posts tagged with the keyword ‘adafruit’


Teensy BOB v1.0

I recently created my first “real” printed circuit board. By “real” I mean one that I sent out to get fabricated, not one I did at home by etching it myself. The board is for a Teensy LC, and breaks out most of the pins to screw terminals. (Pictured above is version 1.0, which has been revised due to a few spacing issues and the holes being too small. You can see I had to drill them a bit larger.)

Teensy Proto

The Teensy LC BOB (BreakOut Board) came about due to my use of the Teensy for a few museum projects that were using the controller as an input device for a computer. I had been putting the boards onto Adafruit Perma-Proto Breadboards which are great to work with, but after building a few of these that were very similar to each other, I thought I could just design my own PCB to get the job done. (The board I designed probably cost about $2.15 more than the Adafruit boards, but it’s also designed to be exactly what I need.)

Breadboard in Fritzing

I started by designing what I needed in Fritzing using the breadboard view. I added in the screw terminals I wanted, and wired it all up. At this point spacing doesn’t matter too much, as it’s just to get all the components and connections in place.

PCB in Fritzing

Once all the pieces are in place and connected up I switched to PCB view where you get to see what the actual printed circuit board will look like. Here the positioning and spacing is just like the real world. This step probably tool the most amount of time, and I found the tools a bit lacking compared to something like Inkscape or Illustrator for precise positioning. Part of this could be due to my still learning how it all works. There’s some good info here on designing PCBs in Fritzing. (Eventually I’d like to do custom shapes.)

Export Gerber

After I was happy with the PCB layout I exported it using Export > for Production > Extended Gerber (RS-274X) from the file menu.

Gerber Files

It will output a whole bunch of files to the folder specified. Once I had this folder I made a ZIP file from it, and named it and uploaded it to OSH Park.

OSH Park

OSH Park’s web site will check your files and show you previews during the upload process. (Hopefully you can figure out what you’re looking at!) As I mentioned, the first version had a few issues, so I corrected those and put in a new order. For the new version I added the name of the board and the version number. Once I get these back and test them I’ll share the project so anyone can order some if needed. (At least one person at Milwaukee Makerspace was interested.)

I should note that the Teensy 3.x board could also be put on one of these, though the pin labeling is a little different. I’ll probably create another version that is specific to the Teensy 3.x for a future project I’m doing for Maker Faire Milwaukee this year.

Update: OSH Park has some docs on using Fritzing.

Update: Download the TeensyBOB Fritzing file!


In accordance with a request from organizations and people I respect, here’s a photo take on 2015-04-19 showing the packaging from an Arduino UNO I purchased from Adafruit Industries (in the United States of America) on 2010-10-19 showing the text “Manufactured under license from Arduino by SMART PROJECTS S.r.l.”.

Adafruit /

Here is the order information from that purchase. For more info, see the Hackaday post Your Arduino Packaging Could Sway a Court Case and the Adafruit post Please post old Arduino packaging that says “Manufactured under license from Arduino” #TeamArduinoCC.



Here’s my CheerLight 2012 device, which I call the CheerLCD! And what is CheerLights you say?

CheerLights is an ioBridge Labs project that allows people’s lights all across the world to synchronize, stay linked based on social networking trends. It’s a way to connect physical things with social networking experiences and spread cheer at the same time.

Much like last year, I’ve opted for a small desktop display—a USB-powered computer peripheral—rather than some giant string of multicolored lights…


With the combined power of 3D printing, affordable electronics, and the duct tape of programming languages that is Perl, we’ve developed a device that informs you of what color the CheerLights around the globe are, not only with color, but with words!

(Though we’ve not yet done extensive testing, the text should be legible even by those suffering from color blindness. Accessibility, FTW!)


The CheerLCD consists of a USB + Serial Backpack Kit and LCD Display from our friends at Adafruit Industries. But you can’t just have a display without some sort of thingy to display the display properly… enter the 3D Printer!


The CheerTree was designed specifically to hold the LCD Display. I utilized Inkscape for the design of the front plate, and then brought that shape into OpenSCAD to add the base and create an STL file for printing. (It ended up warping a bit but that just adds to the charm and aesthetic of the overall device.)

I know what you’re saying, “This is all well and good… but we need to see the CheerLCD in action!” As you wish, my friends… as you wish.

There’s some code over on github/CheerLCD, and some files on Thingiverse for the CheerTree.

Enjoy the Holiday Cheer!


Welcome to Part II of my self-awarded skill badges! (See Part I for background.)

Speaking of badges, there’s been some talk of badge systems, and some hackerspace/makerspace things happening where we might get to the point of awarding badges to members, maybe using Les Orchard’s Badger code, or maybe something else. It’s in the works… that’s all I can say right now. (And that’s pretty cool, right!?)


Programming: I will award myself the Programming badge based on the fact that I’ve gone from BASIC in the 1980s to Perl in the 1990s to PHP in the 2000s and Processing in the 2010s. That’s like 30 years of programming!

QR code

QR code: Flags on cupcakes for Bay View Gallery Night at Milwaukee Makerspace last year… Done!


Robotics: I’ll pitch Friday Night Drawbot for this one… Some of the other things I build have bot in the name, but this might be the only true robot. (Plus, I just built a second Drawbot.)


Soldering: Heck yes to soldering! I first learned to solder when I was a teenager, and I did take electronics classes in high school. I’ve learned in the last two years though that my technique was crap. No matter, it’s much improved lately. I’m only doing through-hole stuff, but I think that counts.


Welding: This one is questionable. I did a bit of welding at a demo we had at Milwaukee Makerspace, but I’m still not at the point where I could do it all on my own. I should do more welding this year…


I decided to award myself some badges, I mean, no one else is gonna do it, right? Badges? Badges! Yeah, all those awesome badges you’ll find over at Adafruitthose badges.

And, no, I’m not the first to show some badges, and hopefully not the last either. At Milwaukee Makerspace we often refer to ourselves as “Skill Collectors” so these badges fit in nicely with that idea.

3D Printing

3D Printing: I think I’ve earned this one. While it’s true my RepRap is only (about) 80% done, I’ve managed to tame the MakerBot CupCake we have at Milwaukee Makerspace.

Bike Repair

Bike Repair: As a kid I used to fix my bike all the time. Also, when I was in college I managed to rescue a bike from a dumpster behind a frat house in Madison and re-built it into a completely usable ride.


Catapult: I seem to remember building a small catapult out of scrap wood and rubber bands when I was a kid. I’m pretty sure I scared the cat with it. (Since I have no photographic evidence I should probably try to earn this one again.)

Circuit bender

Circuit bender: I supposed I did do this thing… but let’s be honest, that was pretty simple, and again, I should do much better to earn this badge.


Drawdio!: I have built a Drawdio! I wasn’t really happy with it though, and I want to rebuild it into another device, but that’s a project for another time.

Dumspter Diving

Dumpster Diving: I’d actually have a sash full of these. Besides the bike I mentioned above, things I’ve gotten from dumpsters include: stereos, books, money, a photocopier, food, clothing, tools, and on and on and… I’ll stop before I embarrass my family any more.

(ESD) Electrostatic discharge

ESD (Electrostatic discharge): Have you ever grounded yourself by touching something metal before installing something new inside your computer? In the olden days when I had a Macintosh IIvx I used to put on rubber soled shoes, attached a wrist strap and treat RAM like it was highly explosive. Of course nowadays I install new RAM while eating pizza and sipping whiskey. (RAM also costs about 1/10 what it did back then.)

Hacked Kinect

Hacked Kinect: All I’ve got so far is that we did some 3D scanning of heads at Milwaukee Makerspace, and then reduced the complexity of the models, and 3D printed one of them. (It’s a work in progress.)


HTML 5: I’ve built more than one thing using HTML 5. The first one was probably the Evil-O-Mator.


Lasers: Although it’s been a learning process, I’m getting good results from the Laser Cutter now.


LEDs: I’ve definitely done projects with LEDs. My CheerLight is one of them.


Linux: Although it took me a few years to get into Linux, I now own about 3 Linux machines and administer 5 more. I like Linux. (Well, for servers anyway.)

Magic Blue Smoke

Magic Blue Smoke: Sadly, I have released the Magic Blue Smoke at lease once… and at least once it wasn’t my own equipment. Oops!

Metric System

Metric System: Ah, the good old Metric System! I really didn’t use it much until recently. Working in the RepRap world, and with the laser cutter, and other hacker/maker things, I’m starting to get used to it. (Sort of.)


Micro-controllers: Do Arduinos count? Does the Teensy count? Then yeah, I got this one…


Multimeter: I probably first used a multimeter in 1986, and while I still have a lot to learn about them, I can handle the basics, so that’s something.

Whew, I didn’t realize there were so many badges!

That said, I’m going to break this post into two parts, and I’ll cover the rest of my skills (or lack of skills) in the next post…

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