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Old 11 November 2012, 11:04   #7
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: out in the wild
Posts: 1,129
Originally Posted by TheRogue View Post
the electroplating gear (for through-hole plating) is being constructed,
You're wasting your money. Use a PCB service for prototypes and mass-production. Their quality is way better than what you can achieve at home, their service is cheap enough for you to buy at least the first 50 prototype-boards for the kind of money you need to spend on a CNC driller, chemical stuff, raw material and stuff.

If you really have the expertise to operate a good CAD system, you should spend all the time that you have available on that thing. Don't waste your time on free or cheap CAD systems - they waste your time. I make a sharp difference between CAD programs and paint programs. Eagle is a paint program. Pulsonix comes close to a CAD system, and my recommendation is Altium Designer. It's worth every dime.

If you have cash left over, hold it back, don't spend it all in the first few months of your new business. Trust me, you'll need *lots* of money for prototyping, components and external services. Yes, external services, because they have all the equipment that you're about to buy, but you won't ever have the time and the need to make full use of the stuff. It'll sit there collecting dust and binding your cash that you may need for buying components. If you use an external service, you keep your risk low. Do an online search for "PCB service" or "PCB pooling" - you'll probably find that there's more services locally than you thought.

Keep away from banks. They will most probably tell you things like "you need to buy equipment", just to sell you an overpriced credit. And they might even tell you that you must make a business plan that probably keeps spending over a certain limit for "tax optimizing". That's pure BS. Don't trust anyone who is telling you that spending money can save taxes. I've heard that over and over again from banks, tax advisers and more people who wanted to sell me things. There's only one truth: Before you can spend a dollar, you have to earn it. Your current cash situation might allow spending money on equipment, but it'll take a year or more until your business picks up. Save the money for bad times, only spend it for an immediate return possibility.

In my opinion, the most-needed thing in the retro-market is a trustworthy repair place. If someone has soldering or diagnosis work to do on his/her beloved retro system, he/she is left with good advice in forums, but most of the time the soldering skills of the average user aren't good enough to exchange even 2-pin components.

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