RISC-V is breaking down technical barriers and disrupting traditional microprocessor business models through global collaboration. The RISC-V Global Forum is our opportunity to engage across the community, from start-ups to multi-nationals, from students to luminaries, from deep technical talks to understanding industry momentum. Join us as a sponsor to showcase success and opportunity, as a speaker to share progress and perspective, and as an attendee to hear from industry thought leaders, engage with your peers, and join the community.
OSHdata is an independent project that launched in 2020, starting by taking a look back and generating a static report about the state of the Open Source Hardware (OSH) ahead of the 10th Annual Open Hardware Summit in March 2020. OSHdata’s findings are for the community. For the founders, engineers, developers, artists, customers, suppliers, and all the other stakeholders who make this community what it is.
This report is authored by Harris Kenny and Steven Abadie, two members of the Open Source Hardware community who have contributed to the certification of dozens of products over the past five years. Today, we proudly work with OSH companies in our businesses. Combined, we have helped sell tens of thousands of Open Source Hardware products for tens of millions of dollars. We are passionate about this community and we are creating this report to help grow it.
We envision five different use cases for this report (in alphabetical order):
Certified a product
Based on the people who have expressed interest in OSHdata so far by signing up for the newsletter or following @OSHdata on Twitter, we have seen an even distribution across all five groups. Some of the largest businesses in the OSH community have raised their hands to express interest in this project. Remember, this report is the beginning of what we hope will be an ongoing resource for the community. Where things go from here depends on you and your feedback.
Soldering irons are a personal tool. Some folks need them on the cool side, and some like it hot. Getting it right takes some practice and experience, but when you find a tip and temp that works, you stick with it. [Riccardo Pittini] landed somewhere in the middle with his open-source soldering station, Soldering RT1. When you start it up, it asks what temperature you want, and it heats up. Easy-peasy. When you are ready to get fancy, you can plug in a second iron, run off a car battery, record preset temperatures, limit your duty-cycle, and open a serial connection.
The controller has an Arduino bootloader on a 32u4 processor, so it looks like a ProMicro to your computer. The system works with the RT series of Weller tips, which have a comprehensive lineup. [Riccardo] also recreated SMD tweezers, and you can find everything at his Tindie store.
Soldering has a way of bringing out opinions from novices to masters. If we could interview our younger selves, we’d have a few nuggets of wisdom for those know-it-alls. If ergonomics are your priority, check out TS100 3D-printed cases, which is an excellent iron, in our opinion.
The Hackaday Remoticon achieves something that we just couldn’t do at the Hackaday Superconference: host more workshops that involve more people. Anyone who’s been to Supercon over the past six years can tell you it’s space-limited and, although we do our best to host a handful of workshops each day, those available seats are always in high demand.
We’re sad that we can’t get together in person for Supercon this year, but now we have an opportunity to host more workshops, engaging more live instructors and participants because they will be held virtually. This also means that we can make recordings of them available so that more people can learn from the experience. This is something that we tried way back during the first Supercon with Mike Ossmann’s RF Circuit Design workshop and 140,000 people have watched that video. (By the way, that link is worth clicking just to see Joe Kim’s excellent art.)
Now I’m not saying that your workshop will have a view count into six digits. What I am saying is that you have skills worth sharing, and people are hungry to learn. Since traveling to massive conferences is on pause for a while, spinning up a way to share your experience with others is a superb use of your time.
We need you to submit a workshop proposal! This can take any shape that makes sense for your topic, but here’s the gist of how this might work. Each accepted workshop makes a list of necessary materials and where to get them so that participants can order ahead of time and follow along. Live workshops will be held via video conference, with periods of instruction, work time, and recap that lets participants ask questions and show results as they go.
Wait, wait, wait. Before you click away to the next awesome Hackaday article, don’t assume you have nothing to teach. In fact, do the opposite. Assume you have rare and specialized knowledge on something (because you do!) and seek that out. Then unleash your mind to form a workshop idea around it. Hackaday is filled with weird, wild, and interesting projects, and we always want to see more of them. Share the wealth so that more people begin to walk the path of the hardware hacker
At long last, the final build of the CPC is finished, tested and working!
Initial testing suggests that the main hardware components work and so I’ll need to work on the FPGA core and the supervisor code to complete this project. However, I’m able to use the major components, so I’m confident anything minor can be worked around.
I’ve been looking at 3d printing for the CPC2 case, but this turns out to be far more complex that I expected. I’m looking for a very smooth finish on what will be a small device and that seems not to be straightforward. I also wanted the key colours to be faithful to the original and will involve either full colour printing in delicate materials such as super-glued sand, or painting of the final print. Neither option seems particularly satisfactory. So I’ll let you know how the research goes.
Just so you know where I’m heading, if I can run GetDexter on my CPC2, I’ll consider it substantially completed.
October is right around the corner, which means it’s time to get ready for Open Hardware Month! This year with our theme of Label and Certify we’re putting the spotlight on two ways to help the world know your hardware is Open Source: Open Hardware Facts and the OSHWA Certification.
Open Hardware Facts
Inspired by our Executive Director Alicia Gibb, and created by board member Jeffrey Yoo Warren, the Open Hardware Facts Generator helps you declare the licenses used in your project using a format similar to the US Nutrition Facts Label. Listing your licenses in one prominent place (such as the README of your repository) helps users immediately know what they can and can’t do with your source, rather than having to browse through individual files.
The OSHWA Certification continues to grow, with almost 1,000 projects from over 40 countries! If you’re not yet familiar, the certification program provides a way for consumers to immediately recognize hardware whose meaning of “Open” conforms to the OSHW Definition. It also provides a directory for OSHW creators, which stands as evidence that your product is in compliance with the OSHW Definition.
Hosting and Joining OHM Events
We invite individuals and companies alike to host events relating to the theme, or supporting Open Hardware more generally. Unlike previous years, we expect most events to be virtual due to COVID-19. Thankfully, both labeling and certifying can be done from home! If you choose to host an in-person event, we expect you to follow all local health guidelines to help keep our community safe. Find what you need to plan an OHM event at the OHM website.
Looking for an OHM event to join? As events are submitted and approved, they’ll be listed on the OHM website as well. For virtual events, we’ll also list the online platform being used and the event’s time zone.
Pulling off a flashy project that gets the viral-media hug of widespread approval feels great. Getting there is no easy path to walk and often times the craft that went into a finished project doesn’t even take the back seat but gets no mention at all. Often I find I’m more impressed by — or a least my attention is more strongly captured by — the skills put on display as prominently as the finished build.
Case-in-point this week comes from the model railroad work of [Diorama111]. Seeing an OLED screen in the nose of an HO scale locomotive just like the real-life version is impressive, but how many people missed the one-off soldering masterpiece that went into this one? You’ll marvel at the SMD techniques used with through-hole protoboard on this one.
Occasionally we do get to look over the shoulder of the master as decades of skills are shared for the purpose of passing them on. So was the case back in May when we watched as [Leo] walked through his tips and tricks for prototyping at the electronics bench. This included a lot of non-obvious but clever stuff; tips on working with copper tape for solder buses, using Teflon tubing with bare wire instead of stripping PVC-insulated wire, and a deep dive into copper clad prototyping.
So remember all of us hardware geeks when you look to tell the story of your project. We want to know how it was done at least as much as what was done. There was a time when electronic designers were a separate work group from electronic technicians (and wow, those technicians were in a league of their own). These days we all have that technician hat hanging on our workbenches and I’m always interested in packing in yet another unlearnt skill. Throw us a bone!
Teensy 4.1 (600 MHz arm Cortex M7) running a full-speed Apple //e emulator. Because everyone needs one of these, right?
The OSH Park boards arrived, and I spent some time Monday assembling! Here’s a time lapse of the build, which took me shy of 3 hours (mostly because I hadn’t organized any of the parts and had to hunt for several).
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.
Jason Coon shows us what goes inside his amazing icosaLEDron — a 20-sided, LED-faceted fidget toy that is freakin’ awesome!
Boiling this design down to the bare minimum, the icosaLEDron is a 20-sided shape, with 20 LEDs — one per face. That meets the functional definition for such a name, and drops the complexity by several orders of magnitude — not only in terms of assembly, but in functional operation as well!
The initial version of Coon’s icosaLEDron, which can be seen seen spinning above, kept things as simple as they needed to be. 20 triangular boards, each featuring a single WS2812B-Mini 3535 addressable RGB LED.
These 3535 packaged parts are a nice halfway-house for makers looking for a digital serial LED solution that can be placed in layouts where the conventional 5050 package would take up too much board real estate. For such situations, a 1515 or 2020 LED case might be a tad too tiny for those without stencil and reflow capabilities — the 3535 packages can still be hand soldered!
More often than not now, we are pleased to see the inclusion of 3D printing jigging and support tooling within a build. Seen below, the idea to use a simple assembly fixture is a well thought out one.
It might look simple, but even the small features — such as the rounded mountain pegs, mean that the jig can easily be removed after the soldering operation, without the need to flex the soldered connections too much.
Speaking of soldered connections, now’s a pretty good time to touch on the fact that all of these boards are identical. That’s more interesting than it initially seems, because it indicates how much effort Coon has put into the thinking behind the signal routing within this icosaLEDron.
Those little solder jumpers sat above each LED are able to control the direction in which the LED serial data stream exits out of the board, left or right — meaning that Coon can snake a way for data to pass through the sculpture, without the need for custom wiring, etc. Clever!