Experimenting PCB rendering using KiCad, FreeCAD and Blender

Anool from Wyolum has published an exciting blog post about 3D renders:

Experimenting PCB rendering using KiCad, FreeCAD and Blender

I’ve been putting off using Blender since over 5 years, being intimidated by the complex UI and workflow, until this month when I mustered courage to go through Andrew Price’s Doughnut tutorials. My aim was to learn how to do photo-realistic renders of KiCad boards.

Experimenting PCB rendering using KiCad, FreeCAD and Blender

Flux Capacitor badge add-on


We really like this “Back to the Future”-themed Flux Capacitor badge add-on (SAO) by Squaro Engineering made with our “After Dark” service (which features clear soldermask on black fiberglass substrate).

Checkout the GitHub repo for more: sqfmi/BTTF-BADGE

The board is also available an OSH Park shared project
Order from OSH Park

Flux Capacitor badge add-on

Trash Dove Badge by Angela Sheehan

Angela Sheehan has made a beautiful LED badge based on Syd Weiler’s Trash Dove sticker:

Trash Dove Badge

An LED badge I created as a Valentine gift for my partner. The artwork is a rendering of a sticker we often send each other in conversation on messenger.
I had fun using this project as a way to gain more practice in AutoDesk EAGLE.

The first thing I did was draw a simplified rendering of the artwork in Illustrator with a condensed palette. The original artwork uses a few different shades of color.

Luckily, OSHPark’s signature purple solder mask, ENIG, and white silk were already pretty good matches for the original sticker palette, so I just needed to make a few adjustments.

I decided on three tones of purple created by:

  • Mask over FR4 for the back bird (darkest purple)
  • Mask over copper for the front bird’s wing and head (lightest purple)
  • Mask over copper stripes for the front bird’s body (mid purple)

I used silk to define some details and for the back bird’s head, and exposed copper for the orange yellow parts of the original artwork.

The heart I left open to backlight with a red LED. 

Trash Dove Badge by Angela Sheehan

B-Sides PDX 2019 badge

We are proud to sponsor the beautiful B-Sides PDX 2019 badge that Maggie designed!


Check out the badge of Twitter:

B-Sides PDX 2019 badge

BadgeLove meetup in SF on October 18

Screenshot from 2019-10-12 11-08-37.png

Hackster.io is hosting a BadgeLove meetup in San Francisco on Friday, October 18th:

Have you ever created a badge? Are you currently working on a badge? You are invited as a guest of honor to Hackster’s BadgeLove! Meetup. We want to take an evening to appreciate the hardware heroes who do the often thankless and frequently futile task of creating PCB artwork, shitty add-ons, and PCB badges. 

We are excited to toast the winners of last winter’s BadgeLove! contest on Hackster. Come in person, record a video or join via YouTube Live, and show us what you’ve built.

Screenshot from 2019-10-12 12-49-53


BadgeLove meetup in SF on October 18

Blinking Business-card Badge (B3)


Blinking electronic business card with NFC by Greg Steiert on Hackaday.io:

Blinking Business-card Badge (B3)

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle with this durable business card. Instead of filling landfills with dead trees, you can fill the bits in their contact folder by sharing your VCARD with a simple tap. The logo glows when the tag is read to acknowledge the transaction. There are also holes in the corners so that you can mount it, or wear it if you feel the need to join #badgelife.


This design uses the ST25DV04 to share contact information through NFC.  It takes advantage of the energy harvesting function to light up the logo when the tag is read.  The logo is lit by reverse mounted LEDs shining through the board from the back side.

The easiest way to configure the part is with one of the mobile apps provided by ST on their website.  See the instructions for more details on configuration.

The design is available at Upverter.  All the parts are available from Mouser and you can find links in the bill of material at Octopart.

Blinking Business-card Badge (B3)

BadgeLove contest on Hackster.io

We are excited to announce this new contest with Hackster.io and Autodesk:



BadgeLove by Hackster: The Blinkiest Badge Challenge on Earth! 

Win up to $5,000+ in prizes!

#BadgeLife is the new electronic graffiti. This form of art is in a league of its own, first popularized by DEFCON hackers, now boasts serious technical sophistication, a wicked artistic flair, peppered with political, cryptography, social, cultural and comical narratives, flashing LEDs and screens with add-ons galore.

You are invited to join our first, and certainly not last, BadgeLove challenge, sponsored by OSH ParkAutodesk EAGLE & Fusion 360, and Hackster.

Share your unique design with 700,000+ Hacksters and we will reward badge fanatics for their beautiful, weird, cool contributions.

BadgeLove contest on Hackster.io

Badge add-on adapter for Wii controllers

Shared project by Rob Rehr (@mediumrehr) to connect Wii controllers to #badgelife add-on header:


Screenshot from 2018-11-20 11-20-48
Order from OSH Park

Badge add-on adapter for Wii controllers

2018 Open Hardware Summit badge

Notes from the presentation by Drew Fustini (@pdp7) on the OHS18 badge at the Alternative Computing Club meeting in Chicago


What is #BadgeLife?

Screenshot from 2018-11-17 13-56-50

Motherboard article: “A History of Badgelife, Def Con’s Unlikely Obsession with Artistic Circuit Boards”

Badgelife documentary by Hackaday

2018 Open Hardware Summit at MIT


Here is my brief overview of the badge on stage at the Summit:

Hackaday.io project for the OHS18 badge

Screenshot from 2018-11-17 13-51-07

OSH Park and Screaming Circuits produced an electronic conference badges for the 2018 Open Hardware Summit. Hardware design by Alex Camilo based on concept from ESP trINKet by Mike Rankin. Features for the OHS18 badge: ESP32 microcontroller with built-in WiFi; E-Paper to display the badge wearer’s name; badge wearer can update the displayed text from phone, tablet or laptops. Powered by 2x AA batteries.

This project was developed by a team of wonderful people that came together on Hackaday.io, in particular, this badge could not have happened without Alex Camilo and Michael Welling!

OHS18 Badge documentation website


OHS18 Badge: MicroPython documentation

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OHS18 Badge: Accelerometer demo


OHS18 Badge: Magic 8-Ball MicroPython game

Screenshot from 2018-11-17 14-23-23.png

Python REPL using the serial port


To use the interactive Python prompt (REPL), press the menu button on the badge and select Serial REPL from the Available Apps menu.  The terminal emulator connected to the serial port should then display the interactive Python prompt (REPL).  You can type in MicroPython code to experiment.

MicroPython WebREPL

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he 2018 Open Hardware Summit badge runs MicroPython firmware which allows for an interactive programming experience known as the REPL:

Getting a MicroPython REPL prompt

REPL stands for Read Evaluate Print Loop, and is the name given to the interactive MicroPython prompt that you can access on the ESP8266. Using the REPL is by far the easiest way to test out your code and run commands.

There is an USB-to-serial adapter board which be used to access the REPL on the badge via the serial port.  However, a simpler option is to use the WebREPL:

Learn to Solder add-on board

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The OHS18 badge also features the DefCon 26 #badgelife add-on header.  Andrew Sowa designed this OSHWA-themed Learn to Solder add-on board to connector the badge add-on header:

#badgelife add-on adapter for Adafruit LED matrix 

Programming jig to flash 300 badges

Alex Camilo created this wonderful programming jig!  Drew was able to use it to program all 300 badges and provision the names of the 150 people that pre-registered in time.  Thanks so much to Artisan’s Asylum makerspace near Boston for giving us a space to work on the badges before the Summit!

Brian Benchoff writes on Hackaday:

The Exquisite Badges Of Open Hardware Summit

The boards were made through OSH Park, and Screaming Circuits took care of the assembly. Anyone who has ever built a badge will tell you it isn’t the assembly that gets you — it’s the programming and provisioning. This is especially true since the Open Hardware Summit badge is distributed with the attendee’s names already preloaded. That’s a few hundred badges, all with unique firmware. This is a nightmare by any definition.

However, there’s always a good solution to a problem, and [Drew] from OSH Park showed me the best programming jig I’ve ever seen during the Summit pre-game at Artisan’s Asylum.

What you’re looking at is a 3D printed box loaded up with a touch-screen display, a Raspberry Pi Zero W, and a few pogo pins. This Raspberry Pi does all the heavy lifting by connecting to the Internet, pulling down the current version of the firmware, and loading that firmware onto the badge. There are a few more options thanks to the touch-screen interface, including provisioning all the badges with the names of the attendees — this can be done by reading a list of attendees and uploading the next one to the badge in the jig. All of this is wrapped up with a nice laser-cut cover that securely holds each badge exactly where it needs to be for the pogo pins to make contact.

This is, without question, the best programming jig I’ve seen. Any badge makers out there should take note: this is how you program a few hundred badges. The badge, itself, is great and just as this post is published there will be hundreds of eager hackers futzing about with this remarkable piece of hardware. If you want to check out the current progress of the badge hacking, check out the updates on Twitter

Lesson Learned:

  1. Badges should have built-in USB port:
    • USB connector makes it easy to multiple volunteers with laptops to flash firmware onto the badges in parallel, versus having just one programming jig
    • USB connector makes it easier for people attending the Summit to experiment with modifying the firmware and developing their own functionality
  2. Pretend that the deadline is 1 month before the event
    • We originally had the goal of being ready on September 1st for the September 27th conference, but we allowed ourselves to push the deadline for final firmware release to the day before the Summit.  That meant staying up all night to flash the updated firmware on to the badges
    • We should have identified the minimum feature set and simplified the functionality sooner in the design revision process
    • We should have planned that we would have 3 hardware revisions and allowed for it in the schedule

Bonus Material:

Video: E-Paper under microscope!

Video: solder paste reflow!

2018 Open Hardware Summit badge

Drew talks OHS18 badge tonight in Chicago (Nov-16)

Tonight, November 16th, at DePaul’s IRL makerspace in Chicago, Drew Fustini be speaking about the Open Hardware Summit badge and Rudy will be speaking about the Thotcon badge:

Screenshot from 2018-11-16 12-17-27.png

Chicago game developers and hackers! Come on out to our first meeting at the DePaul University Idea Realization Lab. We’ll have a few short presentations from local developers on the platforms and controllers they’ve developed, followed by an open show-and-tell and gathering for people to talk about current, past, and future projects.

Short Presentations for our first meeting:

Rob Lockhart – Hi-5 Heroes, featured in GDC’s alt.ctrl (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=fwRGkLwh_sk)

Drew Fustini – Open Hardware Summit badge development (https://hackaday.io/project/112222-2018-open-hardware-summit-badge)

Rudy Ristich and Jay Margalus – Thotcon 0x8 and 0x9 games and conference badges (http://jaymargalus.com/thotcon-0x8-badges/)

Drew talks OHS18 badge tonight in Chicago (Nov-16)