FAQs & Guides

What is the default thickness of your panel share service?

Answer: 1.6mm is the default standard for a PCB. We do have other material thicknesses in stock, however it's not practical for us to accommodate varying thicknesses on a panel share service. Please contact us for your requirements before placing an order.

What design files do you accept for manufacture?

Answer: We accept Gerber files, Excellon NC files, and PCB files from Altium, Eagle and DesignSpark. In some cases we can covert other files such as PDFs and DXFs but this service isn't available as standard and you need to email us the data you have so we can see if it's suitable for conversion.

Do you check the manufacturing files before starting?

Answer: During the process of loading your files, we make some very quick checks on tracks and gaps, holes sizes, pad sizes, outlines and various other factors. We don't however give you any assurances that we will find something that may cause a problem later. Due to the heavy workloads we experience we can't check every job thoroughly, and the responsibility is yours to ensure the design conforms to our guidelines.

Will you electronically test my PCBs?

Answer: Yes, we test every circuit board we make. We test the end point continuity of nets, and the isolation of nets.

What is your cut-off time?

Answer: An order placed after 5pm NZ time Monday to Friday will be considered as being ordered the next working day

What payments do you accept?

Answer: Paypal is used for paying by credit cards Visa & Mastercard. NZ and Australian customers can pay by direct credit or EFT into our bank account. Customers that have an account with us can charge an order to their account using a purchase order number.

How does the delivery time work?

Answer: Delivery options available are 1, 2 and 4 working days, so this doesn't include weekends, or NZ national holidays. Examples : A 2-Day order placed on a Thursday will be dispatched on the following Monday, a 4-Day order placed on a Wednesday will be dispatched on the following Tuesday.

What are the shipping times for my order?

Answer: We have done everything possible to find a courier company that offers reliability and speed for all our customers where ever you are however we can't control how efficient the courier is. You will receive tracking data when your board is sent. NZ Nationwide is overnight using NZ Couriers; Australia to major cities is overnight, other areas can be 2 days using DHL. International shipping is generally 1 to 2 days using DHL.

Who will manufacture my order?

Answer: Circuit Labs, our own well established PCB Manufacturing company that supports the PCB Zone service.

 


 

Standard PCB Specifictaions

1.6mm FR4 Tg 140
1oz Copper 
White Component Ref.
PTH Slots
Routed profiles.
Flying Probe Test

 

Basic Design Rules

Minimum Track Size 0.15mm ( 0.006" )
Minimum Gap Size 0.15mm ( 0.006" )
Minimum Drill / PAD Size 0.25mm / 0.45mm 
Minimum Silk Screen Line 0.10mm ( 0.004" )
 

Supported Files & What to Send

It's good practice to submit your design as Gerber and Excellon Drill files.  This helps to avoid
any conflits with interpretation.  All CAD systems specific to PCB design will export these files.
If you are experiancing difficulties with fabrication outputs  we can accept the PCB CAD files directly
but only from Protel, Altium, Eagle and DesignSpark.  We can't accept the files supplied by ExpressPCB because these are specific to that manufcaturer.

 

CAD Software for PCB Design

There are several packages available for designing a Printed Circuit Board ( PCB ) 

All software specifically for PCB design will export Gerber and NC Drill files for your circuit board to be manufactured.

Whilst you can use graphic packages like Coral Draw, AutoCAD and similar to design your PCB this is strongly
not recommend.  The files that these packages export are not always compatible with PCB manufacture, and costs can be incurred
to convert them. 

Below is a short list of some of the more common packages used in the NZ and Australian market, all of varying quality and price.
Every CAD system is different, and you may need to try one or two until you find one that you understand and can learn.

DesignSpark - Marketed by RS Components and developed by the makers of Number One System's Easy-PC, DesignSpark has
become a growing choice for novice PCB designers, or basic product development.  It's free, and fairly straightforward if you have
some background knowledge of  circuit board design.  File Export for manufacture is simple, and effective.
 

Eagle - Developed by CAD Soft USA, Eagle PCB Software is again a fairly popular choice, with a fairly big support base Eagle is a well
established option for designing PCBs.    There are plenty of component libraries available on the internet if you want to avoid defining your own.
There is a free version of this software which is limited to board size and layer count, however the basic packages are fairly reasonably priced for non-commercial use.
 

Altium Designer - The professional choice worldwide, there is no doubt that Altium is probably the most recognised CAD package for the
OEM professional engineer, with it's Australian roots going back to Protel for DOS it has a very comprehensive and professional GUI. This package
is everything you could ever want in PCB design, from schematic capture and BOMs to simulations.  It comes with an eye watering price tag, but if you're
a high end hardware manufacturer, and you want to attract some professional CAD engineers this is the package they would use.

There are plenty of other systems and a simple Google search will reveal some other popular choices such as DipTraceRimu or PADS

 

Check your mechanical information for the board profile or slots.

You should include mechanical layers that define the board outline or slots. Slots should be defined as PTH and you should
include notes that mention that there are PTH slots.  If slots are non-PTH they can be defined on the same layer as the final board profile. 

 

Check your silkscreen!!
There is nothing more frustrating for everybody if your silkscreen features cover solder points.  

Please double-check your silkscreen placements before you submit your files.