What is a reasonable panel size to choose when ordering panelized PCBs from my manufacturer if I want to be able to get them assembled by as many PCB assemblers as possible (i.e. I haven't decided on which assembler to use yet, and/or I may change to a different assembler in the future).

Also, are tooling holes needed on the tooling strips, or are just plain tooling strips sufficient?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Talk to the board house. \$\endgroup\$ – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Sep 28 '16 at 16:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Then talk to a few more who might be likely candidates. \$\endgroup\$ – Andy aka Sep 28 '16 at 16:51

The panels actually used are something like 18" x 24", for your internal panelized PCBs using about letter size (A4) is probably reasonable as a first cut.

The PCB house is not the only, perhaps not even the main, consideration. You have to make sure your assembly houses can all handle the size of the panelized boards or your assembly costs will skyrocket.

You should put tooling holes in the tooling strips and fiducials, plus additional fiducials around BGAs and such like.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Four sheets of letter size A4 would fit on a panel of 18" x 24" \$\endgroup\$ – Uwe Sep 29 '16 at 15:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Uwe. Yes, so it should be efficient enough for the PCB maker and small enough for the assembly work flow (pick and place, stencil print, oven). If your boards are too big to get many in an A4/letter size then it might pay to interact more closely with specific suppliers. \$\endgroup\$ – Spehro Pefhany Sep 29 '16 at 17:07

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