1. 15

Hey Lobsters,

For several years I have been working an open source electronics project sharing site with the goal of making it as easy as possible to replicate a electronics projects: kitspace.org.

My frustration with open source hardware, as it stands, is that you often you are not actually given the information needed re-build a given hardware design. When you are, it can be a very tedious process to gather and buy all required components. It’s understandable since most project sharing platforms are focused on the social side and don’t make this any easier for project creators.

Our approach with Kitspace has been:

  • A browser extension, called 1-click BOM, that automates putting all necessary components into shopping carts.
  • Prominent links to download manufacturing files (Gerbers) or send them straight across to a service to order
  • Other tie-ins, such as export to a Gerber inspection tool, price comparison, and most excitingly and newly added: interactive assembly guides for KiCad and EAGLE projects (through a 3rd party open source tool called Interactive HTML BOM). (E.g. a DIY particle detector that was featured on Lobsters a few months ago).

It’s an open source project developed on Github (uses React/Node.jS, also Go/Gitea for v2). We are a small and friendly dev team and could always use more help, come chat to us on IRC/Matrix.org.

    1. 2

      This looks really exciting! I’ve wanted something like this that integrates with KiCad and Octopart. If I can ever find enough spare time I’ll dig in and try this out. Thanks for posting!

      1. 1

        Nice, thanks, yeah, we use Octopart a ton. The best way to make use of it with Kitspace is probably through the BOM builder tool that I am working on. It let’s you select parts based on Octopart info (and some other APIs+scraping). One day I hope to integrate it into Kitspace proper as the blessed way to “edit” your bill of materials on the site.

    2. 2

      This is great. One of the big problems I’m running into with my own open-source board (ColecoVision clone) is that keeping the BOM up to date stinks.

      I’ve got a bunch of fractional DigiKey carts as I swapped components out during bringup, etc and the web UI for DigiKey is so laggy that it’s annoying to keep up to date so I end up doing one big session at the ‘end’ where I’m comparing my printed-out BOM from KiCad against the DigiKey one by hand. I also can’t seem to figure out how to get KiCad to generate a CSV BOM that DigiKey will read.

      Looking forward to trying this for my next project!

      1. 2

        Thanks yeah, with the 1-click BOM extension you should at least have a reliable way to populate and empty Digikey carts. The BOM builder tool would help even more by finding alternatives and checking if they are in stock, and in there you can also directly import KiCad PCBs (still working on the .sch import). Just send me a message if you want to try out the hosted version (it’s still free, but just not completely public as we pay for the Octopart data).

        1. 2

          Thanks for the offer - I’ll hit you up soon. Don’t have a lot of free time for another big project right now, but hopefully in the new year!

    3. 1

      on IRC/Matrix.org.

      You say that, but your link is to some matrix thing and there’s no info about IRC server/channel that I can find easily on your site. IRC and matrix are two different things, even if you have the matrix/IRC bridge…

      1. 2

        Ah, apologies, it’s on freenode#kitspace.