Getting a prototype PCB is not a problem anymore . You can either make your own PCB prototype or simply buy one from reputable commercial manufacturers.
In electronics, a printed circuit board (PCB) or otherwise known as a printed wiring board (PWB), is used to make electronic devices. It is flat board where all electrical components are mounted and the where electrical connections between these components are found. To get your own prototype PCB, you can do any of the following:
Make your own PCB prototype
PCB prototypes may sound very complicated to assemble, but if you are keen enough to do it and you have the skills, it will never be a problem for you. There are tutorials all over the internet and in some reading materials on electronics where you can learn how to fabricate PCB prototypes. The common stages that involve the assembly of a PCB include: the adding of solder paste to areas of the board where components need to be soldered, the picking and placing of components on the board, the soldering of the components, the inspection of the board--especially the joints, and the testing of your PCB prototype.
Buy a prototype PCB
Ordering a prototype PCB from a PCB manufacturer usually proves to be a more practical way to get one. Many manufacturers allow you to buy smaller quantities of PCBs. You can even buy only one or two if you wish to do so. However, it always follows that the more prototypes you buy, the cheaper they will cost you. To get the right PCB prototype you need, you can consider doing the following:
* Determine the PCB prototype specifications you need. Before you go searching for PCB manufacturers, it is important that you decide on the details of the PCB prototype you want to get to make your search faster and easier. Determine the dimensions you need as well as other PCB specifications.
* Search for PCB prototype manufacturers. Now that you have decided on the details, it’s time to start looking for PCB prototype manufacturers. You can search through the Internet or ask your friends for recommendations. If you have a list of manufacturers, who can probably make your PCB prototype, do not hesitate to contact all people in your list and make comparisons afterward with regards to prices and other important factors. You can always read customer reviews online and ask the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for information about certain complaints to end up with the best manufacturer. Even if you are just ordering one or two PCB prototypes, it does not mean you can just pick any manufacturer you want. It is important that the manufacturer you choose has a good reputation for making quality PCB prototypes to make sure you are getting the best of what you are paying for. They must also have good customer service in order to hasten the whole process of ordering, delivering, and even handling your complaints, if any should arise.
* Place your order and finalize the details. After you have chosen your manufacturer, place your order and finalize all the details, including your order quantity, some special instructions, and the type of files you will be sending them. You need to make sure the files you send are the exact ones you need and are compatible with their system. Remember to make all things clear before the manufacturer starts working on your PCB prototype or you will end up ordering another one from them.
* Clarify the payment scheme. Before you actually place your order, you should be informed of the payment arrangements. If the manufacturer fails to tell you, be the one to inquire about it. Most manufacturers require an initial deposit before they will begin working on your PCB prototype and the balance is to be paid upon delivery of the product.
When deciding whether you should assemble your own PCB prototype or order from a manufacturer, always think of your capabilities. Do you have the time and skills to do it? Are you patient and keen enough to successfully make your own PCB prototype? If the answers are no, then maybe you should just order one from a reliable manufacturer.