BatchPCB Pays You

SparkFun’s BatchPCB has been a well-known service to get your PCBs fabbed, and now it is sporting a new feature. It has just come out of its downtime chrysalis with the ability to pay you for making your designs. If you have designed a PCB and want people to pay you to use it, BatchPCB will now do that for you. [Patrick] says “We want engineers to benefit from the low-cost production for prototypes and have the ability to sell their work, conveniently.” There are a few caveats. First of all, each seller must be a resident of the United States and send BatchPCB a W-9. Secondly, PCBs are only warranted against manufacturing defects, so buyers should make sure the PCB they are buying is a working design. Finally, the sellers must only be selling designs of their own or with proper permission. We are big fans of free, open-source designs, but we can see how this would help an engineer recover some of their costs to develop a board and might lead to some interesting brokering of designs. What do you think of this new service?

80 thoughts on “BatchPCB Pays You

  1. I can see this getting filled with people trying to cash in on open-source designs, Clever people have been doing it through Chinese manufacturing for a while but this just lets any joe blow do it.
    Hopefully they will have some sort of moderation or peer review.

    Case in point Ive seen ebay flooded with lcd2usb clones, granted with fancy new SMD boards, but I have no doubt the original designer is seeing none of that money.

  2. Osgeld is right. Sparkfun is massively overpriced.

    You can justify it anyway you want but the fact is that you will spend more… lots more when ordering from Sparkfun. If you’re happy with that in order to support them good for you. No need to jump all over someone for pointing out that you are in fact paying more.

    Whether they spend it on beer, giant Nintendo controllers or community support doesn’t change the fact that their prices are higher. If you get warm fuzzies from buying from Sparkfun send them all the money you want.

  3. I’m not from the US so this doesn’t really apply to me, but I wish we had a similar service over here.

    I’ve just taken a look at the Sparkfun – and they do appear to give a lot to the community, in the sense they even have a community on their website.. (The Forums)

    If you don’t want to buy there – then don’t. Lets get back to the hacks?

  4. Question: as a buyer, how do I verify I’m buying a WORKING design? One of your caveats is that the buyer must make sure the design works. How do I do that until I’ve purchased the board? Take the submitter’s word for it?

  5. To the people talking about the beer resulting in price gouging: Somebody mentioned SparkFun gets a keg every couple of weeks for 70+ employees. A decent keg might run $150 or so. That comes out to about 2,5 cents/hour per employee. I have a feeling this doesn’t significantly affect their prices, but rather is one of the things that helps keep their employees happier than that 2,5cents/hour would have.

    Also, comparing pricing on their products to other companies will never be fair as they can’t shop around for every single product they don’t manufacture themselves. I’m sure they have some products in stock just to have them, even if they’re more expensive, while they are more competitive on items they sell a lot of of. To be fair, I have no way to be certain about this, though.

    Last but not least, I wonder how much Osgeld’s workplace had to gouge their pricing in order to support the time he spends trolling on internet boards.

  6. and its just not 1 or 2 things, its the combination of everything, basicly its a self funding hack workshop that needs constant influx of stupid, dont know any better noobies every x weeks to keep the place going

    whatever that is their problem, but I hate seeing new peoples first experience in the hobby to be one from ripoff artist’s

  7. I should know better than to respond to this, but… in the last place I worked, we had to have a close to 110% markup on the items we sold in order to cover salaries, rent, and be able to have our storefront open 8 to 6 every day. Despite that, pay was pretty awful and we didn’t make it through the recession. I have a friend who works for a large internet apparel retailer, and they have their markups at close to 130%. Unless you sell something like cars, I bet it’s pretty difficult to make ends meet without a significant markup like that.

    But apparently you know better than everybody else what’s truly fair. Shame on SparkFun for doing what they do. Every single customer of theirs clearly lacks the braincells necessary to be as successful as you are – a man who’s spending his vacation telling people they are stupid for liking the SparkFun!

  8. Osgeld, I imagine very few care what your opinion of a ‘noobs first exprience’ to hobbyist electronics should be. You’re not very welcoming.

    It is a free market, if the cost of being ignorant is a few dollars extra in return for a great customer support team and, present company excepted, a friendly community, then so be it.

    When most of us bought our first computers, we likely payed more than we should have, and thus was the cost of our ignorance. At least with SparkFun you have team of people who contribute to the community and appreciate their customers.

    It would seem that your problem is with capitalism and for some reason you’ve decided to attack SparkFun for being successful.

    live and let live.

  9. Sparkfun has a keg? That is awesome. Is there any chance that there are internships available there?

    Seriously though, if I need a lot of something that cost $0.30 I will order it from somewhere that sells it for $0.30. The chances are you are going to have to buy at least 100 anyway. If I only need one or two I don’t mind spending a little more. Sparkfun doesn’t exist to provide cheap components. If I need something that is going to take me a while to make, and I can get it from sparkfun I will choose sparkfun 90% of the time. My time is more valuable to me. I would rather spend the extra cash to get a quality product, as opposed to spending time making the same thing. The fact that they are offering a service that will facilitate the ability to share design’s and ideas is great. Even better if the designer is getting compensated for his/her work.

    As for quality of designs, I am sure a user/purchaser rating could be setup that would allow customers to rate/review on products.

    People are going to spend money on what they want to spend money on. Who cares whether I want to spend $40 on a $15 part. It is my money.

  10. I never pretended to be welcoming

    yes its a free market, those who gouge and piss off customers will eventually fail, as far as “great customer service” and friendly community I dont get that kind of service with sparkfun

    In fact the last 2 orders I have sent to them took over a week to ship, and I finally called them and personally asked if they could bother to ship my order sometime during that month

    with over 70 employees and a computer system doing all the hard work that is beyond ridiculous, god only knows what they were doing

    and appreciation of their customers? look around at any development forum, there is atleast 1 post a day trying to figure out some sparkfun junk that doesnt work, or work right and the only support they get is “check this thread read this pdf and good luck”, number 1 offender that open log garbage … I honestly did not think it even worked until someone finally got it to store some bits, after nearly a week talking to non sparkfun support because they were useless in getting their own product working

    I have no problem with capitalism, BUT there is a difference tween capitalism and flat out bad business practices

  11. Osgeld seems to want his tech support to do the actual engineering. SparkFun tends to show people the means to teach themselves. If you can’t wean yourself from the teat of tech support then I am pretty sure you lack the ability to make anything more complicated than a blinking refrigerator magnet.

  12. I expect the 70+ working there at least one of them could quit beerin it up long enough to give a comment answer to their own product to the noobies they suck into their own community

  13. Maybe I missed something but a quick description of what is in each project and if it was tested at all and a schematic would make this useful. I started going through the projects and tried to see what they were but this assumes I have nothing else to do. Just looking at all the projects reminded me of years ago when I saw and ad for Big-5 sports stores where they were having a half-off sale on tennis shoes. When I got to the store, they had separated all the shoe pairs into single shoes all jumbled together. I left the store and have never gone back.

  14. @bobwehadababyitsaboy: the same exact though crossed my mind, i’m surprised no one else commented on that.

    as for the service, seems like it could potentially provide the community with some useful resources. personally, i’m not a huge sparkfun fan and order elsewhere but if what they offer suits your needs then by all means go for it.

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