Olimex advice for Eagle users

UK suppliers for PCB prototypes

(Last updated May 2015)

Between about 2005 and 2009 I used Olimex exclusively, but I found it was getting very difficult to place orders with emails seemingly often getting lost, and the orders seem to be getting slower / taking longer and longer to be handled. The PCBs were unfortunately not the best; incidences of tracks lifting and through hole plating coming out during rework are significantly higher with the boards I've had from Olimex than those from other manufacturers. I've not used Olimex since, so thought it worthwhile sharing who I do use now.

The options seem to keep changing over time, but I'm trying to update this list as I find new ones:

The advantage of all the non-Olimex services is that you don't need to worry about adjusting the drill sizes etc; you can just send standard gerber files.

Here follows some advice based on my experience of using Olimex for PCB prototypes.

General advice on Olimex

If making a small board, try if possible to make it panelize onto an SS panel rather than an SQ, as it is cheaper to order 4 SS panels than 1 SSQ. (You get a 20% 'repeat order' discount for 3 of the SS panels, even if they are all ordered together.)

Make sure you have the 'Always vector font' option in the 'user interface' settings switched on.

Olimex have some advice for avoiding their 'silk screen' fix charge.

They also have instructions for generating gerber and so on.

Generally I:

Advice for single sided boards

When doing single side boards, the eagle libraries use lots of 0.8mm drills - this isn't a standard drill for olimex so they will charge you $1.30. Just pay this; it's usually not worth the hassle to avoid it.

If you really insist on avoid this charge, you have two choices:

  1. Use restring to increase the pad sizes, then use a drill rack without a 0.8mm drill, and make sure the tolerances cause the 0.8mm holes to be increased to 0.9mm.
  2. Follow the instructions below for changing drill sizes for double sided boards, and change the 0.8mm drills to 0.9mm ones.

Advice for double side boards

For double sided boards, Eagle will give you the required hole side in the final board, but olimex require the hole size before plating.

It is a bit fiddly to do this, see our HOWTO for adjusting drill sizes.

Joseph Heenan, joseph@heenan.me.uk