PCBs with PCBWay

A few weeks ago I had a custom PCBs to make for a design I did for a customer. The design was fairly simple as it was basically just integration of existing off-the-shelf module available on the market and based on a ESP32 module:

The schematic and PCB layout and routing was done using the free OpenSource KiCad software which is now my defacto software for this (used Eagle before but the free version is limited and I don't have the budget for the paid version).

When the design was completed I needed to have the PCB done. In the past I used different PCB manufacturer like DirtyPCB and OSHPark, but this time I decided to give PCBWay a try.

The most painful process of having a PCB made is to generate and package the gerber files. These are the files that the PCB manufacturer will use to etch the traces, drill the holes, put the silkscreen, mask and cut the outline of your PCB. PCBWay had a nice guide on how to perform this task for KiCad: https://www.pcbway.com/helpcenter/technical_support/Generate_Gerber_file_from_Kicad.html

Once the gerber zip file is generated it was a simple process to upload it to their site, select a few options like PCB colors, plating options and then checkout.

The above PCB which is 1.85" x 2.85" ended up costing me 20$USD shipping included for 10 PCBs. So only 2$USD per PCB.

I did not know what to expect from PCBWay as far as delivery time, but man it was fast. I placed the order on March 11th, they shipped on March 16th and I received the PCBs on Match 17th. That's fast ! Some online store that just have to pick up already made products from their shelfs are not that fast.

The PCBs (all 10 of them) were receives sealed in bubble wrap:

And looked exactly as per my design:

(sorry had to blur my customer logo)
After some electrical tests (like checking for VCC-GND shorts) I proceeded to assemble 3 units for my customer and 3 units for me as engineering units:

The units were assembled in 3D printed enclosure and shipped to my customer for testing:

So using PCBWay was a great experience and as of this writing will be I believe my go-to PCB shop. Give them a try !


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