Taking Design from Prototype to Manufacturing


#1

I was just wondering if there was a clear path to take a prototype design from a dev board and take it through to production?

I don’t have experience with this process myself, but my friend started a company called EmbeddedMicro when he was in high school. I think it really took off when he designed some boards and manufactured them, managing the entire process from his dorm room. I remember he started off with the Autodesk Eagle PCB design tool, then sent the design files to a manufacturer who assembled the board. He then built a web site to sell the boards. The last time I spoke to him, he was making fairly good money while he was an undergraduate.

I think we should talk to a few Renesas customers that have produced products in small quantities and collect this information:

  • PCB design tools (like Autodesk Eagle)
  • board manufacturing options (in US and overseas)
  • case manufacturing options (plastic thing around board and power source)
  • storefront and selling the product (like kickstarter or eCommerce platforms like Spree Commerce, Reaction Commerce, Magento. Payment gateway like Stripe)

#2

One way to get started is to use the S3 design files and modify it. Here’s the schematics. I’m trying to check if the actual design files are available.


#3

As I wait for information on the design files, I did some research on PCB manufacturing options.

What I don’t understand right now is how I can get the surface mount components soldered onto the PCB. I’m assuming that most people don’t want to do this themselves, depending on the number of components. Though, I guess it’s possible if you have a good soldering iron system and experience. I guess I was expecting that I would send the components to the same place I was sending the PCB design files and they would solder it on.

Anyone do this before?

The S3A7 IoT Fast Protyping board does have some pass-through pins on the board under the LCD, so it would be a good starting point to strip out the unneeded peripherals and reduce the size of the board, possibly to about 1/3 of the size it is now. I don’t know how I would solder the S3 surface mount chip onto the board. I personally don’t have the skills to do it at my house.


#4

Got this on the official RenesasRulz forum. It looks like there’s a way to get the design files.

garyj
23 Jan 2017 17:09

Please contact the Renesas America Electronics (REA) cloud marketing for access to the design files.
The design was done in Altium and check with the marketing group for availability.


#5

Here’s more detailed directions on taking your prototype to a small production run of 5 units.

http://learn.iotcommunity.io/t/s3a7-schematics-bom-and-pcb-layout-files/438?source_topic_id=415

#6

I don’t have experience with this company, but saw them on Hackster.io

https://www.seeedstudio.com/fusion_pcb.html

Fusion offers one stop prototyping service for PCB’s (printed circuit board), PCBA (PCB Assembly)and other electronic and mechanical customized services(like CNC milling, 3D printing, PCB layout designing). Seeed Fusion promises mature PCB manufacturing and fabrication with low cost,quick build time,100% quality guaranteed for our service. We’re trusted by millions of electronic engineers, hobbyist and makers as single, double & multilayer printed circuit board manufacturer from China.

If anyone has experience with them, please list feedback.


#7

I’ve used Seeed Fusion service a few times in the past. They are especially good if you need several of the same board as they send 10 copies at very low price. The boards are very nice quality. I live in the UK and got the boards about a week after placing my order. If you need fast shipping you can go with DHL but is a bit more expensive.


#8

@Serdnleb, thanks for this info. I’ve never done this before, and I’d like to know a little more about it. What’s the interaction like? Do you send your design files as a first step? Do they do some sort of assessment that the design is viable? Any details on the process would be appreciated. Also, do you mind discussing prices? Even rough is fine, just trying to scope it out some.


#9

@jcasman Seeedstudio requires a zip file of Gerber, when you are ready to order PCB, access to their order page https://www.seeedstudio.com/fusion_pcb.html, upload your gerber file, select the PCB parameters,and then enter your shipping details, provide payment.

Yes, they offer DFM service free. On one occasion I had made a mistake, top layer was somehow empty, they contacted me asking if this was intentional or not.
BTW, highly recommend Seeed Fusion Design for Manufacture guide for beginner http://statics3.seeedstudio.com/fusion/ebook/V1.1%20Final%20DFM.pdf

My latest order from Seeed, to manufacture 10 pieces of 2−layer white PCB boards cost $4.9USD in total. This will cost $27USD in total to manufacture and ship to UK through DHL within 11 days.

I hope this will help :smile:


#10

@Serdnleb This is exactly was I was looking for. Thank you. Especially really appreciate you pointing out the Seeed Fusion Design for Manufacture guide for beginners. Very useful.

That price ($27USD total including shipping to the UK) for 10 pieces of 2-layer white PCB boards seems very good. Have you used other services? Any others that you would suggest?