You’ve worked hard on your design and you’re ready to find a vendor that can build your prototype and help you iterate until your board is exactly what you need. Like many things in life, there’s an easy way and a hard way to go about PCB prototyping.
Let’s start with the hard way.
Legacy Approach to PCB Prototyping
The problem with how PCB prototyping has always been done is that the approach was not developed for modern designers. Low volume and prototyping orders went through the same complex, slow, and intimidating process as the one used for high-volume, mature products produced by enormous corporations. Just finding a vendor to do a prototype was a challenge, and even those who were willing were slow to create quotes, often unresponsive, and very expensive. These roadblocks have historically kept people with great ideas for electronics from actually seeing their visions come to life.
Although this approach still exists, I am happy to talk about it in the past tense, because now there is a better way. The easy way.
Rapid PCB Prototyping
A new breed of manufacturing service, called cloud manufacturing, has been created to serve the needs of today’s hardware designers. An online portal is used to connect designers with vendors in the United States who are happy to accept prototyping orders and work hard to keep prototyping costs low. Quotes happen just minutes after design documents and Bills of Materials are uploaded into the user-friendly interface. Prototypes can be delivered in a matter of days and all activity is tracked in the online portal. Ordering your prototype is just about as easy as ordering a pizza.
The Logical Next Step
Once you are happy with your PCB prototype and are ready to move into production, your cloud-manufacturing partner can service your order in any quantity from one to 10,000. What’s more, they are also equipped to manufacture finished electronic devices and even offer inventory management and fulfillment services.
The cloud has changed a lot about modern life, impacting our home, social, and work lives immensely. It is now revolutionizing PCB prototyping in a way that will benefit hardware designers, and ultimately, consumers of the useful and entertaining devices they create.
One stop shopping from prototype to customer delivery … that’s what we consider easy.