Design after merging with gerbmerge

And going to SMD really takes down the holecount on boards. Normal THT boards require 1 hole per leg. My last design has 74x 0.4mm vias for signal, while it has 100 component pads (not counting passives), also interesting is that I put 100 GND vias on 10x10cm board, that sounds much but one via per square centimeter isn't much at all, especially for medium power designs.

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