A month ago I wrote about the update for the crane controller board. There I talked about the advantages of „professional“ ordered PCBs over milled PCBs without solder mask. As I discussed, for me dirtyPCB wins in terms of price and quality in the context of a hobbyist/semi professional project. So I ordered my 100×100 mm protopack (~10 PCBs) boards there for 25$. I also added an extra 16$ for fast shipping with DHL China.
The great think after placing your order is, that you now can see a rendered version of your PCB design
And as soon as you see the first submitted file… you know you want to change or fix something. Even though you’ve seen your design in eagle, a rendered version will give you an significantly better impression of what the actual board will look like. In my case I added a lot of values for some components, little notes and markings to the silkscreen, to make it easier to assamble the board once it arrives. And sooner or later the order info for your boards may look like this.
But that’s the great think with dirtyPCB. They allow you to change and upload now versions of your board file until it gets sent to the board House. And in my case I uploaded 4 new versions of my file.
From this Order info you can see the timestamps as well. I submitted my board the first time on the 10th of april. Two days later dirtyPCB sent it to the board house. Another 7 days later it got back and was shipped to me. Or I think what really happens is, that the boards are given to the shipping company which then shipped my boards on the two days later. Overall it took 11 days from my .brd file till the PCBs where shipped. And thanks to DHL I received my boards on 23rd of April.
DirtyPCB claims that their boards are crappy, which is not true in most cases, I think. At first glance, my boards look good and except from a view scratches on one board there where no problems with them. But when I took a closer look while assembling the boards, I quickly noticed some strange changes that where made to my design. I used big octagon pads for the step down daughter boards and they where somehow rotated by 22 degree. Even weirder was that fact that the spacing around the pad was not rotated as you can see in the picture below.
The spacing between the pads and the ground layer isn’t to great now but as there aren’t any shirt circuits I’m not going to complain to much. I wrote Ian from diryPCB/dangerousPrototypes to inform them about the problem and hopefully they can find and fix the bug in there gerber export.
Nevertheless I was quite happy with the overall quality of the boards so I immediately started assembling the crane controller. I took a time-lapse video of the soldering and the first test of the board, which worked out great.
I hope you like the video and it’s not to boring. If you want to order this board form dirtyPCB you can use the link below.