[time-nuts] Commercial Assembly - Poll

Tijd Dingen tijddingen at yahoo.com
Sat Mar 26 16:10:44 EDT 2011

Ooops, forgot to answer the actual poll. sorry about that.

$250-$500 project size. An extra $100 for electrical test & assembly of the 
entire board: yes

An extra $100 for just the 3 tricky IC's and then have to do the other 70+ parts 
anyway: no.
(Well, maybe, but make it $60 and it better be really cool bga's.)

On the subject of "what kind of extras that makes projects easier would you pay 
for"... a good quality solder stencil would do the trick for such a project 


----- Original Message ----
From: Bob Camp <lists at rtty.us>
To: Discussion of precise time and frequency measurement <time-nuts at febo.com>
Sent: Sat, March 26, 2011 1:44:33 PM
Subject: [time-nuts] Commercial Assembly - Poll


Well that raises a question that I decided not to put in the original poll. I 
was trying to keep things from going to many directions at once. So here's the 
second poll question:

On the same project ($250 to $500) / three complex chips / same objective:

If you could get it assembled as a "semi kit" for another $100 - would you pay 
the money or would you build it yourself?

For the sake of the poll, it's an un-tested board with all the hard stuff (SMT) 
done. What's left are hand solder parts (connectors, big regulators etc). Not 
quite 1950's assembly, but certainly nothing more than your Heathkit asked you 
to do. Also not a lot of it.

Of course I have no idea if the $100 is the right number. It could be high, it 
could be low. Since it's a short run, I suspect the "per run" charges (machine 
setup and screens) will be a significant part of what would be paid. Rather than 
fine tuning that number, lets just go with it for right now.


On Mar 25, 2011, at 7:44 PM, Douglas H Reed wrote:

> I'll chime in too.
> I've done plenty of small SMT at work and I do have a stereo
> microscope and suitable tools at home. I'd potentially try the toaster
> oven reflow technique but mainly just to see if it works. Paste solder
> is not my friend....
> On the other hand, I'd say it was easily worth a $50 surcharge to have
> a board house do it for me. As reference, the DG8SAQ VNWA was
> originally a kit but is now only available assembled and tested, and I
> think that was less than $100 more. For a potentially high volume
> project, the FunCube dongle is professionally assembled and then
> tested and repaired by the club volunteers before being assembled and
> shipped.
> If some one or a group is going to create parts kits for the project,
> you will find it takes a lot of time that might otherwise be used for
> testing the assembled boards coming back from the board house. Please
> note that any $$$ figures are just a guess, not from any Purchasing
> knowledge. I've never dealt with a board house but I know short runs
> will be expensive due to setup time.
> I don't want to throw cold water on the project because I think these
> sorts of projects are the best part of what ham radio is. I've always
> been a techie more than a PTT pusher.... I have a couple SoftRock
> kits, and I think there are a set of boards for a Scottie's Spec-an
> somewhere around the house.... But I bought the VNWA assembled.
> I'll certainly keep reading and will be interested to see where the
> project goes.
> 73, Doug Reed, N0NAS.
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