There are indeed services to create both panels and pcbs. For panels, providing you stick with MOTM, you can go with Front Panel Express. You provide them a template and specs and you get excellent quality products at a pretty good price.SynthmonkE wrote:For the DIY schematics, are there places to have the pcb and front panel etched if they are not sold? As much as I am into the DIY to save money, I really do not have the space or resources to be messing with pcb etching or panel creation.
PCBs will require more work as you will have to submit a design file to a service that will produce the board for you. These services, however, are generally for production runs so getting a single board made will be either very difficult or very expensive.
As for you mention of DIY to save money - forget it. DIY is not less expensive than purchasing modules outright. You will get a better ROI buy purchasing a PCB from Modular Addict, SynthCube or another vendor rather than paying a manufacturer to produce it for you.
In addition, parts are more expensive the fewer you buy. Manufacturers purchase parts in the hundreds and thousands to reduce the cost.
For example, one of the toggle switches on a module I build / sell costs me over $18. In order to reduce the price to a mere $15 I'd have to buy 100 of them. Since this switch is used in only one type of module out of the dozens I build it really isn't worth the $1500 outlay.
You also have to factor time in to your cost calculations. It can take several days to build a module even if you have a PCB, panel and all the parts handy. Having to produce your PCBs and panels adds another layer of your time that has to be added into the cost.
For the most part, DIYers tend to build out of love rather than to try to save money. This (I feel) is because the thrill of producing a product or even potentially improving on a product through mods is what they (we) seek.
You can accomplish great things by building your modules yourself. It's a lot of fun, if meticulously wiring tiny components is your idea of fun, but it's definitely not the way to save a lot of cash.