The chinese company Seeed Studio is providing technology and manufacturing services to the maker community since 2008. Seeed is one of the big players for makers and has a large online store. One of the well known products is the solderless Grove System, a modular and standardized connector prototyping system.
Seeed also offers a PCB & PCB Assembly Service for an affordable prize under the brand Seeed Fusion.
Seeed Studio kindly offered me a coupon in order to test and review their PCB Service, thanks.
The PCB order process starts online with the PCB order form. The order form provides a large number of production options for your PCB project. The order page is easy to read an understand.
For each PCB option the webpage provides a help link with a detailed description of the PCB option. Just click on the info icon.
A PCB manufacturer always needs your PCB project as a digital file. The standard format for this file is called Gerber Format. Most of the PCB tools provide an export function to create the gerber files.
The PCB project can be uploaded by clicking on the button "Add Gerber Files". The uploaded project file must be as an archive file as ZIP oder RAR. After Upload the PCB project is displayed in the upload area an can be viewed with Gerber Viewer.
The integrated Gerber Viewer is a very useful tool to check the PCB project before sending the order to Seeed Studio.
I always recommend to check the gerber data very carefully. It can save you a lot of time and money. As you can see in the gerber viewer the gerber format consists of several layers. Each layer is in a separate file with the corresponding file extension.
Protip: Always print your PCB project on paper before creating the gerber files. Place your components on the printout an check the footprint and the space for the used components. The printout shows you the real size of your board.
After upload the gerber project you need to choose the required PCB options such as base material, quantity, PCB color, surface finish and more. I chose the standard options for my test project, an IR Blaster with a round PCB.
Any change of the PCB options will immediately recalculate the price for your PCB project. The shipping costs will calculate in the checkout step.
By adding the project to your cart the item will be displayed in your shopping cart.
Checkout and order
For the checkout and order you need to login to the system. According the website the PCB production time is around 3-4 days. The shipping time depends on the selected shipping method. I chose DHL for my project which is the fastest but the most expensive option.
The order can be paid with Paypal or credit card.
After sending out the order you will receive a confirmation. Your open PCB order and the status can be tracked in your account. I received an email with the order confirmation.
Shipping and receiving
I ordered on a Friday and the PCB has been sent on the following Tuesday. On Friday, one week after ordering, I received my PCB project from Seeed Studio. The PCB manufacturing itself took only 3 days.
The PCB order has been shipped in a small envelope. The PCBs where wrapped up in bubble wrap.
The PCB for my project are clean with a light green solder mask. The silkscreen is clear and good to read. The pads a clean and the soldering worked perfect.
The round shape of my PCB is clean. On one of the 10 boards a small notch is visible. But the board still fits in the project enclosure.
Since the project has already been tested, the PCB project worked perfectly. The hot air soldering of the SMD components was quick and easy.
The PCB service from Seeed Studio is a perfect option if you need a reliable PCB supplier. The manufacturing was very quick and the result good.
I will use this PCB supplier in future projects and order different PCB styles and options.
In addition to the PCB service, you can also have the circuit board assembled with the PCB Assembly Service from Seeedstudio.