Mailing Bare PCB Boards via USPS

Discussion in 'Packing & Shipping' started by lukiedog, Mar 15, 2018.

  1. lukiedog

    lukiedog Super Member

    Messages:
    1,392
    Location:
    North Georgia
    I once got some boards sent to me by an eBay vendor who placed them in a regular letter sized envelope, which would seem like a reasonable approach, except that they arrived bent due to running through rollers. Is there a trick of some sort to get this to not happen, other than using a box, which would really boost the price?
     

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  2. whoaru99

    whoaru99 Epic Member

    Messages:
    40,949
    Location:
    LoTL
    Maybe try some cardboard stiffeners on both sides, but the box cost might end up less than more experiments just to end up with more damaged boards anyway. Penny wise, pound foolish, pehaps?
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2018
  3. usedto

    usedto Lunatic Member

    Messages:
    16,456
    Location:
    Central Moonbeamia
    What are the dimensions of the board?
     
  4. lukiedog

    lukiedog Super Member

    Messages:
    1,392
    Location:
    North Georgia
    OK, I will answer my own question. Thing is to not use standard letter sized envelopes to send flat items like bare pcb boards. What is needed is that the letter be "non-machinable" through automation equipment. Publication 25 of the USPS has a few paragraphs defining what this is. In general an odd sized letter such as 5"x8" (there is an aspect ratio that it has to fall outside of) or one of those soft white plastic like envelopes would make the letter non-machinable. The system also detects if there is an irregularly shaped item in the letter such as a bottle cap, it would render that non machinable even if in a letter sized envelope. The boards I got seem to have gotten by the sorting out of non machinable mail and was machine processed. There is an 11" drum it is tightly wrapped around which curved the boards. Box would probably be best, there is a small flat rate box at $6.25. By the time a plastic envelope or irregularly sized letter is purchased and postage put on it, common sense would say put it in a box if it fits.
     
  5. luvvinvinyl

    luvvinvinyl Aggie! Staff Member Admin Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,413
    Location:
    Windsor, Ontario, Canada
    Boxboard photo mailers. Odd sizes, stiff, inexpensive. Got mine at the USPS office.
     
  6. usedto

    usedto Lunatic Member

    Messages:
    16,456
    Location:
    Central Moonbeamia
    I'll ask mine again - what size are the boards?

    Also, how many do you buy at once? Is the seller offering free shipping? Are the boards expensive, or cheap?

    I looked on ebay after reading your first post to see what boards cost. If you're buying one or two $6.85 boards and expect the free shipping to be in a $6.70 small flat rate box. it doesn't pencil for the seller. If you pay the shipping, request the flat rate box or envelope.

    I sell some blank military vehicle ID plates that I can wrap in cardboard and still keep them under 16 oz for first class package.
     

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  7. jdurbin1

    jdurbin1 Tandberg enthusiast Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,771
    Location:
    San Diego
    Someone shipped me some tape deck parts recently in a regular business-size envelope, with a first class stamp. The parts were not what you would call flat (originally), and got steamrollered pretty good by the machine sorting. Salvageable but barely.

    Not sure why anyone thinks a regular envelope is a good way to mail ANYTHING that isn't also flat yet bendable w/o breaking, i.e. pieces of paper and the like. If they're in the business of selling circuit boards, they should know that.

    John
     
    Bill Ferris likes this.
  8. lukiedog

    lukiedog Super Member

    Messages:
    1,392
    Location:
    North Georgia

    The boards were gainclone pcbs about 3"x4". There were two in the envelope and that was it. So the envelope was relatively flat (no bumps like the bottle cap example) and regular. The sellers of these items should know that they need to make the letter non-machineable, but it probably doesn't hurt to tell them the danger of placing in a regular envelope. I think placing enough cardboard for the letter to be greater than 1/4" works, but the criteria needs to be looked at in Publication 25 and also allow for the system to machine a letter than marginally exceeds the criteria.
     
  9. ScramMan2

    ScramMan2 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,175
    Location:
    Portland OR
    Pricey. See Bags Unlimited or Amazon.
     
  10. lukiedog

    lukiedog Super Member

    Messages:
    1,392
    Location:
    North Georgia
    In conclusion bubble bags and odd sized cardboard mailers are the way to ship bare boards via USPS so as to not incur damage.
     

Share This Page