This is a review of Krumlink's PCB fabrication service.
I can etch boards. I have gotten pretty good at it actually. Got the toner transfer down just right, etching times, etc. That being said, I hate doing it in every way! Etching boards is not a very difficult process but one that takes quite a few steps --for me, it starts with a 30 minute drive to the closest Xerox machine to get my designs printed using toner. From there it is the usual process of trying to find a shallow dish for the etchant, constant agitation, rinsing, Scotch-brite'ing, drilling etc. The bottom line is: Can't someone else do it? Yes they can.
Krumlink is now making single sided PCB's at very reasonable prices. They are of course, not quite as fancy as one would get from a batch house, but straight-forward, MUCH faster and made by a fellow LMRian. I contacted Krum because I wanted to have a few "staples" on hand --some motor driver boards and some volt reg boards --just to have "in stock". I designed the motor driver board, send Krum the gerbers and 4 days later, I had populated boards in my hand. As for the volt regulators I needed, I didn't even bother with the design --a quick email with, "I need 5v regs --pretty small" and one week later they had been designed, fabricated, populated and in my hand.
Not a lot to say here, these are good ol' toner-transfer boards. The board and copper are of average thickness, various colors are available, and well, its is just good ol' PCB material. The traces were all clean with no visible ragged edges or etch-through. All the pads were solid and easily soldered to. Drilling was straight and clean, I didn't have to bend a single leg on the IC sockets to get them though. The boards were obviously cut by hand and show a bit of a rough edge but A) nothing that would concern me and B) nothing that can't be fixed in 30 seconds with some #220 sandpaper if it did bother you.
First and foremost, Krumlink is a real guy. Unlike a batch service, when you send off an email, it is going to the actual guy making the boards. Any questions, comments and requests go directly to the man. Every email I sent was replied to quickly and every vibe I got was that this guy wants to do things right and hand people a good product. Take for example the volt reg boards --I didn't even submit a design. I simply emailed and said I need some small regulator boards and Krum took care of the rest. It is simply nice to talk to a real person
I mentioned some prices in the video and I should say here that these prices were approximate and it should not be assumed that these would be the prices you would pay. They will be similar though. Each order will be specific and all pricing/shipping will of course, be discussed at the time of order. I included the approx. prices I paid only to give a ballpark idea of the overall cost. After I sat down and did the math on the included parts and time and effort put into the project, I can say that I got one helluva deal, period. The per-unit price was comparable to a batch house and my even come in lower depending on how one is figuring the cost of actually populating the boards. Reasonable, simply a reasonable price.
The very best thing I can say here is that there was simply not one single drop of BS. Everything was straight-forward, on the level and honest. I got every penny of what I paid, with no time or money spent chasing anyone down or wiping other people's noses. I emailed, sent designs, I got boards, period. The boards were of equal or higher quality that I was expecting, wicked quick turn-around, communication was top-notch and if nothing else, it was a pleasure to work with A) a nice guy and B) a fellow LMRian. If you need simple, straigh-forward PCB's made up, give Krumlink a try. Good Stuff.