See our new TIMESQUARE Watch Kit in all it’s blinky glory in this video that shows you the watch’s features, tells you how to set the time, and overviews the trickier parts of assembly. Check it out on YouTube (please subscribe!) and Vimeo.
The question of the day is: “What makes a good BOM?” There are a lot of BOM formats in use. It’s one area that the standards train more or less left behind. Well, there are standards. For example, IPC-2581 covers not only BOM standards, but a replacement for Gerbers and the whole manufacturing data package. One of these days, we’ll all be using the IPC-2581 formats for our data and life will be beautiful all of the time.
And here is his list of pointers to consider:
"BomItem" or "Item #": This is just the line number. Each type of part gets an item line, not each part. If the pat number is the same, you just put it down once and give the quantity.
"quantity" or "Qty": How many of this specific part you need per board
"RefDes": The reference designators used by the parts on the PCB silk screen. All of the same part number should be in the same excel spreadsheet cell: i.e., "R3, R4, R5, R6". You can also indicate a contiguous range with a dash: "R3-R6" or "R3-R6, R10, R15"
"Manufacturer" or "Manf": The name of the component manufacturer. It's best to spell out the full name, e.g., "Texas Instruments", but common abbreviations such as "TI" generally work too. The less ambiguity, the better.
"Mfg Part #" or "Manufacturer Part #": The part number that you would use if you were buying this exact part from the manufacturer or a distributor. All of the suffixes are important too. For example, "PIC16F88" is not enough when you really need a "PIC16F88-I/P".
"Dist. Part #" or "Distributor Part #":Not strictly necessary, but can help in cases with a bit of ambiguity. Again, this would need to be the exact part numer as you would order it from that distributor.
"Description"or "Desc": This is the component description as given by the manufacturer. Again, this isn't strictly required, just a good idea.
"Package": This is the standard package type, e.g., "SOT-23", "TO-92", "0201". Again, not strictly necessary but can be a good redundant check.
"Type": Optional indicator of the generic type. e.g., "fine pitch", "smt", "thru-hole", "Leadless". Not required but can help with assembly quoting.
Check out the DIY-centric “Making Things” series at the experimental retail venue STORY during the month of October, in partnership with GE Garages. (Schedule for talks.)
In particular, check out Oct 21st when I will be giving demos for using 3D printers and Adafruit DIY electronic kits in tandem. (I’ll share the Skillshare link to sign up for the hands-on demo this week when it launches.)
3D Printing & DIY Electronics w/ Matthew Griffin, Adafruit
A hands-on interactive workshop where participants can learn about the design practices of 3D printing and execute wild and ambitious ideas in solid plastic. Matthew Griffin is Adafruit’s director of community support and evangelism. He has a long held passion for using technology to create art and document experiences.
Steve on Flickr writes: “A recently acquired 1978 Heathkit dip meter, in excellent shape and tested very close to calibration. Had to replace the rotted foam that held the 9volt battery in place, but that was no hardship.”
One of our favorite things to sell here at Adafruit are experimentation/beginners kits. We know that with every one of these kits that we sell, we are introducing someone to a new hobby or skill. Thankfully, Adafruit stocks a huge variety of experimentation kits for all age levels. Here are our favorites:
We also offer a great starter pack for the Arduino. This pack includes everything you need to follow along with Ladyada’s fantastic Arduino tutorial. Once you have completed the online tutorials you will have some great gear to get you started on your first project. We also have a budget Arduino pack that will allow you to finish Ladyada’s tutorial as well.
mbed is another really powerful microcontroller that is also super easy to use thanks to the mbed online IDE. We have this neat mbed RFID/NFC starter kit that will not only introduce you to the mbed, but also teach you how to incorporate RFID/NFC into your projects.
Wave JT is a multi-function LED chaser/scanner/sequencer. Wave JT incorporates Joule Thief to power the LEDs, so it operates on just a single AA battery.
Wave JT has over 16 sequence patterns, and speed can be adjusted by double/triple tapping the button. It’s the most compact yet versatile LED chaser.
Sequence patterns include many variation of the classic “Larson Scanner”, random sparks, fade in/out, flashing, etc.
This developed as a spinoff from the hardware and controllers I’m designing for a range of nixie clocks and watches as a ‘simple’ project that wouldn’t need much software to complete it.
All visible parts are made from materials contemporary with Nixie technology and no modern plastics or resins are used anywhere in its’ consruction (other than the electronic components and PCBs). The board and pieces are machined from phenolic resin laminate and assembled using brass fittings. The brown base pieces have been filled and wiped with gold and silver engravers wax, giving a ‘worn gilding’ appearance.
The displays are ex-Soviet Nixie gas display tubes, manufactured in the early 1980s.
Kinetic Creatures are a set of three walking cardboard animal sculptures. The Creatures, Elly the elephant, Rory the rhino, and Geno the giraffe, are each made up of cardboard pieces that you assemble using tabs-and-slots. By turning the wire handle the creatures come alive with a simple mechanical motion.
We recently updated our distributor, reseller and hackerspace pricing! Now, 1 quantity has UP TO a 30% discount off many items, this is allows you to get a great discount by just ordering 1 of something. Great for folks who just want to try 1 item of each of something out in their store, etc. As always, once you order 50+ or more of something the discount goes UP TO 40% off many items as well. Note! *Not ALL items have reseller pricing, reseller pricing is for items we can discount for our resellers. We are adding more all the time! Remember, the minimum order is $250 per order, not including shipping.
We have a very easy reseller program and would love to have more great people & companies as a distributors/resellers/hackerspaces. Our products are high-quality and we think they’re the best engineered & designed in the market. How can you be a distributor? Just fill our form here, keep in mind the following questions!
Are you an online store, a physical store or a hackerspace that would like to distribute our products? Please include a link.
Can you place orders $250 and over (Not including shipping) each time?
Can you pay via paypal or credit card? For international large orders, can you pay via wire transfer?
Do you have a UPS account? (This is not required, but helpful).
Smart startups don’t try to compete with behemoths. Dumb startups sometimes do. Fusion Garage was the company contracted to design and build the CrunchPad tablet in 2009, which, after ages in “development” … came to market as the hideous and overpriced JooJoo. (Like, just in time to compete with the iPad.) The company’s followups, the conceptually interesting but dangerously undercooked Grid 4 smartphone and Grid 10 tablet, got a bit of attention before the company, which had probably shipped no more than a few hundred units of anything, ever, collapsed under $40 million in debt.
Microsoft can afford to do this right. So can Apple, Samsung, LG, HTC and Sony. But some startup? Not a chance. When it comes to hardware, young geniuses need not apply. The line for Code Academy starts over here.
FOR ANYONE who still does not quite grasp the technologically obsolescent U.S. Postal Service’s calamitous financial situation, here are a few facts from Thursday’s Government Accountability Office report.
First-class mail, the source of half of USPS’s revenue, has declined from 104 billion pieces per year to 74 billion pieces over the last decade. Estimates are that volume will shrink by 34 billion more pieces by 2020. Meanwhile, the postal service calculates that almost half of its 461 mail-processing facilities are redundant. The USPS’s $25 billion in losses over the last five fiscal years have left it within $2 billion of exhausting its $15 billion line of credit with the U.S. Treasury, which is the only thing standing between the postal service and total collapse.
In February, USPS projected that annual losses would rise to $21 billion by 2016 and proposed a plan to cut costs by an offsetting amount. This would involve dramatic reductions in the USPS infrastructure and workforce. But there appears to be no alternative. “The Postmaster General has stated that maintaining a vast national postal infrastructure is no longer realistic,” the GAO notes.
Tax day is next Tuesday, so we wrote about how we do our taxes as a sole proprietor/single member LLC. We show our actual supporting documentation for things like travel expenses for the Open Hardware Summit and Maker Faires, and our accounting of tool and equipment deductions. We hope it will help some new kit makers get a jump start on taxes, instead of freaking out at the last minute like we did the first time.