There is no other place in the world where you can prototype as quickly or as cheaply as Shenzhen. It is one of the wonderful side effects of being the Factory of the World. If you’re a startup and you want to quickly iterate on your design, then you need to be here. Getting a PCB + solder stencil with a 24 turnaround time can cost as little as $56USD. When time is money, and money is tight, it helps to be efficient with both.
Here’s a quick guide roundup of how I prototype my new designs in this wonderful city.
- SeeedStudio – A partner of Haxlr8r, these guys will produce your PCBs as part of a batch very cheaply.
- HQPCB – A chinese-only site, but you can get boards for as little as $9USD. 24 hour quickturns can typically be done for $50USD.
Solder Paste Stencils
- Kingway – Another chinese-only shop, but you can get your lasercut steel SMT stencil for $16USD and 1 day turnaround time.
- There are tons of shops in Shenzhen, including Seeedstudios. We are working to verify a few of them that can do quick-turn work. If you’re only doing 1 or 2, it’s best to do it by hand.
- In the meantime, check out my guide for making SMT prototyping extremely easy.
- SEG / Huaqiang Bei – This is one of the worlds largest electronics markets where you can get almost any component you want. This place is great for getting a feel for what components are common, form factors, etc.
- Taobao.com – Most electronics vendors are in Shenzhen, so your orders will come very quickly. I typically get them next-day. I’ve even gotten one within 12 hours of ordering it. This is also a great place to price out what your BOM will look like in production quantities when made in China.