Who does everybody use to make their PCBs

Here in Malaysia I have used Xintronics for several boards, no problems.
Slightly more expensive than China, but no lottery with customs

@Colinbenton Thanks for the info. That is something else I want to know more about, stencils. I have never made a PCB yet that required a stencil, but have plans on one. The issue is all the proper stencil jogs seem we over the money for somebody like me who works out of his shed! Can you and anybody else please tell me if you use stencils and how you use them. I have heard some stick old PCBs to a desk as a support then use sticky tape on the stencil to hold it down. Sadly I can’t see how this would be very accurate for some of the ICs that I am going to want to try out in a design.
Can people please upload their photos showing how you do it or what you have made/bought for stencils. If you can’t or don’t want to publish, PM me and I will gladly let you know my email so you can send direct to me. I realy want to work with them, but seems so daunting.


I used this method for a 20x10 board where I had a stencil, but no jig to fit it it all into for alignment:


To find out if you like it or not it’s good enough.
An old credit card works as a make-shift scraper if you don’t have one.
Better is something of the same material that the stencil is… stainless steel sheet in cc size as the edge is sharper and gives better results.

Just remember to scrape under a 45 deg angle to the pads, to get them filled easily without air-gaps.
Might need several passes and there is no problem to do several, just don’t lift the stencil in between and make sure the surface you do this on is flat and stable to not have anything move. The tape you see in the picture hold everything pretty stable and keeps alignment of the stencil to the board well enough for 10 or so boards.

Paste I used the one that you can find all over ebay/aliexpress. Not the best, but does the job for prototypes.

Smallest pitch was 0.5 on this and worked pretty well.

PS: I didn’t use kapton stencils yet, nor do I intend to, seem a bit flimsy… YMMV though.

Well. When I need a stencil yesterday, I used a thick film for laser printers. But I have a manual stencil printer so I can stretch it to be more rigid.


I use SEED Studio.

I have had five double sided boards manufactured by them and they have been excellent.


Hi Alan, Stencil is used for assembly, I may need do some simple assembly work, then stencil is used .

We bought stencils with Gerber files, dear , Gerber files is ok.
Once you have paste files, you can go and buy stencils.

some stencil are standard finish ,some are polished finish, the polished ones seems better.

Hi there,

a tiny “shameful” plug here.
If you want a European service with no import customs surprises, you can also head over to https://go.aisler.net. We support KiCad import out-of-the-box, offer affordable prices and give you ENIG plated, 70µm trace-width, fully e-tested circuit boards produced in a high-quality fab that usually does automotive and medical industry series production.

EDIT I: Shipping is free for orders above 30 EUR.
EDIT II: Since I received some questions about tooling costs and so on: these are all included in the price. Just upload your project and you will see a price, this price includes everything.

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Hi @Libermentix
I created an account on your web site and was very impressed on how easy it was to upload my Gerber files and see all the info. The only thing I thought was odd was that it only allowed me to select bmultiple of 3 of my PCB rather than just but 10 like most other companies. Still doesn’t really matter was more something I am not used to. Your prices are more than from China, but I think everything China is cheaper (apart from Twinkys or good 'old Marmite).
I will keep my account with your company and will gladly place an order as soon as I need my order quickly rather than the 1 month order to delivery time I get from Elecrow in China.

Hi @Colinbenton,
I don’t suppose you can send me some photos of templates you use and how you use them? I am still needing help on how people use templates. I was hoping for them to be framed for the actual PCB so you simply drop the PCB into the frame and it is all pre-aligned so then spread your solder paste and hey presto it is done. Sadly though from what I read out in the internet, it isn’t that way at all and can be quite tricky.
The templates I am interested is the metal/steel ones and not the plastic type.


“ColinBenton” is just a spammer.

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Hi @AlanWooler,

thanks a lot for your feedback!
We do ship in batches of three. And true, we should probably communicate better why we do that ;-). Price-wise I think we should be comparable when you factor in that we offer ENIG out-of-the-box and have all of our circuit boards e-tested, so functionality is guaranteed. And yes, the waiting time should be shorter of course, but you mentioned that.

By the way: We also value supporting our users. so in case you have any questions feel free to send them in. With us support is not just a case, but a direct personal contact into our team!

Looking forward to your order or questions :wink:


One month!? We get some PCB’s from FirstPCB within 4 working days (TNT parcel).

Hi @keruseykaryu.
I tend to pay for the standard China Post hence it can take a month, but that is a month from point of order to delivery, not a month just for postage. I did use DHL with one company which did come a lot sooner, but it cost me an extra £8 in shipping then I got an invoice from DHL for an additional £5.50 in VAT and tax. It ended up the shipping and TAX cost more than the PCB did. I won’t be making that mistake again.
Luckily my needs are as long as it doesn’t take longer than a Month I don’t care. They are all for me and just me, so I have no customer deadlines.


I placed an order with Seeed in February 2014 for some pcbs of 50mm X 50mm.
If I had ordered 10 boards I would have had to pay extra for shipping, so I started experimenting a bit with their parameters.
20 boards was only slightly more expensive than 10 because of free shipping.
30 boards was exactly the same price as 20 Boards, so I ordered 30 boards for about USD25 total.
It took a few weeks for them to arrive, but I would not have been able to make boards of this quality myself (double sided, plated trhrough holes, with solder mask and silk screen).

I probably wouldn’t reccommend them for 0.4mm pitch bga stuff with micro vias etc, but I was amazed by the price/quality ratio.

Boards were routed out, so nice sqare edges.

Fill empty space on experimental pcb’s with pads makes it easy to make small mods such as adding a few transistors or other small components.

@Joan_Sparky thank you so much for the photo. I am sorry it took me this long to respond, but I never received notification that anybody posted a reply and only just checked now as I posted in another area.

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@rjg Hi, I have used SEEED Studio for 3 PCBs I think and was impressed. Sadly though on 2 of the orders 3 boards had smudged screen print which did annoy me. The rest of the boards were spot on though.

I use OSH Park both to have things sent to USA address and UK address. Same price, p&p is free. Never had a problem, yet, with UK cutoms. (The seem to intercept things generally more or less at random.)

No, not the cheapest. But reliable. Easy to do business with. (They accept .kicad_pcb files, and website is a model of smooth running.)

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Thanks Sheepdog, I might go check them out.


I’ve also taken to using OSH Park. Especially when designing boards for projects with my maker group. I don’t have purchasing ability with them (I don’t hold one of the purchasing cards). So I design the board in KiCAD, upload the .kicad_pcb file, and then send the order link to our purchaser with the desired quantity. Since all the projects that I’ve done so far we’ve been targeting as OSHW, it isn’t a big deal that as soon as I generate a shared order link is can be publicly found on OSH Park’s website. YMMV

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