Weekly Roundup #22 - New Maker Products // News

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This week’s Weekly Roundup there’s a cool digital oscilloscope and a new SBC and lots of STEM. It’s everywhere! You can’t get away from it!

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Crowd Funding


First up on Kickstarter…

OpenScope: Instrumentation for Everyone

… Thanks to one of my subs for pointing this out to me. We have the OpenScope, which is an open-source, but not open-hardware, MCU based oscilloscope. Since it’s MCU based it doesn’t have the grunt that most oscilloscopes have, but certainly has a price tag for the average Maker.

Man… I’m having a hard time saying “oscilloscope”. I’ve always known them to be CROs.

Anyway… It has 2 analog scope channels at up to 6 mega samples / sec, 10 digital inputs or outputs, WiFi and function generator. Nice! The grunt behind it is the PIC32MZ MCU which runs at 200MHz and is accessible vie the Arduino IDE. It’s a nice board that’s been kicking around for a while now. I’ve backed this one, so you’ll be seeing a review on it when released.

APSX-PIM: Full-Automatic Desktop Plastic Injection Machine


Now we have a desktop plastic injection machine. It’s not attracting a lot of interest, as it’s a fairly niche area, quite expensive and it’s generally a messy business. Anyway, we’ll hopefully see the 6 grand price tag drop as it gains more interest.

XPlotter - Desktop Plotter, Laser Cutter and Engraver

Then there’s the XPlotter, which is a desktop plotter, laser cutter and engraver. All in one! This is attracting a little more interest being funded by a factor of 20.

Some of the drawing demos are pretty outstanding and it has a feature where it introduces some random changes in images so that it looks unique. Interesting.

Of course whack a laser in and you can engrave stuff or cut stuff up to 5mm thick.

It can also function as a pick and place machine with a resolution down to 12 microns, which isn’t so crash hot for BGAs if you want to do PCB pick and place, but good enough for most SMDs.

POLYTIK modular synths: playing with graphics and sound

Polytik looks like a good STEM education kit that has several modules.

The core module - with sequencer and mixer.

Combi - with voltage controlled feedback and oscillator.

VCO - with oscillator and filter.

and Noise generator.

Nice little STEM kit.

Virtualette V1 - a tiny double stack IoT microcomputer

Virtualette is a small SBC type board based on the Allwinner A20 MCU. Comes with 8G NAND flash, 1G DDR3 RAM, RTC, 100Mb ethernet, SATA, HDMI, USB and SD.

It can be powered from either USB, battery or PoE, which is unusual.

It’s a very tempting board, except for the price. $285 Ozzie dollars is a lot and I’d have to have a very specific need for this one.

Line-us: The little robot drawing arm

Lastly there’s the Line-us, which is another drawing hand robot thingy aimed at STEM education.

It has cool features such as copying what you write in real time… Man wish I had this at school. All those lines I had to write out by hand during detention…

The price tag is pretty good on this one too.


Now there was something on IndieGoGo that I saw… where the heck is it? Ah, there it is!


The Tinusaur is a small ATtiny85 based board aimed at, once again, STEM education. It has everything on board so you can plug in and play around. They were successful on IndieGoGo last year and seem to have their feet firmly in the education market.

Crowd Supply

Go-Make Junior

Over at Crowd Supply, there’s a new pre-launch for yet another Open Source 3D printer with a 190mm cubed print bed and other nice features that is once again aimed at STEM.

Maker Shops


Man, everywhere it’s quiet. Even Tindie is slow this week…


…, but if you are looking at an easy way of controlling 2 LED strips, then you could pick up this product. Don’t ask me to say it. I have no idea.

They claim that you can control up to 180 RGB LEDs pre strip, but be careful with this.

At full brightness, each RGB LED consumes 60mA. 2 180 LED strips will require almost 22A of juice.

The very thin power tracks usually found in LED strips won’t be able to cope with that much current and don’t even think of adding extra power supplies half way through the strip. Things can get a little hot with that much current floating around.

LoRa Development Kit

This LoRa dev kit looks interesting, in that it contains not only a LoRa module, but a SAMD21 MCU.

Contains all the usual stuff from a SAMD21, 20 GPIOs, 48MHz clock, but also get a LoRa module as well.

I quite like the SAMD21 MCUs, and am thinking of building a couple of boards based off it.

Ultra Low Cost Electronics Kit

And, you guessed it, yet another STEM education kit. This one based off the ubiquitous ESP8266 but aiming to reduce the cost as much as possible.

iCA03 - USB PIC & EEPROM Programmer Set

If you’re in to PICs or have a need to program your EEPROMs, then this one will do it all for you. Capable of programming almost every PIC out there and a swag of EEPROMs as well. Compatible with Mcrochip’s PICkit and MPLAB IDE.

AdaFruit, Seeed, SparkFun, DFRobot, DigiKey

Liquid Crystal Light Valve

OK now we’re talking! Something unusual. AdaFruit have a small LCD controlled black out panel, which I’ve just had a great idea for. Controlled by a simple 5v input and it’s either on or off.

4.3" LCD Capacitive Touchscreen Display Cape for BeagleBone

Then there’s AdaFruit’s capacitive touch screen cape for the BeagleBone at 480 x 272 resolution.

But, pssst, you can get it cheaper at MCM electronics!

AdaFruit LSM9DS1

Then there’s a 9DOF IMU based off the LSM9DS1, but yup it’s out of stock again. Why do people keep buying these before I can get one?

SparkFun USB UART Serial Breakout - CY7C65213

SparkFun have their CY7C65213 based USB to UART breekout, which is a nice chip not only giving you a 6pin UART, but a bunch of GPIOs as well. It can work on voltages as low as 2v.

RoboClaw 2x15A Motor Controller

Pololu have their RoboClaw motor controller which is capable of driving 2 motor loads at 15A per channel and between 6 to 34 volts.

Also contains a quadrature decoder. Controlled via USB, serial RC or analog inputs.

Romi 32U4 Control Board

The Romi control board is an all in one robotic control board containing an ATmega32U4, dual motor drivers, IMU, LCD, quadrature encoder inputs and a Pi compatible header.

Can control motors up to 2A.

The Cheap Side

High Speed AD/DA Module Data Acquisition Signal Source FPGA Development Board

If you want some series analog data capture, then check this high speed data acquisition board.

Using the AD9708 chipset which is capable of 125Msps, and an op-amp based on the AD8056, and 8 AD9280 ADCs running at 32Msps.

So, essentially it’s capable of sampling at 32Msps on 8 channels at an effective 8 bit resolution.

That’s pretty good, not sure where the FPGA comes into it though.

16-Channel Level Conversion Module For Raspberry Pi

And if you have those pesky 5v based breakout boards you can pick up a cheap 16 channel logic level converter.

433Mhz Decoding Transceiver USB Transfer Frequency Module For Smart Home

If you’re in to home automation then this is a small RF transceiver running on 433MHz with a USB port. So can be used as either a transmitter for keychain type remotes or a receiver.


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