Knowledge Base

The following articles provide detailed information on using the MacroFab Platform

PCB Specifications and Assembly Capabilities

This article provides complete details on our PCB specifications, assembly capabilities, and IPC class specification for work done by MacroFab.

House Parts

At MacroFab, we carry a large selection of components in stock and ready to be used in your projects. Our machines are pre-trained to optimally place these parts, and we keep them loaded on reels or in trays ready to be quickly changed into machine assembly. For this reason, we waive all labor charges for any component that is a House Part, saving you money while saving us time. We purchase our House Parts in large volume and keep them in-stock at all times.

Creating, Managing, and Ordering PCBs

The MacroFab Platform enables you to create and order PCBs through an entirely self-service process, with real-time quoting. These articles walk you through each aspect of the process from uploading your design files to completing an order.

Introduction to the MacroFab PCB Process

Creating and ordering turnkey assembled PCBs with the MacroFab platform is a self-service process, without the need to call or email anyone to get a real-time, ready-to-order customized quote.  In this article, we provide an overview of how you'll create and order PCBs through MacroFab.

Required Design Files

To facilitate our automated manufacturing process, we need complete information about your project, including PCB design files, bill of materials, and placement data for all components. For many EDA tools, we can extract this data automatically from the native files. If you're using an unsupported tool, want to create your data manually, or just want more information on how we handle the data for your project, this article covers all of the data you need to provide.

Creating PCB Projects with Eagle

With PCBs created using Eagle CAD, the MacroFab platform can automatically populate your PCB information from Eagle files, or you can use our ULP to generate Gerber files and raw data to upload manually.  This article walks through getting your Eagle designs into the MacroFab platform quickly and easily.

Creating PCB Projects with KiCad

With PCBs created using KiCad, the MacroFab platform can automatically extract placement and bill of materials data from KiCad files.  This article covers getting your KiCad designs into the MacroFab platform quickly and easily.

Creating PCB Projects with Diptrace

For PCBs created using Diptrace, the MacroFab platform can automatically extract placement and Bill of Materials data from Diptrace files.  This article walks through getting your Diptrace designs into the MacroFab platform quickly and easily.

Creating PCB Projects with Altium

For PCBs created using Altium, MacroFab can automatically extract all manufacturing data from the ODB++ export data from Altium.  This article walks through getting your Altium designs into the MacroFab platform quickly and easily using ODB++.

Creating PCB Projects with PADS

With PCBs created using PADS, the MacroFab platform can automatically extract all manufacturing data from the ODB++ export data from PADS.  This article walks through getting your PADS designs into the MacroFab platform quickly and easily using ODB++.

Customizing PCB Options

You can choose to either use standard PCB manufacturing specifications and be batched with other orders for a lower price, or choose to customize your PCB requirements.  This article guides you through the PCB customization process.

Working with the PCB Viewer

The PCB Viewer allows you to review your Gerber files for correct alignment and check for mistakes before the order is processed.

Managing Your PCB Bill of Materials

The PCB Bill of Materials view allows you to manage the list of components to be placed on your PCB during assembly, while also detailing costs and any potential issues all in one place. This article covers the features and capabilities of the PCB Bill of Materials management tab.

The Parts Placement Screen

To ensure that your PCBs are manufactured as expected, we ask you to visually verify parts placement data.  This article guides you through the process of using the parts placement screen.

Cropping PCB Elements

To insure that elements from different orders/PCBs do not interfere with each other during our manufacturing process, we may automatically crop elements from a PCB which lie outside of the board outline.  This article covers what issues may potentially occur with cropping, and how to resolve them.

Consigning Materials at Order Time and Building from Inventory

The MacroFab Platform enables you to easily consign materials in for PCB assembly, or to ship materials to us ahead of time and use them in one or more PCB production orders. This article guides you through the process of consigning in materials and building from inventory.

Using and Managing Products

Products are a core concept in the MacroFab Platform that enable you to fulfill orders to your customers, define complex assemblies, and perform tests and validation of devices before they leave the factory floor.  In these articles, we cover the key topics to understand about Products, while outlining strategies for dealing with direct-to-customer and direct-to-inventory production.

Introduction to Products

The MacroFab Platform goes beyond simple PCB assemblies with the concept of Products. Products let you go beyond simple PCB assemblies, allowing you to combine PCBs with other components to make a final, customer-ready product. You can specify instructions for programming, testing, and build-box assembly, get quotes for building products, plan out what large volume runs may cost and more. This article introduces the product concepts and explains how all of the pieces fit together.

Creating a New Product

In this article, we cover the basics of creating a new product in the MacroFab Platform.

Building PCBs as a Stand-Alone Product

If your final product is an assembled PCB alone, without an enclosure or other items added to it, this guide will walk you through the steps necessary to define the product, link it to a PCB, and build into inventory.

Creating Complex Products

Complex products consist of a PCB and other materials to form a customer-ready product.  These articles cover key complex product concepts, including how to define a product with a PCB and other elements, create varying packages of different products, or kit pre-made items together into one final product.

Programming and Testing PCB Products

The programming and testing of PCB assemblies is essential for any electronics product. Before you can ship a PCB-based product to a customer, you'll want to verify that all components function as expected.  This article covers how to specify the programming and testing procedures for a PCB-based product, utilizing programming jigs, and more.

Build-Box Instructions for Complex Products

With the MacroFab platform, you can interactively define the entire build and validation procedure for complex products, get quotes for final assembly, and place orders right in your browser.  This article walks through the process of defining build-box instructions and best practices for stress-free assembly.    

Understanding Harmonized Tariff Codes

Before you can send products to international customers, you'll need to define the harmonized tariff codes that will be used on the customs forms for your shipments.  This article explains what harmonized tariff codes are, why you need them, and how to find the codes for your products.

Using and Managing Inventory

With MacroFab, you have the ability to ship in and store inventory with us. You can build Products into Inventory, fulfill orders from Inventory, build PCBs and Products using materials in your inventory and more.  These articles walk you through the core Inventory concepts of the MacroFab Platform.

Creating New Inventory Items

When you need to build a new product, you'll most likely need some items that aren't PCBs assembled by MacroFab.  This article discusses the different ways inventory items are created.

Shipping in Items to Store in Your Inventory

When you're building complex products, shipping out extras to backers, or if you already have some components on-hand that you'll need us to use when building PCBs later, you'll need to get that inventory to us.  This article covers creating Inbound Shipments to MacroFab so that we may quickly and easily get them into your inventory.

The Difference Between Products and Other Inventory Items

While creating products creates new inventory items, you can also create inventory items that are not products.  This article discusses the differences between basic inventory items, and product inventory items and how to effectively manage them.

Fulfilling Orders

MacroFab makes it easy to build Products and PCBs into Inventory, and then Fulfill that inventory to your customers on-demand.  These articles guide you through using the Fulfillment features of the MacroFab platform to quickly and easily get your products into customers' hands.

Creating New Fulfillment Requests

With the fulfillment capabilities of the MacroFab Platform, you can ship products stored with us to your customers quickly and easily.  This article covers creating fulfillment requests manually using the MacroFab interface.

Importing Multiple Fulfillment Requests Using a Spreadsheet

Creating fulfillment requests manually can be a pain when you have dozens, or hundreds of customer orders to fulfill.  In this article, we'll cover how to upload many requests at once using a spreadsheet, along with a spreadsheet template to start out with.

Fulfilling Orders with Lithium Ion Batteries

In April of 2016, IATA issued new guidance on air shipments containing lithium ion batteries. MacroFab has a dangerous goods shipping contract in place with UPS and is pre-approved to ship lithium ion batteries via air freight for our customers.  This article outlines the requirements for shipping in lithium ion batteries for fulfillment, and labeling requirements for all incoming shipments of lithium ion batteries.

Fulfillment Costs

This article describes MacroFab's fulfillment fees, what we charge for, and how our charges are based to help you estimate the costs of fulfillment.

User Settings

You can customize several things in your user settings control panel on the MacroFab Platform.  From managing what kind of alerts you receive to creating API keys, these articles cover everything you'll need to get your account set up just the way you want it.

Managing Notification Rules

The MacroFab Platform can send notifications at numerous points during the building of your products.  You can control how granular the alerts you receive are, and who receives them.  This article walks you through the different notification rules and how to configure them.

Creating and Managing API Keys

API Keys let you access the MacroFab Manufacturing API.  In this article, we'll cover how to create, remove, and use API keys.

Conflict Minerals

Generally speaking, as we assemble with the components you specify, Conflict Mineral Statements should be provided by the original manufacturer of the components you utilize.  However, for our House Parts, PCBs, and solder used in process, we provide the Conflict Mineral Statements here.