I recently used the free ‘Go Naked’ service from Spirit Circuits to produce a prototype PCB used in a sous-vide controller. Overall I was extremely satisfied with the service, although I couldn’t quite believe it was actually free to begin with, so hopefully this short review will give others an idea of what to expect.
Having previously used their PCB Snap service, I knew that Spirit Circuits produced high quality boards however given the price of these prototypes, I was worried the quality wouldn’t be great. Luckily I was proved wrong. After enquiring about the service I was given the following information about the board specifications:
- Min Track – 5 thou – 0.127 mm
- Gap – 5 thou – 0.127 mm
- Annular – 5 Thou – 0.127 mm
- Minimum Hole size – 0.3 mm
- Minimum Annulus – 5 thou – 0.127 mm
- Max size (FR4): 406 mm x 457 mm
The boards have no routing, soldermask or silkscreen so they are very much prototype boards. They’re finished in immersion silver. After sending my gerber files over, they confirmed I was in the queue and my order would be processed within 5 days. I received the board 5 days later. Each customer gets three chance to prototype a board before they need to submit something to one of the paid services.
The boards came vacuum packed in a kind of hard plastic shell with bubble wrap, so oxidation and scratching weren’t a problem. The final board looked like this:
As you can probably see in the photo, there is a small amount of oxidation, this was probably due to my fingers on the board although it did seem to get a little worse over the next few days so perhaps oxidation in air is a problem. I did find that the advertising around the edge of the board was a little bit of a pain, I’m happy for them to have it there but it would have been very helpful to v-groove the board outline just so that a prototypes dimensions could be checked.
Admittedly, this wasn’t a particularly challenging board to produce, next time I’ll include a test area to max out all their specifications but I doubt there will be any problems.
You can see a gallery of images showing the PCB here: