Arduino Monome shield group buy

Hi everyone,

For those interested in the monome (http://www.monome.org), I'm hosting a small group buy for shield PCBs that allow the Arduino to drive an 8x8 matrix of LEDs and parse input from an 8x8 button grid using a Max 7219 and a couple of shift registers. The PCB layout was designed by unsped (http://www.flickr.com/photos/unsped/sets/72157604074202672/) and has been tested by more than a dozen users over at CalArts.

We're going to be purchasing the PCBs from 4pcb.com, and unless there's a real outpouring of interest will probably be going for their 4 PCBs for $33 each + 1 free special. There are currently three of us on the monome forums who have committed, so we only need two more. We'll all split the cost of the shields + shipping, then each person will pay that cost + the cost of shipping from me to you. Of course, if there's a lot of interest we can probably push the price down further, but for now that's the plan.

Here's the original thread on the monome forums discussing this:

http://post.monome.org/comments.php?DiscussionID=1735&page=1#Item_18

If anyone's interested, post here! Thanks a lot.

I'm in for $30 + shipping.

Thanks

This sounds like tremendous fun, but I just noticed the thread and totally missed the boat.

Are there any plans to repeat the group buy?

@ccarlson: I'm not planning on repeating it, but I'm sure there are others interested (already saw at least one person on the monome forums who also missed out). If you can get five people together you can get a good deal at 4pcb.com.

Good luck!

If you're talking about me, I won't use this pcb, as I want to drive RGB leds, sorry guys ^^ Anyway, I think you should release the eagle or kicad files for the pcb somewhere, at least a schematic, I think there are a lof of people who can do their own PCBs interested ih this one ^^ Cheers

melka

I actually don't have the schematics at all- I worked with Owen and Jordan over at

http://bricktable.wordpress.com/30/

to get their original schematics transferred to my new order at 4pcb. I'd get in touch with them if you're interested in eagle files, they're really nice guys and seem more than happy to help.

Yeah, I talked with them a bit for the coding side of the project. In fact, I don't "need" them, but it's more for the rest of the people out there ^^

Hey guys,

We can't take any credit for the pcb actually, that was all unsped-- who is a really great and helpful guy. We will send him an email to see if it is cool to post the eagle files.

We know though that he wants to make sure that people keep to the ethical standards of both monome and himself (which we think is great)-- for example not using cheap foreign labor to produce the pcbs.

Keep you posted.

Owen and Jordan

If anyone who lives in the EU wants to be in a group-buy we could manufacture the pcb locally in Sweden. http://www.electrokit.se/pcb-order.htm

I think it will be about 27? if we manage to gather 5 buyers. 43? if there are 3 buyers. 64? if there are only 2 buyers. + shipping

This is the sort of thing I love to see here, I hope more people take the initiative to set them up.

I do want to suggest other places to have a PCB made though. Golden Phoenix has a special now 155 square inches for $100 including shipping to the US, and they do free step-and-repeat. At 6 square inches (the Diecimila is about 5.6 square inches), you should get about 25 for $100. You’re looking right now at 5 for $133 + shipping. Golden Phoenix works out to about $4/board at a lower total cost for all the boards.

You can also consider Olimex. They’ll do 781 square inches (if my conversion is right) for 300 Euros + shipping (about 130 boards, so even with shipping, well under 3 euros per board).

Both these options include everything you’d expect (double sided soldermask, single sided silkscreen, etc), they are doublesided boards.

If you want to skip the group buy and everyone do it alone, there’s batchpcb.com. They will give you boards for $2.5/square inch + $10 shipping. So a single shield from them is $25 including shipping. Cheaper than your group buy price and no group buy needed. 2 shields (the same or different would be $40 from them).

Note that I have no affiliation with any company mentioned here.

Thanks for the tip. I ordererd from Batchpcb at a total of 34,5$ (including shipping to Europe)

So I guess my group buy is now off.

Thanks for the tip. I ordererd from Batchpcb at a total of 34,5$ (including shipping to Europe)

So I guess my group buy is now off.

I'm glad I was able to help, but I'm kind of sorry to hear that. I thought the group buy was a great idea, I just wanted to help make it more practical -- like you pre-sell 5-10 boards for $10 each and buy the batch of 20 from Golden Phoenix, then sell the leftovers at your lesuire.

I only listed batchpcb as an example of just how overpriced 4pcb is.

Just wanted to chime in here. I can't necessarily speak for unsped (the designer of this shield), but it was made quite clear when I organized the original group buy that a prerequisite for using his PCB design was that the production occur in a country with known "decent" labor standards. This is to maintain the sustainability efforts of the original monome device (all domestically produced parts and labor). I believe Chinese production was specifically mentioned as not fitting this criteria.

Obviously we can all make our own decisions about our stance on these sorts of things, but if anyone is planning on using the PCB designed by unsped I think it's important to respect his wishes.

That seems a very curious thing to stipulate in open source-ness. Where do we go with that? ‘You can freely use this design but only if fabricated by my uncle’s cousin’s best friend Bob?’

B

I should clarify by stating that unsped is not associated with monome.org- he's just an individual who wanted to try to duplicate the logic components of the official monome with an Arduino and a shield of his own design. To my knowledge he created the shield for his own use and never made any claims about it being "open source," however; he agreed to let others benefit from the work he put into the PCB design with the stipulations I stated. I don't think this is unreasonable.

The shield PCB itself is not a particularly complex part- it's a two layer design with three ICs, a few headers, and some caps and resistors. If the local-production thing bothers you, I don't think it'd be more than a couple hours of work to lay it out for yourself. Those of us who weren't bothered by the idea traded a couple of hours of our time for a few dollars of our hard earned cash. The choice is yours.

That seems a very curious thing to stipulate in open source-ness. Where do we go with that? 'You can freely use this design but only if fabricated by my uncle's cousin's best friend Bob?'B

It's not something you could stipulate and still call it open source. What you can do is say it's your philosophy to have it fabbed at [some crieteria], and request that people honour it. Arduino itself takes the route of saying they have all their production done in Italy where there is fair labour and environmental protection laws and wants that to be the philosophy of Arduino, but they place no actual restrictions on where you can fab it. My impression of this project is that they're doing the same thing.

In the open source software world, it would be comparable to saying "you can't compile this program for windows because microsoft is evil". With that restriction it would not be open source.

All that being said, I think that if 4pcb is charging $133 for 5 small PCBs while foreign fabs will charge a lot less for a lot more boards, something is very wrong. Olimex is in Europe (Bulgaria), and their price is comparable to the Chinese vendor and far cheaper than 4pcb.

I'm just trying to decide if for my first prototype I want to go with the golden phoenix deal or get one done at batchpcb to make sure it works.

Thanks for the tip. I ordererd from Batchpcb at a total of 34,5$ (including shipping to Europe)

So I guess my group buy is now off.

I'm glad I was able to help, but I'm kind of sorry to hear that. I thought the group buy was a great idea, I just wanted to help make it more practical -- like you pre-sell 5-10 boards for $10 each and buy the batch of 20 from Golden Phoenix, then sell the leftovers at your lesuire.

I only listed batchpcb as an example of just how overpriced 4pcb is.

I support the idea of using local labour. However, I found it more practical to order one pcb from batchpcb rather than waiting for 5 people to join in to get the same price.

Anyway. To my knowledge Batchpcb is owned by Sparkfun, and hence not a Chinese company. (Though I suspect that all components were manufactured in China).

To my knowledge Batchpcb is owned by Sparkfun, and hence not a Chinese company.

It is a Sparkfun service, but they simply batch up small orders and send them to a Chinese board house (Gold Phoenix, IIRC). The batchpcb.com web site gives the details.

-j

To my knowledge Batchpcb is owned by Sparkfun, and hence not a Chinese company.

It is a Sparkfun service, but they simply batch up small orders and send them to a Chinese board house (Gold Phoenix, IIRC). The batchpcb.com web site gives the details.

-j

Hmm... well. I wasn't aware of that. I thought it was a US company. So I guess I'm on the blacklist now then :o

Seriously. Maybe I should have read up on the company before ordering.

Sorry 'bout that Monome and unsped. :'( I can only blame it on my ignorance.

I'm in for a group buy, if anybody is reading this and interested. I would be interested in both the arduino/monome shield and the monome keypad pcb. I like the idea of using one keypad rather than four and wiring them together... that is assuming that the sparkfun buttons would work in on the monome pcb...

another interesting thought that I had would be to replace the buttons with potentiometers. You could push them down as buttons, but also twist them as potentiometers... but that's I'm sure for another forum.

I'm a noob at all this, but would love to get a monome working and i'm into the challenge. Whose interested?