What is NoTouch PCB Service?

Our NoTouch PCB service enables you to get cost-effective bare boards through an online service.

You will have to upload your files and run our automatic DFM file verification before you can place an order.

Click here to Get a NoTouch Quote

What does NoTouch Guarantee?

Every NoTouch product comes with the guarantee that if your design has no manufacturability issues and conforms to our guidelines and restrictions, you’ll receive an exemplary board.

Our NoTouch process and manufacturing is highly automated. Your responsibility is to make sure your boards meet our specs and guidelines, and ours is to provide you a board manufactured to that design!

What files do I need to include?

  • Gerber files in RS-274X format only (Extended Gerber) or ODB++ format. Do NOT use Gerber X2 format!
  • AND
  • Excellon drill file in ASCII format with the following parameters:
    • Units = Inch
    • Tool Units = Inch
    • Coordinate = Absolute
    • Zeros omitted = Trailing
    • Number format = 2.4

What is the difference between buying NoTouch vs. Web PCBs?

NoTouch PCBs and Web PCBs are two online promotions for buying PCBs from Sierra Circuits. Each has its specific advantages for different customers.

With NoTouch PCBs promotion, we always analyze your design files even before you place an order! However, this means that after you upload your design, you need the ability to assign which file is which layer, so that our Automatic File Verification (AFV) program can determine if there are any discrepancies (say, annular ring is not wide enough, or traces are too thin, etc.)

If there are any discrepancies, you will get a detailed report and will have to fix your design and upload again. Once your design passes the AFV, only then can you place an order and your design will be manufactured just like that, with no human intervention (hence “NoTouch”). Because of all the pre-order AFV checks, you can also be sure that your NoTouch order will never go on-hold in the fabrication.

Of course, since NoTouch depends more on automation than CAM engineers, we can provide you with great low prices for your PCBs. On the flip side, you can only order very simple “standard technology” 2 to 6 layer boards with NoTouch.

With Web PCBS promotion, you don’t need the ability to load files and assign layer…so in a sense it is also the quickest and most convenient way to order. The prices may be slightly higher than NoTouch because in this promotion live CAM engineers will analyze your files to detect any manufacturability issues. If issues are found, your order may be put on hold until we resolve it with your cooperation.

However, with Web PCBs there is a much broader range of PCBs that can be ordered online, including PCBs up to 12 layers with controlled impedances, special colored solder mask/silkscreen, special finishes, etc.

You can also quote and order Assembly labor and components!

A component quote can be obtained online in about a minute by loading your BOM excel file.

Bottom line, we are quite sure that based on your specific project needs and expertise, one of these online promotions, NoTouch or Web PCBs, will get you the boards you want.

Of course, if none of these online promotions can fulfill your needs (say, you need very complex, 22-layer, metal-core PCBs), just ask us for a custom quote!

What are the most common reasons for issues in a NoTouch order?

We have found that if our customers watch out for the following TEN pitfalls in their board design and NoTouch submission, they can be almost 100% sure of getting boards manufactured without issues.

Most Common Issues in a NoTouch Board:

  • If any file in your Gerber packages is corrupt or missing.
  • If some Gerber file has not been assigned correctly; example if during our AFV submission, on layer assignment screen, you assign your bottom copper layer as top layer– you may end up getting bad boards.
  • If a complete board outline has not been provided. (We need full outline, not just crop marks.)  The board outline must be on one of the layers, preferably on the solder mask layer.
  • If the layers are not properly aligned in your design.
  • If your drill file is corrupt or incomplete. Also, note that if some of the holes in your design lie outside or on the board outline the job may be rejected. (In NoTouch, we only drill holes INSIDE the board outline.)
  • If the Gerber data is not in 274x format or if the Gerber files are not 1:1 (true size).
  • If the copper pour areas in your design are filled with trace width of less than 6 mils.
  • If the actual dimensions of your board are not what you entered. (We want you to be accurate: eg. 4.35″ X 3.22″)
  • If more than 1 circuit board design exists on the image. (Please include only one circuit board design per order; no multiple part numbers masquerading as one design)
  • If your design exceeds maximum individual dimension (15.9″) on any side or if a single board area exceeds 100 sq inches.

Are there any Design Tips to ensure my NoTouch boards are processed smoothly?

Apart from following the overall specs e.g., minimum 0.004″ trace & space,0.005″ minimum annular ring, 0.008″ minimum hole size etc., please do the following:

  • Do provide a full board outline (not just crop marks in the corners). Also ensure that each straight line in the outline is made of one continuous line segment, not multiple line segments.
  • Make sure all your layers are properly aligned.
  • Make sure your drill data is as complete as it can be. And do check your Design Software settings so drill file is output correctly:  
    • Format = Excellon
    • Data Type = ASCII
    • Units = Inch
    • Tool Units = Inch
    • Coordinate = Absolute
    • Zeros omitted = Trailing
    •  Number format = 2.4
  • Make sure all your holes lie within the board outline. Holes on or outside the board outline will not be drilled.

After you upload your files, our system will read in your data and ask you to confirm the information.  You will be required to provide/confirm the following:

1) The polarity (positive or negative) for each of your Gerber files. E.g., Is your plane layer in positive or negative format?

2) Which holes in your drill file are plated and which ones are non-plated.

Kindly note these data submission requirements that will help ensure that your designs easily pass the Auto File Verification.

1) Layers must be aligned and viewed from the top side of the board. If your boards are not properly aligned, our auto file verification program will attempt to align them. If it is not able to properly align them, the job may be rejected.

2) Crop Marks are not allowed.

The following figure has crop marks to show the outline. Our automation DOES NOT like this.

Correct board outline must be present on one of the board layer (solder mask preferred).

The following figure has a proper board outline. Our automation likes this!

Also, please note that the center of the outline needs to be the board outline. For example, in the picture below, the outline is for a 1×1 inch board, notice that the dimension is being taken from the center of the outline.

Can you show me examples of drill files that are acceptable to your system?

We expect your drill file to be Excellon drill file in ASCII format with the following parameters:

  • Units = Inch
  • Tool Units = Inch
  • Coordinate = Absolute
  • Zeros omitted = Trailing
  • Number format = 2.4

Here are two examples of good drill files:

Example 1

R,T

VER,1

FMAT,2

INCH,TZ

TCST,OFF

ICI,OFF

ATC,ON

T1C0.0350

T2C0.0550

T3C0.0650

T4C0.1300

%

M47,OrCAD PCB Drill V2.01

M47,Holes between Component Layer and Solder Layer

G05

T1

X002595Y000895

X003057Y000897

X003860Y003810

X003905Y004495

X004395Y007910

X005500Y019500

X005500Y030000

X005650Y005260

X005920Y004340

T2

X013350Y038500

Example 1

%

T1C0.0350F200S100

X002595Y000895

X003057Y000897

X003860Y003810

X003905Y004495

X004395Y007910

X005500Y019500

X005500Y030000

X005650Y005260

X005920Y004340

T2C0.0550F200S100

X013350Y038500

Please explain more to me regarding board outlines and filled areas.

Board Outlines

You need to provide the correct board outline on one of the Gerber files (we prefer it be on solder mask layer). The outline needs to be constructed by a single line (not multiple line segments) that connect to each other (10 mil line width preferred), and the dimensions are calculated using the center of the line. See examples below:

An example of a good outline:

(Notice how the measurement is taken from the center of the line.)

Crop marks instead of line:

Not clean at the corner:

Here the outline is made using multiple lines and overlapping lines, instead of a single line. This is not allowed.

Some examples of bad outlines:

Filled Areas

Filled areas must be filled using 10 mil outlines with 1 mil overlap. Use 0 and/or 90-degree lines to do the fill. We have found that some CAD systems will leave gaps in the fill areas when using 45-degree line. Crosshatch is not allowed. See examples below.

Here we have one mil (0.001″) overlap:

This is an example of a plane area using a Cross Hatch pattern. Cross Hatch patterns are not allowed.

Please explain in more detail what you mean by positive and negative polarities.

Here are examples that will show you what we mean by positive or negative polarities for different kinds of layers. (Please note: red represents data and black represents the absence of data.)

Silkscreen:

Positive

Negative

Solder mask:

Positive

Negative

IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT solder mask polarity: It is important that you understand that the polarity of solder mask is almost always POSITIVE from a manufacturing perspective. There is some confusion in the industry about this because during the design stage and in many design software these may be referred to as negative, but from a PCB manufacturing perspective, these are called positive.

Here is how you can understand how PCB manufacturers interpret polarity in a solder mask:

If your solder mask data represents the “absence of solder mask” then the data is in POSITIVE polarity.

In other words: if your data shows the places which you WANT TO SOLDER, then your solder mask layer is in POSITIVE format.

So when you are in the layer assignment screen on our website, it is most likely that solder mask should be assigned as positive polarity.

Plane layer:

Positive

Signal layer:

Negative

Positive

Negative

Why does NoTouch recommend a minimum width of 5 mils for silkscreen/legend?

We currently use two different processes to print the Silkscreen.

One process uses an Ink Jet Printer which uses a 5 mil dot for printing. If your line width is below 5 mils, the line will be printed as 5 mils, but the writing may blotchy and not readable.

The other is a screening process, where a film gets printed on a screen. In this case, if your line width is below 5 mils, it may not get printed at all!

Resolution: If your silkscreen is less than 5 mils, increase the line widths to at least 5 mils and make sure the text is readable after the increase.

Please note that our automated program does not check for the width of silkscreen. It is up to the customer to ensure that the silkscreen width is more than 5 mils. In any case, this requirement does not affect the electrical functionality of the board.

What is automatic sliver repair?

“Slivers” refer to small sections or partials of the dry film. Any small partials of dry film resist have the potential of being lifted off the panel after developing and may re-deposit itself in an area where it could be detrimental to the end product. Such re-deposited resist slivers may cause shorts and/or opens on the end product. In a well-designed PCB, features that could result in small dry film resist slivers are modified to increase the amount of resist to aid in the adhesion of the resist to the laminate.

In NoTouch, we have customized our design software to automatically fix slivers in your design. This enables us to provide boards with less chances of shorts and opens caused by slivers. 

What is the NoTouch Product Cancellation Policy?

Once your order has been placed online and is accepted, we immediately panelize it and automatically move it to production. Therefore, we do not allow cancellation of NoTouch orders.

How do you calculate turn time? If I place an order today, when will my NoTouch boards be shipped?

You can order NoTouch PCBS in 3 days, 4 days or 10 days turn times. The cutoff time for placing the order is 5 PM Pacific Time (as opposed to other companies’ cutoff times of 9 AM or 12 noon). Our late cut-off gives you the whole day to finish designing your boards and submit an order.

If you were to place an order today, click HERE to see when your boards will ship.

Can we do a Will-Call pickup? What are the guidelines for Will-Call ?

Yes, we do allow will-calls for NoTouch, with the following guidelines.

  • A service charge of $15 applies to every will-call order.
  • On the day that your boards are due, we will give you a confirmation call by 4 PM.
  • Boards can be picked up from our lobby at
    1108 West Evelyn Avenue,
    Sunnyvale, CA 94086
  • Your order can be picked up only between 5 to 6 pm PST.
  • Please have a printed sales order confirmation ready and a valid ID.
  • Once you are in the lobby, please call NoTouch Support Team at (408) 735-7137 x 9939.
  • In the rare case when a Will-Call order is not ready on the due date, the service charges will be canceled.