Guest blog by Melissa Hough, CircuitHub.
CircuitHub’s recently launched fabrication service provides instant quoting and scalable fabrication of printed circuit boards for hardware startups and makers. Our new service, along with our parts library, aims to remove the frustration and wasted time that often accompanies designing and manufacturing PCBs. CEO and co-founder, Andrew Seddon was inspired to start CircuitHub after becoming frustrated with the enormous amount of grunt work involved in getting consumer products manufactured. He was working on consumer electronics in the UK and found the process of moving a prototype into production to be a nightmare.
CircuitHub solves this by abstracting the entire circuit board production process from logistics to factory operations into a web application. By doing so, engineers can focus their time on designing an awesome product instead of researching parts and CMs. Design your project in your EDA tool of choice (we currently support Eagle, Altium, and KiCad), upload your design files onto CircuitHub, choose specific manufacturers for each of your parts and you’ll instantly receive a quote for your BOM, PCB, and Assembly.
CircuitHub is giving engineers the same supply chain expertise and benefits that was previously restricted to large OEMs such as Apple through something we call PartRank. The idea is that you as a designer probably have loose specifications for many of the parts in your BOM. By choosing parts that are popular and creating a community around a standard set of parts we can buy in bulk, and then pass the savings onto you. That being said, we’re careful not to restrict people; you can use any parts but we try and gently nudge you on to the more popular ones!
We’ve also partnered with Worthington Assembly and are fully integrating our software into their system. This will allow us to track part inventory, set up automated purchasing, and quickly push projects into Worthington’s pick and place machines. All of this will help reduce the setup time for a project, which in turn will reduce the cost of each project.
CircuitHub is utilizing the Octopart API in several ways. First off, we use Octopart to help us to gather initial data about parts for our parts library. CircuitHub pulls part data from Octopart including datasheets and attributes which is used to create symbols and footprints to be used in your own EDA tool.
CircuitHub also uses the Octopart API as a search interface for BOM reconciliation. When a project is uploaded CircuitHub uses the unstructured data given by the EDA tool to automatically come up with search terms that match the part attributes. Users can then quickly search for specific parts themselves through Octopart in order to line up the parts in their BOM with the real parts that will be placed on their board. We also use pricing provided by Octopart to provide a breakdown on how much parts are going to cost.
We’re very impressed by all of the awesome projects that have been uploaded so far. Visit http://circuithub.com to check out the service and upload a project yourself!