I bought a LED voltage display module on E*bay.. Ugh..some of the assembly was messy. I spotted 2 tee-pee arranged chip resistors. Also, huge blobs of solder on all the SMD devices. It looks like a homebrew job. However, works great.
I'm curious... What other homebrew stuff are designers putting on E*bay? As an entrepreneur, I like to check out what others are doing..
Example: I just discovered this 85Mhz DDS generator that looks like a homebrew job. $60.00 Australia. Item number 290206362694.
Probably build by a smallish company in China, they do alot of stuff by hand, you'd be surprised. Often they don't have a flow solder process, its just a bank of people with soldering irons, or maybe a solder pot and pass the PCB over it holding it with pliers. Not much health and safety out there, and quality control consists of a person with a stamp or label, standards compliance such as ROHS consists of signs that say 'lead free work area'. Call me cynical, but I've seen it.
Soldering small items with SMT is feasible too, although they usually have SMT processes if they are making SMT procudts. Blobs and mess are usually the result of rework for component shortages or design problems.
After weeding out the defects from producing 10s of thousands, they can generally get them to work when you plug them in/use them, but there is little quality control on suppliers, methods or materials, so don't expect them to work for long.
The problem is most people don't mind that much if a £10 item fails after a year, economically its not a bad model. However its is an environmental disaster.