I have an idea of an electronic device, some kind of a gadget. It will have a bluetooth chip, some memory in it, some led indicators and some controlling chips, not sure yet how it should be constructed. What I need now is to estimate an approximate cost of the gadget hardware itself including the board, chips and the plastic case. What is a good way to calculate the cost?
Here is what I use for estimates, they are not accurate by any means be at least gives me an idea:
- $0.50 per part to be soldered
- $300-$400 for a PCB order under a quantity of 100. Divide by the number of boards you want to get the cost per board
- If you already know what parts you are using, add up their cost
- Add on an extra buffer to account for all of the stuff you haven't thought of
Parts cost is all about volumes. If you're making a handful, go with the prices on Farnell/Digikey/Mouser/etc. and buy from there.
If you're making in even modest quantities, you need to get on the phone with suppliers and request quotes.
As others have said, accurately predicting manufacturing costs is also hard.
Estimating project cost is an art. It can be guesstimated by kludging together development time, parts and manufacturing cost. Time really is money, so the first thing to do is break down how long each part of the development cycle is going to take, then multiply by 3X. Only you know how much your time is worth -- I go by 5CAD/hr-15CAD/hr for personal projects, 25CAD/hr-50CAD/hr for contract work (experienced EE's use 100-200/hr). As Leon mentioned, multiply parts cost by ~3X for manufacturing, including enclosure.