Just a quick update for my fab fans out there.  And by 'fab' I mean 'PCB fabricators'.  For the Calliope satellite, I need 8 printed circuit boards (PCBs) fabricated for the solar cells.  As I covered earlier, these cells are also the main satellite structural beams.

And were in a golden age of DIY electronics!  There are companies that will make as few as a single board, for around $20, for any small schematic you may have.  Mind you, I'd love recommendations on PCB fabricators to try-- this is a new area for me.

The specs: these solar cell panels are about 1 inch x 4 inches.  The satellite needs 8 of them, which means I need 10 (2 spares in case I screw up).  Oh, actually, I want 20-- enough for a flight spare.

The boards get cheaper the more you order.  Doing a rough pricing at apcircuits.com, it starts at about $100 for a single set of 10, and drops to $84 per 10 if I order 20.  Doing 40 just drops the price to $72 per 20, not a big improvement over the former.  But add another 20, and the price drops to $66 per 10, which is a reasonable savings.

So I tried getting a group order among the half-dozen teams flying, since they also need the boards.  So far, I have 2 on board, but really need another so we can order 80; two more volunteers and we can get 100 and probably get a nicer price break.

All I want is 20 inexpensive boards and minimal hassle.  The equation for this is:
  Savings = (Cost per set of 10) - (extra shipping involved in a group order) - (hassle of organizing this) + (benefit of not everyone having to create their own fabrication)

So if you, by chance, want 10 or 20 solar cell PCBs, sans solar cells, drop me a line...


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