It is not realistic to design a printed circuit board without considering the relationship between PCB fabrication cost and various design elements. Some design specifications, which would be nice to have but may not be necessary and could result in higher PCB manufacturing costs.

So, by reviewing and modifying some design aspects could result in lowering your PCB cost, without impacting the functionality of your board.

In this post, we will show you X ways, that will push your cost down.

1. Use a minimum track width / track spacing of 8/8 mil (0.20 mm) or 6/6 mil (0.15 mm) track/spacing. This will save you a lot of money compared to using 5/5 (0.13 mm) or 4/4 mil (0.10 mm)

PCB trace width and PCB traces spacing

2. If you have space on your PCB, then use 0.3 mm vias. Using a smaller via size, like 0.2 mm will increase your cost.

Width of PCB via

3. If possible stick with HASL surface finish because it is the least expensive among the available surface finishes (Immersion gold, OSP, Hard gold, Immersion silver).
The PCB surface finish protects the exposed copper area from oxidation and solderability of components during the PCB assembly process.

PCB surface finish - HASL and Gold

4. To further decrease your PCB price, avoid using filled vias. The process completely fills vias with resin or solder mask, which adds cost. In comparison, vias can be closed using a technique called via tenting, where the resin or solder mask is used to cover the hole, or via plugging, where the via is partially filled.

Filled PCB Vias

Plug and Tented PCB Vias

5. For the finished copper choose 1 oz. weight – if you do not have high current or power applications.
The weight of the copper is an indirect reference to its thickness. The thickness of a copper sheet resulting from flattening 1oz of copper to cover a 1 square foot area is 1.37 mils / 0.036 mm.

 

Understanding the factors that affect the cost of PCB manufacturing and seeing how they correlate with your design specification can help you save money. By making sure that your boards are not “over” engineered, or features that may not be necessary are excluded, you will be on your way to paying less for your PCBs.