SeeedStudio.com Fusion – New PCB Services from popular DIY and prototyping company

https://www.seeedstudio.com/fusion_pcb.html

I discovered SeeedStudio some time ago, since the company is pretty active in the internet (facebook, own wiki, some projects on github). Last month they introduced PCB manufacturing services, called „SeeedStudio Fusion Services”

I decided to give it a try, because the website looked pretty neat and modern. They also provided (see below) a little bit better specs than the others.

During the process of placing the order I noticed lot’s of extra parameters, that no other pcb manufacturer provided – more surface finish options, lots of layers configurations (2 – 16), multiple materials (aluminium, fpc). This was also the first Chinese website that offered immersion tin and immersion silver.

This was also the first time I saw some parameters for the PCB stencil: fiducial mark, thickness and polishing options.

I also downloaded their dru filer (Design Rules for CADSOFT Eagle) and compared them with those provided from other fabs. Main differences:

  • 6 mil (not 7) between vias / pads / traces (better)
  • 10 mil (not 20) between copper and board border (also better)

Smaller clearances are also available (with extra charge).

The only thing I really missed was the small stencil. The smallest option (28cm x 38cm) was far too large for standard home usage. But I decided to give it a try.

My order

A usual I needed a kit of PCBs + Steancil done.

  • PCBs:
    • Material: FR4 TF130 (standard)
    • 2 Layers
    • 10cm x 10cm
    • 10pcs
    • 1.6mm thick
    • Green
    • HASL
    • 1oz/ft^2 (35um) copper
    • 0.3mm hole size
    • 6/6mil spacing
    • no blind vias
    • no half-cut
    • no impedance control
  • Stencil:
    • The smallest possible 28cm * 38cm
    • 0.15mm thick
    • standard polishing

Price & Shipping options

Board

The standard, most popular parameters (as above) for PCB fits in the lowest price: $9.90 for 10pcs. This is pretty unusual, because I’ve never seen any offer below $10.

The smallest stencil (as above) is $19.90.

Shipping

Shipping options and prices varies for orders with and without stencil. Because of „volumetric weight”, only one shipping option is available if ordering with stencil.

For orders without stencil:

For orders with stencil:

(the flash symbols informs about active discount)

Total

The absolute lowest price to receive 10 boards is $9.90 + $5.06 = $14.96. Fantastic.

However, if thinking of ordering with stencil, the shipping price (most likely caused by no small stencil option) kills it all. PCBs + Stencil + Shipping = $9.90 + $19.90 + $50.00 = $79.80

But in the end I decided to get the whole set (with stencil), shipped by DHL.

Processing time

  • 26.12.2016 – Order placed
  • 28.12.2016 – In production
  • There were no specific status updates between those dates.
  • 06.01.17 – Sent
  • 11.01.17 – Delivered. 6th, 7th and 8th were non working days, I also had to send some data to customs office between 9th and 10th. The package would have been delivered on 7th/8th if there were no customs delay.

To sum up – 10 calendar days between ordering and shipping, pretty good.

What I received

When I saw the package for the first time, I was like „Oh my God”. It was probably bigger, than all my previous orders from all other manufacturers combined:

(apple for scale)

The package was 45cm x 38cm.

Definitely, apart from being the biggest, it was definitely the best packed and protected against damage.

The boards were wrapped with bubble wrap and additional bubble envelope. The stencil was put between two sheets of rigid cardboard.

 

Boards were equipped with silica gel.

Some other photos

Conclusion

Pros:

  • Excellent price for PCBs with shipping (most likely lowest on the market)
  • Lower clearance requirements than in any other fab
  • Very well packaged
  • Extremely precise (soldermask / silkscreen fits ideally)
  • No flaws (assembled and tested 7 of 10 boards)

Cons:

My one and only problem refers to the stencil. Because of small sizes, I have to keep it aside from the others. It also causes the shipping price to go „high to the sky”.

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