3 open hardware projects for beginners

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Open Source Yearbook image 2015


I'm part of the Lunchbox Electronics team where we create innovative, new products with great imagination and passion for open source hardware. Our goal is to combine the art and engineering of an R&D Lab with playful products and projects. We believe that learning should be intuitive and fun.

Looking back over the year, we listed three of our favorite projects and one open hardware book to keep you learning and making.

The stop-and-go DIY soldering kit

Lunchbox Electronics stop and go soldering kit

Make this stoplight to learn more about soldering. Image courtesy of Lunchbox Electronics. CC BY-SA 4.0.

As the name suggests, you can build the stop and go DIY soldering kit yourself! This kit cycles through red, yellow, and green LEDs from an ATtiny85 and is a great way to practice your soldering skills. It's quick to put together (takes about 10 minutes) and the chip has been programmed for you! No need to know how to code.

The holes on the base of the stop and go light are LEGO compatible, so you can build this kit into your various brick projects. You are welcome to create a derivative of this kit as long as it abides by the open source hardware definition.

Build upons: World's tiniest light-up bricks

Build Upons light-up bricks

Image courtesy of Lunchbox Electronics. CC BY-SA 4.0.

Build Upons are light-up bricks that are compatible with LEGO. The Build Upons system has three types of bricks: an LED brick, a power brick, and a bridge brick. Build Upons have a 1x1 LED brick to enable the user to create elegant designs. With Build Upons, the user is able to place the LED bricks anywhere throughout their design for ultimate flexibility. You don't need to know electronics to use these bricks—you simply build just like you've always done and you will learn along the way. The source for Build Upons will be released as open source hardware once the designs have been finalized for our production pieces.

Blinky Buildings

The Blinky Buildings Empire State kit is a simple kit to teach people how to make derivatives of open source hardware. Make a derivative of a building in your city! You are welcome to create a derivative of this kit as long as it abides by the open source hardware definition.

The Blinky Building Kit. Photo courtesy of Lunchbox Electronics. CC BY-SA 4.0.

Building open source hardware: DIY manufacturing for hackers and makers

Building Open Source Hardware is a field guide I wrote for designing and open sourcing your hardware. I curated a selection of chapters written by a group of community members that include pointers on how to manufacture products, which license is best for you, and the history of the open source hardware movement. It's a hands-on guide with several checklists to help you understand how best to open source your device. Plus, royalties of this book are given to the Open Source Hardware Association.

Get 25% off for the holidays with this code: holidays2015

Happy Hacking!

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Alicia Gibb is an advocate for open hardware, researcher, and a hardware hacker. Alicia has worked within the open source hardware community since 2008. She is the founder and Executive Director of the Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA), an organization to educate and promote building and using open source hardware.

1 Comment

I just bought your two of your books and I'm donating them to two local libraries. I love what you are doing. Keep up the great work.

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