looking for production

Open hardware does not only mean that it’s free for anyone to tinker with it, modify it and use it, it also means that everybody is free to put it into production. Usually, you’d do that once you have made significant modifications to it, like, maybe, built an arduino like uC into a larger design.

It also means that you can take a project that has been abandoned for some reason and keep it alive. That’s what I’m trying to do here. While Neuroelec is away for reasons noone seems to know, there’s still demand for his excellent high power LED shield and thus I’m trying to not only scratch my own itch (I need a few more) but also, maybe, provide them to the others who are looking for a simple solution to drive 700mA LEDs en masse.

Thankfully, Neuroelec has made all required documentation and software available, either through his blog  or through google code, this way, I think, I should have everything needed to start another small production run. My problem is: despite the fact that I’ve tinkered with electronics for many years, I’ve never actually had anything produced in even a small batch. I’ve sent out e-mails to request prices, but what I usually got was board prices, not full production prices. I’ll have to keep looking, but I’m hopeful that I can provide a number of fully populated boards no later than January.


Posted on November 19, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. If you can only get boards made, you could build a small reflow oven and solder the components yourself. I looked into it briefly when I needed to solder some LEDs to star boards. In the end I got impatient and used a paint stripping gun, but eventually I plan on building a reflow oven. It’s basically just a toaster oven with a micro controller that controls the heat so it can heat and cool at pre-determined rates.

    Here’s one example but there a bunch more if you search for “reflow toaster oven”: http://www.die4laser.com/toaster/index.html

    If you end up sourcing bare boards, I might be interested in buying a few instead of a complete shield.

    • There are many sources for DIY toaster ovens or hot plate skillet flow soldering.
      However that is really only one problem to be solved. Another one is the ability to reliably place these teeny resistors on the board.

      This board has almost 50 SMD components to be placed. Not only does that take a while, but it also requires a lot of care so you don’t bump the components around that you have a last placed.

  2. Hi Peter,

    Coming here from the neuroelec blog. I am interested on keeping this going. As the one who set up this blog I’d believe you should see my email address, so feel free to PM me.

    Peter (trippylighting).

  3. I am thinking that 40 boards is too little quantity for most of the houses that do assembly. For example the SeeedStudio.com Propagate service starts at a minimum of 100 boards!

  4. If you’re looking to assemble a ‘critical mass’ for making a production run, I’d be interested in buying several boards, esp. if the price is comparable to neuroelec’s $40. Please keep me updated as you progress.

  5. If the price is similar to NeuroElecs, I’d buy 2-3 boards.

  6. @Bruce, @Luke, we’re trying to get the price down as much as possible, the key is to have critical mass, as you say. Currently, we’re looking at maybe getting 50 made in a first run, I don’t have prices in yet, but one thing is for sure: the larger the production run, the lower the price, both for parts as well as for the actual production. Parts are often cheaper at quantity steps of 50 and 100 (and then 1000, but I don’t think we’ll get there), production has one time set up cost that goes on top of the single item manufacture. We’ll see, check back to this spot around mid January.

  7. I am interested in purchasing up to 5 of these first run. I have an interest beyond that once I finish working out a POC. Would like to discuss the details offline–please contact me.


  8. Hi Peter. I would be interested in purchasing 3 boards if possible. How far did you get regarding production runs?


    • Mark,

      I apologize for not responding earlier. I tend to check the blog every 2-3 days but for whatever reason your post never popped up on my radar.

      I think realistically speaking we are still 2-3 Months away from having a small number of boards. I have most of the materials to make a few prototype boards to verify function of the updated design an hope to get that finished within the next 4-6 weeks.

      Don’t despair, however, we are have not lost interest in producing this shield. I just thought it to be necessary to perform a few upgrades instead of continuing with the “old” sign and verifying that new sign by means of making a few prototypes that is a necessary step and its simply taking some time.

      Once the design is verified things should go relatively quickly.

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