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If the project you are tinkering in the garage becomes popular and is overwhelmed with praises, will you think about turning it into a real product?

However, making a real product is more than just combining all the components and modules together onto one board.  Ticking time bombs will be created during the construction and it is so hard to locate and dispose all of them, especially for beginners.

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Seeed Studio has spent a lot of time in helping makers to prototype more than 2500 projects every month in Fusion Service and producing our own product lines since 2008 as the worlds 3rd biggest open source hardware platform. By distilling & applying the general tips from our experience, we hope to help to lower the barrier of hardware development. In this chapter, we will focus on how to reduce the COST.

1. Cost, Quality & lead-time form the Manufacturing Management Triangle.

Whenever you want to industrialize your project, please keep these 3 elements in mind and try to find the best position in this triangle. Losing balance in this triangle will lead to long lead-time, bad quality and high cost in production.QQ20151231-0@2x2. Take the overall cost of a finished product into consideration

Normally, the cost of a finished product consists of the following aspects: material, engineering, manufacturing, testing, set-up, shipment, management and certification. To reduce the cost, you must take all of these costs into consideration at the beginning.

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3. Use the same components as much as possible.

We will suggest you use exactly the same 10k 1% 0603 resistor in your whole design, the same package, same tolerance, same manufacturer and same MPN. DO NOT use both 0402 and 0603 at the same time if the size of your PCB allows, because one more different component means you need to

  • source one more supplier from millions
  • source one more component from millions
  • use one more feeder on pick & place machine
  • one more incoming inspection
  • one more inventory management

All of these will lead to higher cost in material, manufacturing, set up fee and management.

4. Put all the components on the same side of PCB if possible.

This will save your money on the manufacturing cost. Because single-side board only needs to go through the reflow oven once, leading to shorter manufacturing time and fewer procedures and finally leads to more affordable manufacturing cost.

5. Use only SMD components if possible.

If your board includes both DIP (Dual inline pin) and SMD (Surface Mounted Devices) components, it means to fulfill your product, we need to set up both SMT line and DIP line. In this case, 2 set-up fees will be added. And the reason why we suggest you using SMD component is the manufacturing fee of SMD is so much cheaper than that of DIP.

If you have any other suggestion to make this list more comprehensive, or specific question to ask us, feel free to shoot me a mail at shuyang@seeed.cc. I will be more than happy to learn more about you and your project.