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Pedal Builders: Are effects your full time job?


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I've often thought about it at least for a few of the more popular pedals. Any recommendations as to where to get them done and what requirements there are file wise?

Thanks by the way.

File requirements depend on the fabricator. For most, Gerber format photoplotter files for copper layers, silkscreen, and solder mask. Some will want Gerber photoplotter files for drill template, along with a tool list, and they'll digitize their own drill program. Others will want a drill program file, maybe Excellon format. It just depends. Any decent PCB design software can produce the files in most of the common formats. Talk to the fabricator and see what they want. Most importantly, double check EVERYTHING before you send it. One little mistake and you could end up with 1/4 inch thick traces, or 1/8 inch component lead holes. :facepalm:

If you're stuffing and soldering by hand then you might not need a solder mask applied. It's only essentially for automated soldering, but some people just like the look of it. If you don't need it, and don't think it's pretty, then you'll save a little money by leaving it out. On the other hand, without a solder mask on the top side you might have a tough time reading the silkscreen legend if it's done in white ink (most PCB material is fairly light colored). Black legends usually cost a little more.

If you're shipping to EU countries that require RoHS comformity then be sure to specify lead-free plating.

One advantage of using a fabricator is that they can do stuff you would find difficult or impossible to do yourself, such as plated via holes or multilayer boards.

I've been using a circuit board fabricator in the midwest, but I think I'm going to find one closer to home. I originally started using them because a friend was working in their sales department. They've since been bought out by a group of South Asians, and their quality has tanked. I can't recommend them anymore.

Any decent fabricator will help you out with your first board, and let you know if there's any obvious problems before they make 100 of them.

I still print and etch a prototype board and then stuff it and make sure it works before sending my plot files off to the fabricator. This helps to avoid spending a few hundreds bucks on pretty looking epoxy-glass coasters.

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