Services

Research & Development

Research

You may have questions about measurement techniques and sensors, electrical components and devices or some other principle related to a product you want to bring to market. This service provides answers to your questions.

Proof of Concept

A proof-of-concept prototype is assortment of off-the-shelf devices and breadboard circuits, held together with either a 3D printed body or a mix of cardboard and tape. The end result is a device that demonstrates the key principles you specified.

Device suppliers I like: Lee's Electronic, Adafruit, SparkFun, RobotShop, DFRobot, Tindie

Hardware

PCB Design

This service includes any or all of the following:

  • Component Selection
  • Creation of Component Footprint Libraries
  • Circuit Design / Schematic Capture
  • Electrical Rules Check (ERC)
  • Board Layout
  • Design Rules Check (DRC)
  • Gerber File Generation
  • Bill of Materials (BOM)

I use EagleCAD or KiCAD

I will use Altium Designer if you have a license I can use.

PCB Fabrication

I work with two manufacturers: one Canadian, one international. Both manufacturers are less costly than their competition. I use the Canadian manufacturer during rapid prototyping (2-4 pcbs, in 2-3 days), and the international manufacturer when I need higher volume (5-100 pcbs) or more fabrication options (pcb color, lead free, etc).

Manufacturer Pricing and Comparison

PCB Assembly

During the rapid prototyping phase I typically hand-assemble the components onto the pcb myself. Components are sourced from Digikey, Mouser, or Arrow.

When component selection and circuit design are finalized pcb assembly is handed-off to the manufacturer. This makes assembly slower (2-5 weeks), but it is worth it for cost savings and quality.

Software

Firmware Development

Firmware is the set of instructions used to define a devices behavior. It is a type of Software that is less malleable, semi-permanent, and more directly tied to the harware (i.e. microcontroller) it's programmed on. As such, Firmware development requires a lot of hardware specific knowledge.

I choose microcontrollers that work with the Arduino IDE and the many open source libraries on GitHub. I specialize in developing for Atmel 8-bit AVR chips.

This service will be especially necessary if you have requirments not met by the open source libraries. In particular lower power, minimum memory, and fast communication (SPI, I2C, USART) requirments will require custom firmware.

Mechanical

3D Modelling

Three-dimensional models can represent an objects volume (solid, like a sculpture) or surface (a shell, like an egg). These models can be used to generate images or create object files. Images can be used to communicate your idea, while object files can be used by 3D printers to physically create the object. This modelling service is great for the concept design process, form research, and protyping physical enclosures.

Design is done with SolidWorks.

3D Printing

I use the Tinkerine Ditto Pro, a Fused Filament Fabrication 3D printer with a build volume of 21.5 x 16 x 22 cm and layer resolution of 50-300 microns. The extruded material is PLA, and is available is many colours.

This service is only offered jointly with the 3D Modelling service.