I am currently designing a big VFD tube IoT thing and when creating the PCB I sent the gerber files to OshPark. They quoted back about US$180. Ouch. OshPark pricing completely breaks down once you start marking a board 4 inches / 10 cm long or above.
So to China it goes!
There are many China-based PCB manufacturers but when doing some googling work Shenzhen2U came back quite a few time with satisfied customers so I decided to give it a go.
It cost me US$61.39 including shipping for 10 units of a 15x10cm board. That’s a third of what OshPark quoted so I could not resist.
The specifications of the board are completely standard: 1.6mm thick, HASL green color solder mask. Any slight deviation of this standard will cost you money. Lead free HASL is $10 more for instance, and ENIG finish adds $20! The most ridiculous part is that they charge $10 for a different solder mask color. All these little details can add up; so be careful of the attractive low costs.
That being said, if you are okay with the default specs, you’re in for a lots of savings.
The ordering process is very unclear. They give you recommendations for the gerber files and how they should be named but there is absolutely no safe guard here. You’d better be sure your files are correct. A little PCB preview or something else would be nice.
From ordering to shipping, 9 days passed. This is far more than their advertised 3 to 7 days. One order is not enough to judge their lead times of course, but this doesn’t leave a nice first experience on this side.
The PCBs arrived in perfect condition, vacuum packed in bubble wrap and with an anti-humidity sachet. Props to Shenzhen2U here, you could not ask for anything else.
The board itself, while simple, has some tricky features like 6 mil traces. Everything came out perfectly. The vias and drilling are also perfect, absolutely no complaints there. The silkscreen is definitely not as nice and crisp as what Oshpark can deliver, but it is nonetheless perfectly intelligible.
If you can live with leaded HASL, Shenzhen2U is amazing. The board quality is great, turnover is good and it comes very safely packed. I recommend their service without a doubt.