At the meeting last night, there was discussion of PCB fab and assembly houses.
I've mostly been using PCBWay for fab:
I've been very happy with the quality. For small boards, under 100mm
square, you can get 10 boards for $13 plus shipping. The shipping in
DHL express, and costs $25 for a small order. They accept payment by
PayPal, but they charge fees to receive that. On a recent $390 order
for seven designs totally 3211 square inches of PCB, I paid $390 for
the boards, $113 for DHL shipping, and $23 PayPal fee, for a total of
$526, which makes the total price per square inch $0.16.
For small orders, PCBWay standard service can have the boards
fabricated and shipped in three working days. For larger orders, it
can take 4-6 working days. The DHL shipping usually takes less than 48
hours, if it doesn't span a weekend. PCBWay does offer less expensive
Hong Kong Post shipping, but it's expected to take much longer.
The PCBWay web site says that they can provide assembly too, but the
web site is pretty short on details, and I haven't yet tried it yet.
I don't normally do SMT assembly myself. I mentioned that I've tried
having both fab and assembly done by MacroFab in Houston:
They will do assembly even at just quantity one, and they can do
inventory and fulfillment as well. They prefer to source the PCBs and
components themselves, rather than have the customer provide them. I
have one design that needs a 0.65mm pitch BGA, requirinng plugged vias
for via-in-pad, and their PCB capabilities don't include that, so I
plan to discuss with them their requirement for use of outside PCBs,
but I haven't done that yet.
So far I've only had one board made by MacroFab, which was 0.7 x 2.0
inch, with an SOT23 LDO regulator, CPLD in QFP, and passives. The
quality was good, and my cost for quantity one was $14.46 plus $10.15
shipping (USPS priority). The breakdown was $3.406 for the PCB, $3.72
for components, and $7.33 for "placement charges" (labor). Amazingly
cheap for quantity one!
I mentioned Small Batch Assembly, which I haven't tried:
Unlike MacroFab, the customer supplies the PCBs.
Michael said that Small Batch Assembly doesn't do BGAs or 0402
components; that information is probably outdated. According to their
FAQ, they can handle WLCSP, QFN and BGA with minimum 0.4mm pithc, and
components down to 0201.