Creating Final Electronic Assemblies

With the MacroFab Platform, you can define Final Electronic Assemblies interactively.  A final electronic assembly consists of at least one PCB and one or more other items. Typically, this is referred to as a build-box activity, as the final assembly typically includes an enclosure (box).

A final electronic assembly requires two products — one PCB-only Product and one Final Assembly Product, due to how the MacroFab internal systems process orders as programming and testing PCB is a different process from build-box assembly.

Step 1: Create a PCB-Only Product

To properly define your final assembly product, you will first need to create a PCB-only product.  Follow the instructions in Building PCBs as a Stand-Alone Product to do this.  Specify any PCB programming and pre-assembly validation instructions in this product.

Step 2: Create a New Product for the Final Assembly

Click on Products in the top navigation bar to access the Product Management page.  Click on the large green Create New Productbutton to enter the new product creation screen.

At this screen, you will be prompted to enter some details about your Product, including a unique name, SKU, weight, and dimensions.



Once you have entered these values, you will be able to save the product definition and start entering the components of the product.


SKUs need to be meaningful. A SKU is a Stock Keeping Unit, a unique identifier for your product that will be used in numerous places, but especially in inventory.  Every product we build into inventory will labeled and barcoded with this SKU.  Each version of a product should have a unique SKU.  For example, if you have two versions of a PCB product, and your company is Bob’s Computers, your SKUs might be: BC-GREATPCB-01 and BC-GREATPCB-02, allowing immediate identification of the exact product.


What about Insured Value? Insured Value is a default value we use for insuring your inventory while it’s stored with us.  It’s safe to choose a price that our system quotes you for a mid-volume run. Note that we record the actual per unit cost of your devices when building to inventory based on the order.  This means that if you have us build 50 units at $500, we will record a $10/unit price for the inventory that moves in when the order is complete, and if you later build 100 units at $750, we will record a $7.50/unit price when that order is completed.  This information will be visible in your inventory view.  Sale Price is the price you typically sell one unit for, which we use on customs forms when creating Fulfillment requests.

Step 3: Add Items to the Product

At this point, we need to add the inventory items that will go into the final assembly.  In addition to the PCB Product we’ve already defined, we’ll also need to add any screws, wires, enclosure, etc. that make up the final assembly.

On the Bill of Materials Tab below the Product Information, use the Add Inventory control to add items to the Product.  For existing Inventory Items or Products, select them from the drop-down list and provide a quantity to use.  To create new Inventory Items and add them to the Product, use the create new inventory link to define the item attributes and then specify the quantity to add.

SKUs Cannot be Duplicated Adding a Product both creates a product and a trackable inventory item with that SKU.  If you already have an item in inventory with that SKU, you will not be able to create the Product.  So, if you want to create and add a Product to be included in this Final Assembly Product, create that Product separately before attempting to add it to the Final Assembly Product.


Make sure that you include the correct count for items that are used more than once, such as screws, etc.  Include any final packaging for the product in the list of items to be included as well.

Step 4: Provide Assembly Instructions

Use the Assembly Instructions tab to provide the assembly instructions.  Pictures are worth a thousand words, and essential to the correct assembly of your product.  You should always include photos of your device with call-outs where the specific step indicates the activity.

Step 5: Provide Post-Assembly Validation Steps

Invariably, a device will need to be tested after final assembly.  This ensure that not only that the assembly steps were followed correctly, but also that the device continues to operate as expected after final assembly.  This step should not be skipped.

Be Explicit Don’t assume that assembly technicians know anything about your product.  Avoid phrases like “ensure proper functioning,” and instead give a simple set of boolean yes/no questions.  An example of a good instruction is “1; Turn power on using black power switch to the lower right. 2; ensure top right LED labeled ‘PWR’ lights up red.” a bad example of the same instruction is “Turn power on and make sure LED lights up.”