New Product Friday: The MiniPost


Good riddance to May and bring me June. We're slowly approaching summer, but that doesn't stop us from having new products. This week we have a few products to tell you about, including the long-awaited MiniBot. Let's check out the video(s), and then the products.


Vimeo version here!

For more information on the MiniBot, check out the video below which goes into a bit more depth. We should have an assembly video coming along in the next couple weeks as well.

We're pretty excited about the MiniBot and are looking forward to what people will end up using it for. Stay tuned for the assembly video!

And here it is - the ProtoSnap MiniBot, a self-contained robotic development platform. The main board includes a motor driver, an FTDI basic, an Arduino Pro Mini, a couple of infrared sensors, and some space for prototyping. Bolt on the included gearbox, motors, and you have a simple development platform. And once you're done, you can snap it apart use the parts individually.

Our Arduino and Breadboard holder has been pretty popular, but many people were frustrated by the tabs that could break off too easily. We've revised the holder to use screws which solves a few problems. Now you can use almost any board that shares the same footprint as the Arduino and there's nothing to break. And because there aren't tabs, you can even mount a Mega to this (although it will hang off the end a bit).

With the announcement and release of the Arduino Leonardo, people are chomping at the bit to try out the new ATmega32U4. We are using it in our Pro Micro line, but now we have it in a simple breakout board. The ATmega32U4 Breakout Board should give you an easy way to play around with the new 32U4 before the Leonardo starts shipping in a few weeks.

Speaking of ProtoSnap, we now have the ProtoSnap Pro Mini as a retail product. Eventually, you will see the entire ProtoSnap lineup at your local SparkFun retailer.

Well, that's all we have for this week. Be sure to check back next week for more new products and a special demonstration of a very exciting new product. See you then.


Comments 35 comments

  • So is there any prize for noticing there was no caption contest in May? I read your site every day! :-)

  • Cool! Excited for the MiniBot :D

  • geez its getting a bit short on products these days . I’m loosing interest!

    • Dude, taking this post as “the” standard amount of products added weekly thats 208 products a year…however that number is closer to 350 a year according to my napkin math… so we can basically round it off to 1 product a day…

      take into acount that they are shaving the yaks for us… those things run fast…

      viva la sparkfun!

      • 4 a week ? Hmm I’d like to see the napkin , what are the sums based on? and what does “shaving the yaks” mean. Sounds like lots of yak hair lying about dude

    • Granted, they aren’t that huge, and about a year ago there was a month where every thursday new product post was epic. However, they wouldn’t be epic if they were all like that, would they?? I just wish “According to Pete” was a weekly thing…

      • It really depends on what new products we have in that week. Some weeks we have a lot, others not so much. It all depends. I just work with what I’ve got…

      • Then you will definitely want to watch this week’s ATP for a special announcement…

  • I saw a new product this morning that you guys have to get. I toured Crosslink in the Jordan Valley Innovation Center in Springfield, MO. They’ve created electroluminescent fabric! It looks like it operates the same as EL Wire, with a high-frequency inverter etc. They developed it for the Army to create illuminated panels in tents. I saw two, large panels: one aqua and one white. It was AWESOME!!! Imagine sewing clothes and stuff that will completely illuminate. The possibilities are insane. www.crosslinkusa.com

    • I followed your link and looked closely but did not find any reference to it . Can you elaborate or post a direct link please?

  • I would rather see Sparkfun open a chain of stores that offered prototype services like pcb printing, 3d printing, classes, and all the great merchandise available online.

    • It’s a great idea, but a HUGE undertaking.

      • I love how you guys are willing to respond to stuff like this and give credit to what your customers are saying.

        That being said, this would be a MASSIVE undertaking. Does SparkFun have any partnerships with hackerspaces for something along these lines? That would be the coolest thing ever.

        • We kinda have partnerships with hackerspaces. Or we have relationships with some. But when it comes down to it, this would take financial backing more than anything.

      • Dunder Mifflin did it.

      • Buyout the crapshack!!! NOW!!!! Please?

        • I don’t think we have that kind of money on hand :-)

          Plus, I don’t want my paycheck to be determined by how many warranties or cell phone plans I sell…

          • Well can you at least buy the one near me? It’s a franchise store and they are getting fed up with dealing with Phoneshack. However its a small town so you’d have to find some way to attach a soldering iron to a rifle or sell a deer-finder kit.

          • and batteries!

            • haha, yeah. actually Nick, my assistant worked at Radioshack before this. He can legitimize all these jokes…

    • Having a brick and mortar presence is a huge gamble. Brick and mortar stores are going away. It is very quickly becoming an online marketplace for non-perishable goods. That is why Walmart is getting into groceries so they can attract people into the stores. They see the writing on the wall.

      I personally believe Sparkfun provides an excellent product base. Making stores will cut into their bottom line and they will have to raise prices.

      If you want Sparkfun stuff in stores then solicit the stores. They will listen if you find the right people. I know Radio Shaft is now carrying Arduino stuff. I took advantage of that the other day as I needed an AVR programmer in a hurry. So I bought one there. I would love to pick up Sparkfun stuff from them.

  • Definitely a minipost

  • I’d love to see you guys carry that laser cut plexi Rob was talking about. Especially for expanding the Rover 5. Its a great platform, but you immediately need places to mount things. And it would be cool to build our own platforms if we already have wheels, etc.

    • Have you ever heard of Ponoko? You can design your own parts and have them cut it for you out of various materials.

      We have a laser cutter, but it’s not really for production-level stuff, just prototyping.

      • My personal favorite robotics site which also does some pretty low-cost custom laser cutting.

        www.pololu.com under the services section

        • I have also used pololu for for there laser cutting services. They are great. I have used them from small 1 of prototypes to small (100-500pcs) production runs.

      • I like eMachineshop for custom parts (not just laser cut) they are a very well thought out company that really offers a wide range of services. They also offer a free 3D CAD program that allows you to select materials and processes before submission and checks your work for possible problems with material-process combinations.

      • Yea that place is sweet!


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