Build-Box Instructions Overview

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.

Once your PCB is set up and all of your materials are in your inventory, you can start building from your inventory. You’ll go through step-by-step instructions, and list times each step. Once you’re happy with the assembly instructions, an engineer will review your steps and timing estimates. They’ll leave comments or questions in the “comments” field. Once everything has been approved, you’ll receive a full quote for the labor. The instructions will be turned into a document that our assembly technicians use to build your product.

Getting Started

Writing out clear assembly instructions is important to ensure our assembly technicians properly build your products the same every time.

To get started, use the Assembly Instructions tab to provide the buildbox instructions. For each step of the buildbox, provide clear instructions for how to assemble the final product. We strongly advise including pictures for each step and wherever applicable. You will also specify the amount of time to complete each step.

The first time you visit Assembly Instructions, click the teal link to add some instructions.

add instructions



Step 1: Make Sure Your Product’s Required Items are in the Product’s BOM

Before you start writing your instructions, make sure all of the product’s materials are in your inventory.

For this example product, it consists of the PCB, rubber button membrane, enclosure, screws, thumb screws, and batteries.


all parts expanded top


Each item for the final product needs to be listed in your product’s Bill of Materials.

Step 2: Write Assembly Instructions

Once you’ve made sure your materials are in product’s BOM, you’re now ready to start writing out the assembly instructions.

Begin by typing over the Tell us about how we should execute this step of the build process. The text editor allows you to choose the formatting you want to use for writing out your steps. We recommend using consistent formatting across each step to make them easier to follow.

Creating a new step


Estimate Timing for a Step

Once you finish writing out the first, set the timing you expect this step to take. For this example, the first involves installing two AAA batteries into the PCB’s battery holder. This step is expected to take about 10 seconds.

When estimating timing, set up times or any other factors shouldn’t be considered. The only timing considered should be for how long it takes to complete that specific step.


step 1 complete


Including bold notes in a step are a good way to include important reference instructions for assembly technicians to follow.

Finalize Step with a Picture

A great way to finalize this step is to upload a good picture of what the product should look like at this stage.


Other Options for a Completed Step

Once the step is complete, click save. You have a few options with what to do with the step from here:

  • Minimize: this keeps this step compact and short. Great when your steps include large pictures or a lot of text.
  • Edit: Edit the step at any time. Be sure to save.
  • Add Step: You can add a step before or after the current step.


Adding Additional Steps

It’s good to break up the assembly instructions into as many concrete steps as possible. As a good indicator for creating a new step, is when you introduce a new inventory item into the product.

For Step #2, we’ll be inserting the rubber button membrane into the enclosure.

Manufacturing Part Numbers should be called out whenever introducing new inventory items using the SKU or Inventory Name. This ensures that our assembly technicians use the correct parts for the step. The SKU is used in this example for the rubber button membrane with PDS-MEMBRANE-1.



The final steps of this product

Using captions are helpful when you have multiple images in a single step.


Steps 4-6 walk through the final steps to complete the product.


step 5 wtih pic



A picture of the final product should be included in the last step, so our assembly technicians have a good visual of what a complete unit should look like.

Step 3: Review Comments and Finalize Quote

Once you’ve written your product’s required steps and time estimations, your product is now ready for review and feedback from a MacroFab engineer.