How Much Does PCB Prototype Cost?


Posted on: 29 April 2019 by jack WONG

Many engineers or product managers would like to know the PCB prototype cost before their innovative idea turn into reality,

Many engineers or product managers would like to know the PCB prototype cost before their innovative idea turn into reality,

Which help them optimize version and estimate the manufacturing cost.


There’s no point in developing a product if it cannot be manufactured and sold at a profit.


To estimate the cost of a PCB prototype is the beginning!


For PCB manufacturer, PCB prototype cost can be broken into two parts: the engineering cost to check and analysis the files. the second part is the actual total cost.


The second part total cost includes the cost to fabricate the PCB, the cost of assembly, electronic components cost, testing cost, and the freight.


Engineering cost


Engineering costs vary greatly depending on the PCB design and complexity, engineering specialty, the more complicated, takes longer and thus cost more.


For a simple design, some manufacturers do not charge this cost, just consider it to be PCB fabrication cost.


PCB fabrication cost


In China, the cost to produce a few bare boards usually runs at $30. it assumes the basic process. if you want a super small board, more layers and special design, most costly processes have to be used.


Most boards at least have two routing layers (top and bottom), however, most designs will require from 4 to 6 layers. More complex designs may require 8 layers or more.


The boards with few layers are cheaper than those of with more layers.The special designs will require complex PCB technologies, such as blind and/or buried vias also drastically increase the board cost. Their use will typically double the PCB prototype cost, so in most cases, it is best to use only standard through-hole vias.


PCB Assembly Costs


The cost to assemble the PCB (i.e. solder down all the electronic components) is primarily determined by the total number of components, the minimum pin pitch, the use of lead-less packages such as QFN or BGA, and whether components are soldered on both sides of the PCB.


For a couple of boards with 30-50 different components, the cost is approximately $ 100-$180.



Electronic Components cost


In addition to the board production and assembly costs, there is the cost for the electronic components.the component is one most factor to determine the function of the product.


For some functional components such as IC, modules, it is suggestedchoose the original brand.for other normal parts like a resistor or connector, the manufacturer will advance you to use a cheaper alternative with the same values or specification.


Test Costs


This test is optional. 

This test is different from the inspection in the PCB assembly. it is an additional test to ensure the quality of prototype samples.

Once prototype PCB has been assembled it needs to be tested to confirm it is fully functional and meets all of the quality specifications.

Usually, the manufacturer will require the testing method.


For some package such as BGA, it is better to do X-ray test, to avoid poor soldering or short circuit.


Freight cost


Most products will ultimately be manufactured in Asia or China Shenzhen.

For small quantity of PCB prototype samples, the freight is usually $30.

the manufacturer like PCBA store will arrange the shipment by a reliable courier. you will have the PCB prototype fast and safe.




Keep in mind that all of the PCB prototype costs will reduce significantly as the production volume increases. Even going from 2 units to 20 units has a huge impact on the unit price.


What costs you a thousand dollars for a single prototype may only cost a couple of dollars once you purchase much higher volumes.

Do you have any PCB prototype samples we can help with?


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jack WONG

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