Thoughts and opinions on future kits

I’ve been surprised at the number of requests for black laminate PCBs, when I first mentioned them I expected maybe 5 or 10 sets to be sold but they’ve been a little more popular than that. I have enough black laminate for the kits I’ve invoiced but very few more. I can buy some but the minimum order is far more than I’ll need to finish the rest of the orders.

An alternative is to have the PCBs maufactured and coated with black solder resist. Again to reduce the cost I would need to pay for a batch of 250, though I would change the design again to use 4 identical boards per kit with a small stub to hold the power terminals. Still this will be enough for over 60 more kits. This would also remove the choice of PCB type and price, it would be the black option or nothing. It will make assebly easier though as they’ll be be marked with component positions.

The baseboard currently drives IN-7s which aren’t as common as they used to be 😉 but almost any small/medium nixie or VFD display can be used without modification, only the piece base PCBs will need to be altered. This means I could use the same board with different piece sets in future if there’s enough interest. On the other hand I don’t want to destroy the uniqueness.

What are your thoughts?

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. I ordered the black PCB because I think it looks great. I don’t know what option is best for you but if all you are worried about is the uniqueness then I wouldn’t worry.


    1. Personally I would prefer to go for premade boards, the last batch were a bit of a nightmare and the large areas of copper left do cause some eddy current losses even though they’re broken up where possible. The time saving would allow me to finish the laminate routing while they’re being made. I have a couple of other ideas to save time that could be implemented as well.

  2. Just use up the black laminate you have first. Then if there is enough interest to warrant another 60 boards worth of PCBs, and you still have your sanity, then order them.

    Future piece sets with different nixies/VFDs sounds interesting. I don’t know if I’d buy them though at this time.

    1. I already have more on the waiting list wanting black laminate than I have material for so I’ll need to buy one or the other. The lead times are 4+ weeks to get the lowest price so can’t wait too long to decide.

      1. Where did you get the black laminate for the current orders? Couldn’t you just get more from them for the same price? That should be cheaper than getting them manufactured right? And then everyone will have equal generation PCBs, which is more fair than later orders getting better manufactured PCBs.

        1. This was a one-off batch I bought leftover from another project, if I buy more it’s directly from the manufacturer with a 2 week lead and a minimum order of 5 3×4 sheets.
          I offered the black laminate boards knowing I would need to buy in more at some point, it’s just deciding now if going with premade boards would be a better choice.

          1. If you decide to do a second batch of Nixie chessboards, then it makes sense to have them manufactured for the second batch. If it’s just to fill the current orders in the first, then it makes sense to just get more black laminate. It is also more fair to everyone in the first batch to have the same generation PCBs, as the later people shouldn’t get better PCBs than the earlier people. Am I wrong in my assumptions?

          2. I’m about hafway through the kits now with the batch yours is in, the quantity remaining to be made probably isn’t enough to make manufactured PCBs worthwhile. I would have preferred them but something about not changing horses midstream may apply so it’s going to be the the black laminate again, allowing for waste I’ll probably use 2/3 of it so not too bad.

  3. Looks like you will have a unique black board for your following design project. Eh?

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