I get asked this often enough that it’s probably an FAQ …
Do you do custom orders?
Short answer: yes. Longer answer follows:
Generally speaking, I’m happy to accomodate the following:
- Partial builds: If you want a ‘partial’ build of something (eg. you want to supply your own pots or whatever) then generally that will be doable – this applies to both ‘regular’modules (ie. the stuff I normally build with SMD components) as well as kits.
- Re-runs: If you want a (re)run of a retired module then again, I can do that providing I have the necessary files – doing things like rejigging board layouts and such is possible, within reason. You will, however, need to order at least three units since that’s the shortest board run I can get done without paying crazy amounts of money.
- PCB only: If you want a board for one of the SMD modules, I can usually oblige if I have boards to hand, otherwise the rules applying to re-runs (above) will apply. If you order an SMD board from me then I’m going to assume that you’re confident in your ability to source the necessary components and assemble the module (in reality, hand-soldering 0805 and SOIC components isn’t hard – despite being incredibly myopic and fast approaching the age of 50 I don’t have a problem. All you need is a steady hand, a good soldering iron and a lot of flux!)
Things get a bit trickier where panels are concerned – my material of choice is 3mm perspex in either translucent grey or opaque black. I’ve chosen this because a) it’s a hell of a sight cheaper than aluminium for small runs and b) I have a local studio laser-cut it for me at a very reasonable cost. More pragmatically, perhaps, they look a hell of a sight nicer than the plywood panels I used to make. This isn’t to everyone’s tastes and I fully understand that, which is one of the reasons I make my panel files readily available.
If you want panels of a different colour then I can accommodate that but there will be extra cost involved if my supplier doesn’t have appropriate material to hand, since materials will need to be purchased too. If you want panels of a different material then you’re on your own – that being said, I do provide appropriate files for panel fabrication in FPD (Schaeffer Front Panel Designer), DXF (AutoCAD) and SVG (InkScape) formats; when I order panels I generally submit the artwork as SVG.
Then there’s a matter of cost: that will vary but in any case if you’re ordering anything other than PCBs you’re going to be paying for my time spent making any modifications to schematics as well as things like assembly and testing. I will always get your agreement on the cost before starting the order/build process. If you want me to design you something from scratch then that’s probably going to be expensive.
Finally, and most importantly, custom orders take time – depending on what you want, the turnaround time could be anything from a few days to a few weeks. Some good rules of thumb are:
- If I need to have boards fabbed then you’re looking at 2-3 weeks at least. This is because not only will the boards have to be sent off to the fab, they’ll also have to be shipped back to me in the UK.
- If I have boards in-hand then figure on 2-3 working days for assembly and testing, depending on my workload at the time. If I have to order any components in then that’ll add a couple of days. I don’t keep a lot of the more expensive stuff such as potentiometers in hand; much easier to order them as I need them.
- If you require a custom panel then figure on at least an extra 2-3 days, unless my supplier needs to order material in specially in which case you could be looking at an extra 7-10 days instead.
It goes without saying that all of this assumes no disruption due to holidays, natural disasters and other shenanigans beyond my control.