…Big semiconductor companies are jumping on the bandwagon of open source reference boards. But their chips’ intellectual property remains carefully guarded corporate crown jewels. …
The Open Hardware Summit is the annual conference organized by the Open Source Hardware Association and the world’s first comprehensive conference on open hardware; a venue to discuss and draw attention to the rapidly growing Open Source Hardware movement. Speakers include world renowned leaders from industry, academia, and the maker community. Talks cover a wide range of subjects from electronics and mechanics to related fields such as digital fabrication, fashion technology, self-quantification devices, and DIY bio. Workshops focus on, but are not limited to, education, manufacturing, design, business, and law.
The call is on a short schedule this year: Submissions are due by 25th of May 2014.
Over at Thingiverse, user gkrangan posted this wacky contraption: A machine to write with a stylus on a Boogie Board e-writer, built from PrintrBot Simple frame components, along with EggBot electronics and the pen-holder. It’s driven through the EggBot extensions for Inkscape.
I was initially taping an index card onto the print platform for testing purposes, but when I saw this Boogie Board at a toy store, it seemed like a perfect choice to be used as the writing surface. One can draw/write anything on it, and erase with a press of a button. Of course, it can still be removed and any other suitable surface can be taped or mounted on the print platform, as necessary.
Printer Egg Boogie Board Bot @ Thingiverse
Best Practices for Open Source Hardware in 2014
In the past year OSHWA, the Open Source Hardware Association, has worked with the community to develop a modern list of best practices for designing, releasing and building upon existing open source hardware projects. Windell Oskay, Vice President of OSHWA, will discuss recommended approaches, touching upon open source design tools, documentation, hosting, licenses, and other current issues. Time permitting, we will also take questions from the audience.
The talk is scheduled for Saturday, May 17, 4:45-5:00 pm. You can find the rest of the center stage schedule for Maker Faire right here.
A minor bump for one of our little open source Arduino add-ons. The Simple Relay Shield is an easy to use single-relay board that does one thing, and does it well: It adds a beefy little mechanical relay to an Arduino, which you control through pin Digital 4.
Version 2.0 adds the ability — by popular request — to control it from a pin other than D4. Solder the jumper in the normal way (in location JP), and it works on pin D4. Hook it up to any other digital pin, say to D7, and now you have a relay on that pin. The Simple Relay Shield is available as a complete soldering kit or as a bare PCB, and you can find documentation on our wiki.
The Open Source Beehives project is currently running a crowdfunding campaign with the goal of gathering information from sensor equipped hives throughout the world to help solve bee population problems like colony collapse syndrome. The sensors can also be used by individual beekeepers to monitor the health of their hive.
Even without the sensors and the citizen science, their hive designs are beautiful.
I have fallen in love with your Diavolinos – thank you!
My question: does the “Simple target board” allow for the 6-pin FTDI Friend hookup to upload sketches? This is quick and easy with the Diavolino. I’m new to reading circuits and stuff, and I cannot tell looking at the target board. It says to use in-system programmer, but I prefer to not buy another interface. Thanks!
Excellent question! It is certainly possible, but not as quick and easy. Both the Diavolino and our ATmegaXX8 target boards boards use the same chip, usually the ATmega328P. But, one might say that our ATmegaXX8 board is a simple AVR target board optimized for use with an AVR ISP programmer (like the USBtinyISP), whereas the Diavolino is a simple target board optimized for use with the FTDI interface.
Versus a “bare” target board (with just the chip and power), there are four things that you would normally add, in order to use the FTDI interface to upload a sketch from within the Arduino environment:
Back in 2009, we helped support the launch on Kickstarter of MakerBeam, a miniature open source aluminum T-slot profile construction set. Just a few months later, we wrote about receiving our first batch of MakerBeam parts. And while there were some good things that might be said about those first-batch parts, there were some not-so-good things as well. For example, custom screws that couldn’t really be tightened and fastening plates made of too-brittle plastic. With some improvement — stainless steel brackets — MakerBeam eventually found limited distribution in 2011 at Sparkfun in the USA and at MakerBeam.eu, but on the whole, it seemed to be fizzling out of existence.
But, things change, sometimes for the better. In 2012, Terence Tam’s excellent OpenBeam (a slightly larger T-slot profile, also currently sold by MakerBeam.eu) came roaring out of the gate, reminding us of what great things one can build out of extrusion profiles. Meanwhile, the folks from MakerBeam.eu took hold of MakerBeam and began to run with it — turning a languishing project into an open source hardware success story. They recently sent us a starter kit to review, and we have to say— we were blown away.
To begin with, they redesigned the profile itself. The basic proportions are still the same (10 mm across), but the new shape has a thicker solid core that improves strength, and now allows the ends to be tapped. (The hole does not go all the way through.) They also started having their profiles anodized, providing a harder outer surface, and tapping the ends.
Next up: Nicely made stainless steel angle brackets and fastening plates. Rock solid when bolted down, although (things being small) you may need to use several of them to get the kind of rigidity that you need for certain applications. We already had some of these shapes from the original MakerBeam makers.
Silly: Some of the fastening plates (the ones designed by the original MakerBeam team) are inscribed with the angle in fractions of Tau, as in τ/4 instead of 90°. Our guess: it’s certain to please many fewer people than it annoys.
And, most important: A fastening system that really works. These stainless steel M3 screws with modified pyramid-shaped button socket cap heads are simply fantastic. They slide easily into and out of the MakerBeam slots, and lock into place perfectly with a simple hex nut on the exterior.
There are arguments to be said for and against putting screw heads in the channels, but if you’re going to do it, you had damn well better do it right. And, finally, someone is doing it right. You can read about the evolution of the fasteners on the MakerBeam.eu blog, here, here, here, here, and here.
Old components, Left side: MakerBeam profile 1.0, old-style screws, machined ABS fastening plate.
New components, Right side: MakerBeam profile 2.0, new screws, stainless steel fastening plates.
So, after nearly five years, MakerBeam has come of age, and finally fulfilled its promise of being a really nice miniature construction set. Our congratulations and thanks to MakerBeam.eu for doing such a great job of this, and especially for making these sets available for everyone else.
“I think this is one of the best field trips I’ve ever been on,” one of the sixth-graders said, unprompted by any of the adults (or reporters) in the room. “This one, you actually build something.”