03 Feb 2014

Open Source PCB

Open Hardware

In the previous post I open sourced the chassis designs and this time it's the turn of the PCB.

The PCBs are designed in Eagle CAD and you can download the schematics and board designs from the GitHub repository if you want to modify or improve them. Alternatively, I've also packaged up the Gerber files for this first public release here. You can send these off to somewhere like Ragworm to get them made.

Read more
22 Jan 2014

Open Source Chassis

Open Hardware

This project has always been about building an open source robot, but until now the physical hardware was not actually open source, only some of the arduino libraries I had written to drive it. I'm proud to announce a new GitHub repository (https://github.com/bjpirt/mirobot-chassis) which contains the CAD files for making the chassis. You can take these and cut your own now should you feel that way inclined. The easiest way if you don't have your own laser cutter is probably to use Razor Lab - there's a file already laid out to send to them.

I'm waiting for what should be the final version of the ...

Read more
10 Jan 2014

PCBs for Kids

It was a real eye-opener soldering the PCBs with the kids over Christmas. It's amazing how, as someone who can solder, you forget how tricky it can be. I've spent the last day or so re-working the Mirobot PCB to try and make the soldering a bit easier. There are a few techniques I've tried which will hopefully eliminate most of the errors.

Increase the isolation on the solder side

Increased isolation

The default isolation spacing doesn't leave a lot of room for error. You can see in this image showing before and after that there's a much bigger gap around the solder pads. This should do away with most of the shorts ...

Read more
08 Jan 2014

The First Milestone

The main reason I started designing Mirobot was to be able to build it with my kids so Christmas seemed like the perfect opportunity to do this.

The kids with their robots

The things you learn from doing real user testing are fantastic. They both assembled the chassis and managed to solder the circuit board mostly by themselves. Obviously there was a lot of adult supervision but they both seemed to really enjoy the process of actually building something for Christmas, not just getting it out of a box. The easier it is to build, the more likely people are to use it and recommend it to others, so I'll be designing out some ...

Read more