Best of 2018: MacroFab Edition

By The MacroFab Team  |  December 31, 2018

Everyone here at MacroFab would like to thank every one of our customers and supporters that have been with us over the past year. We appreciate our community for giving us amazing feedback to improve our online platform and for helping us grow our electronics podcast. For the very last blog post for 2018, I have compiled a list what I consider the best of MacroFab from this year!

New Feature Releases for the Platform

In 2017, we launched our net software interface for the MacroFab platform. This year in 2018, we expanded its capabilities, improved the platforms performance, and added new customization features for PCBs. Look forward for 2019 to bring even more features to our platform!

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February 2018 Platform Updates

  • Added support to the ODB++ and gerber importer to handle negative polarity copper layers
  • Improved the workflow for consignment parts
  • Faster auto matching for BoM part selection
  • Stock levels for selected components shown right on the BoM

Expanded PCB Layer Options. Introducing 10, 12, 14, and 16 Layer!

  • Originally MacroFab only supported up 8 layers for PCBs
  • Expanded to support up to 16 layer boards for even more complicated PCBA

Platform Updates: XLSX BoM and Dashboard Updates

  • Revamped XLSX BoM importer based on feedback from customers
  • Added outbound shipment tracking to user dashboards
  • 10-Day Prototype qualification check list for platform
  • Updated the API documentation

New Standard DRC Specifications: Prototype PCBs with Smaller Features!

  • Reduced the minimal size of our standard manufacturing specification
  • Allows for smaller, more compact designs to utilize our prototype class service

MacroFab in the News

MacroFab was founded in 2013 and we launched our online platform in 2015. Since then, MacroFab has redefined the electronics manufacturing experience and grown out of the original 800 square foot warehouse where Chris and I started the company at. Here are some news articles that where written about MacroFab over 2018.

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20180208 183919 e1518550607185 768x420

Chris Church Speaks at Greater Houston Partnership HYPE Event

  • MacroFab leader and founder Chris Church spoke at the Greater Houston - Partnership’s HYPE [re]Defined event on Thursday, Feb. 8th

  • Houston Young Professionals & Entrepreneurs (HYPE) brought together young professionals and entrepreneurs to engage in the diverse Houston community

Engineer Spotlight: MacroFab Co-Founder Parker Dillmann Explains PCB Design Trends

  • Parker Dillmann, lead EE and co-founder of MacroFab, aims to take some of the old-school pain out of product development and scaling processes
  • All About Circuits spoke with Parker to talk about old issues and new innovations in PCB design and fabrication

Houston-based MacroFab Names Misha Govshteyn as CEO

  • Announced that board member, Misha Govshteyn becomes the new Chief Executive Officer for MacroFab
  • Chris Church becomes the new Chief Product Officer for MacroFab

Houston electronics manufacturing company gears up for growth

  • Article on MacroFab’s rapid growth and what is to come next year

Podcast Growth and Best Episodes

With over 150 episodes, 320,000 plus total downloads, and a currently weekly rate of over 5000 downloads, the MacroFab Engineering Podcast is one of the more unique content we create here at MacroFab. What started as a experiment to generate weekly content for the blog has exploded to be part of our community and people’s weekly routine. In 2019, lets hope Stephen and I can keep our zero week missed streak going! Here are some of my favorite episodes we recorded over 2018.


Battlestar Gallactic Grounds

  • PCB grounding schemes and different PCB routing techniques

Tell Me How People Hurt You

  • Cross over episode with Elecia and Christopher White of the Embedded.FM podcast
  • Main topic of this podcast covered how to make Software and Hardware Engineers work better together

Tariff Impacts with Chris Church

  • It took 127 episodes to finally get the other founder of MacroFab, Chris Church, onto the podcast
  • This covered how the latest tariffs on electronic parts and assemblies would impact the US electronic contract manufacturing industry

It Depends – An In Depth Look at MLCCs with James Lewis

  • James Lewis, AKA the Bald Engineer, brings his wealth of knowledge of Multi-Layer Ceramic Capacitors to the podcast

Supply Chain Conspiracy Securities

  • Misha did not take that long to get onto the podcast compared to Church!
  • This podcast topic spurred from the allegations from Bloomberg and Super Micro Computer Inc.

Third Annual MacroFab Star Wars Christmas Special – Vader’s Fake Fingers

  • Our Annual StarWars Episode
  • This year we had Josh Rozier on the podcast who has been Stephen’s friend for decades
  • Topics include: Is the Force a Force?, Hyperspace Ramming, and 12 Parsecs?

Best of Engineering and Industry Articles

The goal of our blog is to educate our community and customers on electronic manufacturing industry news and create knowledge articles on aspects of electrical engineering design. Here are some of our top articles from this year.

Broken Tented Via LPI 768x357

Broken Tented Via LPI 768x357

3 Steps to Planning Parts Selection for Your Next Electronic Hardware Product

  • How to use the MacroFab platform to price out your new electronic design before you even finish your design
  • Can influence which parts you select during your design process due to price and availability

Via Tenting for PCB Design

  • What is Via Tenting and why does it matter?
  • Should you expose your vias or keep them tented? Well it depends

Lowering Manufacturing Costs with Custom Enclosures

  • How to design your product for medium volume production runs by customizing off shelf enclosures

Key Parts of an Arduino: How to Integrate the Arduino Platform into your Product

  • The Arduino platform is one of the most widely used hardware and software environments for developing and prototyping new products
  • This article covers how to integrate the Arduino hardware directly into your product to reduce costs and shrink your form factor

Decoding Tariff Impacts on US Electronics Manufacturing

  • Chris Church writes about the recent tariffs in this article
  • What will be the overall impact on product pricing due to the tariffs?

Step by Step Guide to go from Prototype to Production with MacroFab

  • Taylor Smith covers moving your product from the prototype phase to production
  • How does a product go through EVT, DVT, PVT, and finally MP

Around the Fab

This year was a big year of growth for our team and community surrounding MacroFab. Here are some articles that highlight our community and the culture we foster at MacroFab.


The Magic of MacroFam

  • Chris Colbert writes about how the “Fam” here at MacroFab operates

A Passion for Electronics Manufacturing

  • Ramon Torres shares his story about how he got into electronics and why he loves working at MacroFab

MacroFab Design Contest: Blink an LED Sponsored by Mouser Electronics

  • Our first large design contest, blink an LED!
  • Special thanks to the following judges that made this happen!
    • Elecia White podcast co-host at Embedded.FM
    • James Lewis of the Bald Engineer blog
    • Katherine Scott, computer vision and robotics guru
    • Derek Brodeur of The Current Source

Winners of the design contest!

  • Stephen and I covered the winners in MEP EP 138 of the podcast

The Many Hats of Startup Life

  • Taylor Smith talks about how working at a startup like MacroFab is challenging and rewarding

Some of Our Amazing Customers

Here is a small sample of some of the customers we showcased this year on our blog and main website! If you want to be featured in a case study or red hot PCB blog article let me know! We are always looking for the coolest products and amazing PCBAs to cover.

Woodkeys 423 768x512

Woodkeys 423 768x512

QWERTY Keyboard Badge for Hackaday

  • Revision of their Basic Badge for the 2018 SuperCon
  • Full QWERTY keyboard, beautiful color screen, and a speaker with 3-voice audio

Trusting Your Electronics Manufacturer through High Volume Production

  • Kinetic began working with MacroFab on prototypes and low-volume runs two years ago and continues to trust MacroFab through their growth

From Prototypes to Production with MacroFab

  • BuzzBox is a smart beehive monitoring assistant that uses artificial intelligence to inspect the hive’s health and report updates to the beekeeper’s mobile app

Moving from Electronic Prototyping to Kickstarter Success

  • Specdrums is a company that created a device designed to turn colors into sounds, with an end goal of making music more accessible to people of all ages and communities

Four Port USB Charger

  • The Pirl USB Charger allows any USB-A compatible device to charge up to 2.7A per port

  • Intelligently detects the maximum power a device requires and delivers it

  • There is no throttling when multiple devices are plugged in because each charging channel is independent

Single Key Mechanical Keyboard

  • The Big Switch is a fully-functional programmable macro key that runs QMK
    Ccomplete with 4 underglow RGB LEDs and one upfacing RGB LED to make it glow

See y’all next year in 2019!

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