BatchPCB Marketplace and a Wicked Project!



http://static.sparkfun.com/images/newsimages/BatchPCB.jpg

BatchPCB is SparkFun's sister site where prototypers can create single-run (or more if you want) versions of their prototype boards. Today, they unveiled a really exciting new feature - the Marketplace!

Basically, it works like this. If you have a design you think other people might benefit from that you want to sell, you can put it on the site for whatever price you think is fair. As people buy your board, you'll earn money! Pretty straight-forward! Right now, it's only open to US Residents and there are a few rules (such as the board has to be your own design, not someone else's). Check out the BatchPCB site for all the info and to see what boards are already being uploaded for sale! If you want some more info, you can also give this article from Hack-a-Day a look!



Check out this project coming from a group of amateur rocket enthusiasts in Denmark! They are currently working on a suborbital rocket to be launched in June! This past Sunday they completed a test of their engines - pretty darn cool. Ultimately, they will be sending a manned rocket up into the atmosphere. This site is in Danish, so we recommend a translating website if you don't speak the language (such as Google's), but you can also check out this site in English, complete with more videos and pictures!

Comments 38 comments

  • BPCB Marketplace is a great idea, but am I missing where the text descriptions are?

    • The descriptions are set by the sellers themselves. Unfortunately not everybody puts in a description of their board.

  • KiCad is a decent free schematic/pcb layout tool. I just wish some of the footprints were also made out in a format that it would recognize. I haven’t had a pcb printed yet using it but I’m sure other might have.

    • I haven’t used KiCad (though I’ve heard good things about it) but I have submitted several batchpcb designs from gerbers made by the gEDA pcb tool ( http://pcb.gpleda.org/ ), which worked fine.

  • The BatchPCB marketplace is a great idea. It would be great if eventually they could add the ability to rate and tag the designs so the best ones could be found easily.

  • any time estimates for availability in Canada ?

    • We would absolutely love to let people in Canada sell their PCBs on BatchPCB too. There are some very real legal and tax-compliance hurdles to get past before we can do that, though. We are currently researching it, and will let everyone know when we’ve cleared those hurdles.

    • I second that!
      But…why did one of my boards is in the Marketplace? I cannot even register as Canada resident. If someone buy it will i get paid anyway? :D

      • I third that, Canada would be nice.
        I don’t really understand how the free license for eagle works… Let’s say I make an open source design using eagle if someone uses my schematic to make their own circuit or PCB, can they go on to sell that PCB?
        If I open source my design (the part that eagle has it’s claim to I would think) so that anyone can make it using the process of their desire, I don’t know if it’s illegal to sell the physical device (PCB) that is made.
        Can you say: This costs $4 for the PCB material, $5 for assembly, and $0 for design using eagle, and get away with it?
        Do companies like adafruit and makerbot have to buy a license? Their stuff is all open source.

        • I did some research into this and I’m pretty sure if you sell the PCBs you need to buy Eagle. Luckily they have a commercial version that is functionally equivalent to the free version and it only costs $50. If you email them they’ll even sell you a downloadable version to save on shipping. I never even downloaded it, but I have a license if I’m ever questioned about it.
          Also I think it’s nice to support Eagle since I use their software.

  • Easy now. Don’t you think you should try it with a skateboard before you send anybody into orbit?

  • Kevin Smith?

    • They’re gonna need a lot more thrust to launch Kevin Smith into orbit. That is, if he even fits in the seat.

  • I gotta say, that burn looked really scrapy, even during the first few seconds. I wonder what chamber pressure and nozzle they’re running.

  • Quick question,
    is it ok/legal to sell board designs created with the free version of eagle, same question with using SparkFun Eagle library ?

    • I think designs created with the FREE (lite) version of Eagle are likely okay for profit making. But the boards you can make are pretty small. Consult them to be sure.
      However, there is also a not-for-profit license which you can purchase that lets you make bigger boards, up to 4 layers. They give hobbiests a screaming-great deal, but you must agree NOT to use it for profit.
      That’s fair– I’m very appreciative of the fact that they give us small guys a break. I hope that doesn’t change.

    • SparkFun library is ok to use for profit:
      http://www.opencircuits.com/SFE_Footprint_Library_Eagle
      We have a very small request that you let us know that you’re building something cool with our footprints.
      It looks like the free version of Eagle PCB is not to be used to make profit:
      http://www.cadsoftusa.com/declaration-en.txt

  • It looks like a good idea but I can see some hassles with the Marketplace. PCB designs aren’t sorted (i.e. audio, power supply,radio etc.) nor do they have a link to a website with a better description. So you could never find anything there other than some dude’s name and his PCB filename.
    Would be nice to include Canada in the royalty aspect and low cost shipping. Otherwise, we’ll just use AP Circuits in Calgary.

  • Here is a 4000lb Engine for you
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHLvlm72cMc

  • Guys, regarding Eagle and licenses. Why don’t you give a shot to Kicad? The latest vesion from SVN is pretty good. Free, you do can make money with your design I think, and no limitations in board size, layers etc. May not be as polished as Eagle but I found it much more easier to use than Eagle.I use Eagle too :)) but sincerely I took me at least double the dime to get the feel of Eagle compared to Kicad. Plus it has 3D visualization out of box and there are quite a few libraries around, creating footprints is really a breeze (there is a small Java tool available called footprintbuilder). And lately they added a decent autorouter , which I never used so no idea how good it is.
    Downsides: SVN version … it may crash from time to time … but nothing that hitting often “CTRL+S” wold not solve :)) .. a crash or two a day not that bad for hobby work.

  • Please refer to the BatchPCB.com news/blog post section. This will give you a better insight to your questions about the new marketplace.

  • The best part is that extra sales will push production and decrease the ever-important turn-around time on new designs.
    I will say that Board orders should be able to add Sparkfun items for combined shipping.

    • This comes up all the time, and we’d love to make it work, but the truth is it’d just be a logistics and accounting nightmare to implement. At least from where I sit, it’s in the someday-maybe-but-probably-not bucket.

  • The Marketplace sounds like a good idea in theory, but in practice you get guys like “Brad Ackerman”. He put his “Clock face 8-digit I2C” up for sale with this description:
    I have not yet verified this board in real life. If you have one made up and it sucks, that’s life.
    Gee, Brad, thanks for that. You not only can’t be bothered to test the design, but you tell me tough luck if it turns out you suck at electronic design. Wow. Great. You go little Mr. Entrepreneur.
    Yeah, I know I don’t have to buy this dope’s board. That’s not the point. The point is that you’re going to have to wade through lots of useless crap like this to find anything that might be useful. Marketplace sounds kind of half baked as a concept. Looking for version 2.0 in the future.

    • I had that up to pass around the link. There was no markup for me if anyone were to buy one of that design, and I really would have advised against anyone buying one in the first place. Sorry I didn’t make that clearer. It was there to show some people, not because I expect someone to want to fab a design I haven’t verified, and indeed have a good list of fixes to apply to.
      Wonder if it would be a good idea to separate out the “here’s a design, fab one if you want” from the “here’s a design, buy one” boards.

    • That’s where we come in. We tell BatchPCB/SF how it could be better and they take our ideas and turn them into code. Right SparkFun? Or am I assuming too much?
      I think that a system where boards get ranked would work well. Something like ratings for description and board design quality. If you actually buy the board your rating would apply to both board and description but if you hadn’t bought the board your rating would only apply to the description ect. Then you can search for boards with a certain rating and above. If the rating downranks the board enough it dissapears (like engadet) and you can only shop for it by clicking on a certain link where all “bad” boards go.
      Each month/week there could also be a couple “favorite” boards displayed on the main Marketplace page. This would incurage better quality boards, I think :D.

      • <blockquote>Right SparkFun?</blockquote>
        Pretty much - with the caveat that there’re all kinds of plans for BPCB and one guy hacking on ‘em, so give it a little time. :)

        • No rush, I know you guys have a lot of work to do. It will get better with time, just like SF and anything else worth our time!

  • Whoa, I’ve ALWAYS wanted fireworks like that. Imagine what your neighbor would say if you lit one of those off in your back yard.

  • BatchPCB marketplace is either a really half-baked idea, or I am badly missing the point. Perhaps you get the design files when you order a board? But it doesn’t look like this is true.
    We need a way to attach a schematic diagram, a parts list, and a link to a web site with more information, and to be able to download the Eagle source files for the design. This would make the Marketplace much more useful.
    A way for the user community to rate the boards is also pretty much a necessity. You’ve already got folks out there posting board designs that have never been built (and not debugged).
    Marketplace is a good kernel of an idea, but it needs some more cooking to be really tasty.

  • So if I put a design for sale, does that mean that Sparkfun can buy my design and start making a ton of money just off a measly cheap purchase of the initial design and start selling it on their website?

    • You set the price that you want to sell the boards at, above the cost of getting them manufactured. SparkFun could, I suppose, buy the PCBs from you just like anybody else could.
      But SparkFun is certainly never going to duplicate and sell anybody’s design without permission (or without following the board’s license properly, when that is applicable).

  • I 4th or 5th the decision to get Canada onboard this wagon as soon as possible… Addressing the requests for links and descriptions in the marketplace, what I usually do is make the PCB and have a project with the parts required on mouser so that when I need to get something made, I just order that project…If I had a degree in electrical engineering (which I am pursuing by the way) I would request Sparkfun if I can open up a brach here in Calgary, AB Canada…that would make things sooo much more awesome, it would also cut the time ti takes for orders to reach here…

  • The BatchPCB thing sounds great, but a list of boards would be nice. An in depth description for the board would help, along with parts list. For those projects that may have a URL, including that also helps.

  • OMG! Enough with the grunge theme, dudes! ROTFL! (BatchPCB = WIN, though!)

  • BatchPCB designs should be associated with Sparkfun products they are intended for or compatible with so that they show up in the “related products” section of a product page on Sparkfun!

  • Holy crap thats awesome!!


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