Questions and Answers
I have never used computer aided design (CAD) software before. Are there are any other alternative ways to make a board?
Your board must be created in a software package that allows exporting in GerberX and Excellon format. Most printed circuit board (PCB) design software will export in these formats. Some common software packages include CadSoft Eagle, Altium, KiCad, OrCAD and AutoCAD.
Who can use the PCB Manufacturing Centre?
The PCB Manufacturing Centre is for use by current students, staff and faculty at the University of Waterloo. Individuals using the our services must have a University of Waterloo e-mail address as quotes can only be sent to valid University of Waterloo e-mail addresses.
I am not in the Faculty of Engineering. Is it still possible to manufacture something?
Yes. This service is available to all Waterloo students, staff, and faculty members — you do not need to be in engineering.
What are the maximum dimensions for circuit boards?
The maximum board size is 200 mm by 260 mm (7.9 in by 10.2 in) with a maximum of 2 layers.
How long does it usually take to make a board?
A typical turnaround time for a 1- or 2-layer board is 4 days. Production time depends on how long the milling, through hole plating, solder masking, and silkscreening processes take. The operator will give you an estimate when they process your Gerber files.
What copper thickness should I use?
1-oz copper clad material is the default thickness that works well for most applications. Copper thickness is proportional to how much current you wish to run through your board. 2-oz copper clad is available for higher current applications. The operator will recommend the best thickness for your application.
What if I am not satisfied with the final board that is produced?
We will try our best to describe what the finished board will look like before we start manufacturing. If you are not satisfied with the part and it's our fault (operator or machine error) we will be happy to re-manufacture once or reimburse.
PCB manufacturing is too expensive. Is it possible to lower the price?
Unfortunately, no. This is a non-profit service — the price that is charged covers the cost of materials and basic machine maintenance.
*** From September to December 2018 we will be making boards for FREE (restrictions apply) ***
What surface finishes and lacquers do you offer?
We offer tin finish at no extra cost. Green soldermask and white silkscreen lacquers are available and cost extra.
Do you have a reflow oven?
Yes, we have a reflow oven.
Can I have a flex or rigid-flex board made?
No, only rigid circuit boards are currently available.
Do you do solderpaste dispensing or stencil production?
We are currently experimenting with a polyimide stencil production and reflow oven workflow that will hopefully be implemented very soon.