Crowdfunding Roundup #2

This is a new series of posts, called Crowdfunding Roundup where I list interesting projects I found on crowdfunding platforms (Kickstarter, Indiegogo…). These will be mainly code & electronics projects. This is the 2nd roundup.

Voltera: Your Circuit Board Prototyping Machine

Print your circuit boards, dispense solder paste, and reflow! The Voltera V-One lets you go from concept to creation in minutes.

That’s a PCB printer. It does everything:

  • it lays down a conductive ink to create the traces
  • it adds a mask layer with insulating ink to create multiple layers
  • it dispenses solder paste
  • it can reflow boards with its heated bed (unfortunately, not yet Voltera printed boards)

The idea is to reduce the prototyping cycle from a few days/weeks (waiting for your manufactured PCBs to arrive) to a few hours. An alternative to etching and milling and probably an easier way to make 2-layer boards.

Arduino SMD Style

This board is a lifesaver when space is a factor in your project. ATmega328P in a TQFP package, all pins broken out.

With a goal of £450, this is a really small project. Which is fine, since it’s also a super simple one. It’s an ATmega328P breakout with the LEDs, resistors, capacitors and crystal. That’s it. If you’ve already built an homemade Arduino, that’s the same thing.

So why would you want this one?

  • it’s based on the TQFP package so it’s smaller than your DIP-based homemade Arduino
  • two extra analog pins available, A6 and A7, which are not available on Arduino
  • it’s a good base for a low power Arduino. Arduinos have a minimum current of several milliamps, even in sleep mode. Since this board comes in kit, you can skip the power LED or change the clock and have a current draw well under 1 mA in sleep mode.

The cons are: no USB (you need a FDTI cable) and no regulator (you’ll need an external 5V source).

EVShield - an Arduino Shield for EV3 Motors and Sensors

Easy to use Arduino Shield for smart Robotics projects with Lego EV3/NXT sensors and motors. Use this shield in Arduino IDE with C++.

An Arduino shield to bridge the Arduino and Lego worlds. It comes with libraries supporting Lego motors and sensors. It only uses the I2C port of the Arduino, so you still have a lot of pins to work with. You can also stack another shield on top of this one. An external battery powers both the shield and the Arduino. In addition to that, there are some servo connectors, buttons and RGB LEDs. A nice shield for your next robot.