I recently tried out PCBWay for my ESP8266 home automation PCB, here is a detailed review.
The PCBWay website is very well designed, so the order process was simple and straightforward. PCBWay manually reviews every PCB to check for design and layout errors before you pay, and the review is generally super fast and is completed in a few minutes. The website allows you to track the progress of your board as it moves along the assembly line in detail, which can be very convenient for large orders.
Prototype PCBs start at $5 for 10 pieces FR4, double layer boards. You get the following customization options (more options are available for extra charges):
- Thickness: 0.8, 1.0, 1.2 or 1.6 mm
- Solder Mask: Green, Blue, Red, Black, White or Yellow (Purple, Matte Black and Matte Green colours are also available for an extra charge)
- Silkscreen: Black or White
The build time is 24 hours for green solder mask boards and 3-4 days for others. However, my black coloured board was manufactured and shipped in just 2 days.
Assembly services start at $30 for up to 20 pieces.
Considering the build time and customization options, the prices are very competitive.
Packaging and Shipping
The packaging was very nice, the PCBs themselves came in a vacuum-sealed bag. Shipping to India via FedEx, which was the cheapest option (cheaper options are there but weren't available due to the lockdown), took 7 days including customs clearance, and I received the boards on 30th May 2020.
- 21 May 2020: Order Placed
- 21 May 2020: Manufacturing Started
- 23 May 2020: Boards Shipped
- 30 May 2020: Boards Delivered
The build quality was excellent and PCBs looked very professional. The solder mask was bright, silkscreen alignment was good, the board outline was neat and smooth and the holes were neatly drilled and properly centred.
A small order number was added by PCBWay on the PCB's silkscreen to identify it during the assembly process, but it was placed in the best place possible and did not interfere with the board design or aesthetics in any way.
PCBWay checks every single board before shipping and the quality control is very good.
My Suggestions for PCBWay
- The online gerber viewer and board preview do not work properly at times and render the board incompletely, suggest you to correct that.
All in all, PCBWay is an excellent choice for hobbyists as well as professionals. I recommend that you give it a try. I'd appreciate if you use my invite link and get $5 discount on your first order!
I'll be posting the whole tutorial and code for my home automation project using this PCB soon, stay tuned!