Tips for getting PCB quotes when you're pressed for time

I recently needed to get a prototype manufactured, and as usual, was pressed for time. I made some assumptions and took some shortcuts during the design phase that ended up costing me time during quoting. Manufacturers aren’t always fast at quoting – if any info is missing, it could add another day of back and forth emails. Here are some of the things I learned:

  1. For all your generic resistors and caps, clarify ahead of time (during design) if they’ll find manufacturer part numbers for you (ie. use what they have in stock). Otherwise you’ll need to do this.
  2. Make it clear to them which parts you are OK with them upgrading without your permission.
  3. Double check the values of all your passive components – make sure they’re real and orderable!
  4. Combine identical parts onto the same line in the BOM. This makes it easier to work with.
  5. Ask the manufacturer for their spec sheet / capabilities at the start of the design. The worst is when they come back and say they can’t manufacturer something you’ve done.
  6. Ask for budgetary quotes early, even before your layout is complete
  7. Confirm that they’ll take care of panelizing for you.

I wrote up a post with more details for each of these.