Do they build the board?


I’ve seen countless video about people making their boards with JLCPCB,PCBWay…

since I live in europe and wanted to give it a try, I uploaded my Kicad project to and picked the parts

but do they even build the board ? it looks like they are charging for the solder of components (like 75€ job fee or something)

I thought it was usualy part of the deal, like you get a fully soldered board

I am really new to this so I am a bit lost

thanks for en lighting my path

PCB manufacturers produce PCBs. That is, a fibreglass sheet with conducting tracks on each side and appropriate holes where needed. It’s like any other component, except it’s customized.

Assembly and test is a completely different thing. Some PCB manufacturers offer it, but it’s certainly not free.

I saw a video where the had a huge pcb canvas with lot of different projects and machines placing components and as long as they were standard component, costs were cheap

maybe I mixed that with the 2$ only pcb hype that was running on youtube for a while

I just need a small board (less than the size of RPI zero) I can’t afford such prices

The only $2USD deals that I remember hearing about was for one specific board manufacturer (JLCPCB) and AFAIK only for the bare board. Aisler is not JLCPCB. Aisler says “Manufacturing made in Europe” on their website and JLCPCB is a Chinese manufacturing company.

I’m unfamiliar with the assembly costs and procedures for the various different manufacturers/assembly houses so I can’t comment on their prices. Other than to guess with high confidence that each company has a different pricing structure.

JLCPCB are about $2 for 5 PCB’s. Pcbway are about the same. Maybe a little more expensive.

JLCPCB also offer an additional assembly service where you can only use the parts they have. They will charge you a setup fee and part placement free, and of course charge you for the parts. They will also charge extra if the components you use are not part of their basic components and they have to add these to the pick and place machine.

These parts are then place on your board using the pick and place machine and then soldered.

This is not part of the normal PCB service. Its a extra cost.

PCB manufacturing (PCB) and PCB assembly (PCBA) are separate capabilities. The latter costs extra on top of the former, can be quite a substantial amount. Not only do you pay for the parts but you also pay for the assembly service. And there is quite a lot of detail you have to get right in the files submitted.

People usually start by ordering just PCBs and doing their own assembly. There are a lot of $2 and up deals from Chinese factories, and the shipping costs more than the board. They can offer such low prices because they fit your job into what would be the wasted margins of other larger jobs, hence the usual restriction to 100x100 mm and quantisation to a multiple of 5 boards. Naturally they will promote their assembly service because that’s a more lucrative service.

You can find a cost comparison tool at It will also factor in the shipping cost.

Often the cost to have a component placed on the board will exceed the cost of the component itself.

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