Introduction to the MacroFab PCB Process

The MacroFab Platform makes it easy to quote turnkey PCB assemblies instantly and in real-time, without the need to email or call anyone. Our user interface provides all of the tools necessary to ensure correct PCB fabrication and assembly right in your web browser.

Getting Started

The first step in getting an instant quote is to upload all of the required design and manufacturing data for your project.  For some EDA software packages, we can automatically extract everything from your design files, and for others we can use a combination of design files and Gerber files, or ODB++ output.  For more information on the required design files, and uploading them to the MacroFab Platform, see the knowledge base article Required Design Files.

PCB Specifications and Verification

You can leave your PCB with standard specifications for the lowest possible price: our systems automatically group multiple orders together using standard features to eliminate minimum charges, and ensure the best possible cost for low-volume orders. However, if you have specific requirements, you can customize and tailor the PCBs to your needs in our interactive interface.  For more information on what customization options are available, see the knowledge base article Customizing PCB Options.

Our interactive PCB viewer makes it easy to look through the different layers of your PCB and verify that every feature has been correctly identified.  You can quickly and easily zoom in, out, move around, and turn layers on and off to ensure your board is right before it goes to the fab.  For more information on using the PCB viewer, see the knowledge base article Working with the PCB Viewer.

Selecting Parts and Managing Bill of Materials

The Bill of Materials management screen enables you to find the right components for your PCB, compare the costs and relative risk of different components, and see line-level quotes in materials and labor for each item. We can source components for you from Mouser, Digi-Key, or using our House Parts inventory, or you can consign materials at order or build from existing materials in your inventory.  For more information on managing your bill of materials, see the knowledge base article Managing Your PCB Bill of Materials.

Ensuring Correct Assembly

The MacroFab Platform works differently than traditional EMS companies.  Instead of charging high NRE fees to go through your data and verify component placement and rotation, our service eliminates those fees by requiring you to verify component rotation before submitting an order.  The information you provide flows directly to our machines and our manufacturing line, reducing costs to you and enabling you to verify how your boards will be assembled before anything gets built.  For more information on correcting placement and rotation information, see the knowledge base article Adjusting Part Rotation and Placement.

Building From Consignment or Inventory Materials

With MacroFab, you can easily build using market parts, House Parts, parts shipped at order time, or using materials you already have that have been stored in inventory at our warehouse.  At each order, you can quickly and easily determine where your materials are sourced from to control costs and ensure your materials are consumed in the manner that works best for you.  For more information on controlling where your components come from, see the knowledge base article Consigning in Materials at Order Time and Building from Inventory.