So: I look at the planned respin of the Probe-O-Zap, and figure I can shoehorn the revised & updated (and slightly more complex) design into 1.875 x 0.475 inches.
Now, how about a quick online quote for, say, 100 pieces, with a not-especially-fast turn? Preferably panelized for more efficient assembly?
Hmph. Even without panelization, Sunstone wants several dollars per board, in hundreds. Sierra Circuits and PC Fab Express, at least using their easy-quote form, won't touch anything under 0.5" wide, and with that adjustment they're still only a little cheaper than Sunstone.
Given that a pile'o'boards on a 2-week-ish turn from OSH Park would run about $1.50 per board, with easy ordering... maybe I'll get in touch and see about quantity orders, and whether they can be delivered in panelized form. And also talk to an NPI assembly house over in Fremont, that might have a favorite fab service.
Or, I could try the usual vendors' full-service options. Which I've always assumed were even more expensive, but maybe it gets better in hundreds. Or get in touch with an overseas fab.
Not that I'm making commitments at this point, not yet having done a market survey nor secured a steady supply of the Mystery Component. My supplier claims to have at least hundreds available at a good price, but a single run of 100 units probably isn't worth the trouble (best guesstimate, it starts making sense at around 1000 pieces in the first year).
Update: (a) yes, OSH Park can do what I want; (b) a regular PCB manufacturer can do the same thing, cheaper, if I'm willing to order maybe 1000 pieces at a whack, which is not the case at this point, but perhaps in a few months, if the component situation proves favorable and the product really takes off. Near-term, likely case is 10 panelettes with 20 little boards per.