For engineers and companies developing new electronic products, finding a quick turn PCB manufacturer is crucial for rapid prototyping and testing. Partnering with a manufacturer that can reliably deliver quality printed circuit boards in 3-5 days enables faster design validation and new product introduction. This guide covers how to select the ideal quick turn partner.

Capability Range

Evaluate if the manufacturer’s capabilities match your needs:

Layer Count

Layer CountDescription
2-8 layersSuitable for simpler, low-mid complexity boards
10-20 layersNeeded for more complex designs
20+ layersExtremely complex boards like ASICS, HDI

Choose a shop able to produce the layer counts you require both now and in the future.

Line Width/Spacing

The smaller the line width/spacing, the higher the circuit density possible.

6 milOnly useful for simple boards
4 milAllows moderately high density
2 mil or lessNeeded for advanced boards

Solder Mask Type

LPI solder mask offers superior durability, resolution and aesthetics compared to dry film solder mask.

Advanced Materials

Quick turn shops should provide materials beyond standard FR-4, such as Rogers, Arlon, polyimide etc.

Panel Sizes

Larger panel sizes improve efficiency, but individual boards may be needed for very low volume.

Quality Processes

Quality should not be sacrificed for speed. Look for these indicators of quality:

  • IPC Certification – IPC-6012 and IPC-A-610 certification indicates adherence to industry standards.
  • Validation Testing – Testing of bare boards including flying probe, boundary scan and netlist testing.
  • AOI – Automated optical inspection identifies defects human inspectors could miss.
  • CAM/Engineering – Dedicated engineering staff to analyze designs and resolve issues before production.
  • First Pass Yields – The percentage of boards passing testing the first time indicates quality consistency.
  • Test Points – Inclusion of test points on panelized boards enables quality measurement.

Services Beyond Fabrication

Many quick turn PCB manufacturers also offer invaluable services like:


Populating printed boards with components, not just bare PCB fabrication. Different levels include:

  • SMT Assembly – Populating boards with surface mount components
  • Thru-hole Assembly – Manual soldering of leaded components
  • Complete Box Build – Multi-board assemblies and cabling

DFM Analysis

Reviewing designs for manufacturability and providing feedback to optimize the design before fabrication.

Testing Services

Assistance with test plan development, fixture design, and performing functional testing of populated boards.

Supply Chain Management

Sourcing and procuring components needed for SMT assembly and kitting services.

Location Proximity

For the fastest possible turnaround, choose a quick turn PCB manufacturer located in your region:

  • North America for US-based companies
  • Europe for companies in EU region
  • Asia for companies located in APAC region

This avoids long shipping times from boards fabricated overseas.

Lead Time Capability

Look for manufacturers offering:

  • Standard lead times of 3-5 days
  • 2-3 day expedited services
  • 24-48 hour rush services for urgently needed boards

Avoid shops with lead times over 7 days which hampers rapid iteration.


Partnering with the right quick turn PCB manufacturer enables validating electronic designs in less than a week. Prioritize quality, capabilities, value-added services, and fast delivery when selecting among potential suppliers. Investing time in qualifying manufacturers will pay dividends through accelerated prototyping and product development down the road.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the main advantages of using a dedicated quick turn PCB manufacturer versus a generic PCB fabrication shop?

A: Quick turn specialists offer:

  • Faster standard and expedited lead times.
  • Processes optimized specifically for quick-turn work.
  • Lower minimum order quantities.
  • Higher prioritization for prototyping work.
  • More experience with urgent on-demand fabrication.
  • Services aimed at prototype support beyond just fabrication.

Q: What are the risks of choosing the cheapest quick turn PCB manufacturer?

A: Risks of choosing the cheapest include:

  • Lower quality standards and lack of testing.
  • Less financial stability and supply chain robustness.
  • Fewer value-added services beyond bare boards.
  • Overreliance on outsourcing without full control.
  • Lack of consistency and repeatability.
  • Potential delays for very urgent orders.

Q: What certifications should a quality quick turn PCB manufacturer have?

A: Key certifications are:

  • IPC-6012 Qualification to IPC’s fabrication standard.
  • IPC-A-610 Certification for acceptance of assembled boards.
  • ISO 9001 Certified quality management processes.
  • ITAR Registration for military and defense projects.
  • IPC Membership demonstrating commitment and engagement.

Q: What questions should I ask potential quick turn PCB fabrication partners?

A: Important questions include:

  • What are your standard and expedited lead times?
  • What additional services do you offer beyond fabrication?
  • What certifications and quality processes do you have?
  • How do you ensure consistent on-time delivery?
  • Can your engineers review designs for DFM feedback?
  • What is your quality performance metric history?
  • Do you have optimized processes for prototyping?

Q: What tips help get the best results when using a quick turn PCB manufacturer?

A: Tips for best results:

  • Engage the manufacturer early at the design stage for feedback.
  • Clearly communicate all requirements and expectations upfront.
  • Build a relationship with the account manager for priority support.
  • Review designs yourself for manufacturability before submitting files.
  • Immediately inspect boards upon receipt to catch any issues.
  • Provide thorough feedback after each prototyping iteration.
  • Share your overall product roadmap and forecast needs.
Categories: PCBA


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