SparkFun Forums 

Where electronics enthusiasts find answers.

Have a good idea for a new product for SFE or Olimex? Let us know!
By uChip
Why StdBx?

This didn't seem to fit with the earlier content so I'm posting it separately.

StdBx more than anything else is a promise. StdBx lowers the barrier for anyone to create good looking projects (like the sampler example), so that hopefully more people will do so. Lowering that barrier means reducing cost and reducing the difficulty and specialized knowledge needed. Part of reducing the cost is reducing the number of iterations needed to get to a good looking functional finished product. Ideally the number of iterations should be one.

For that to happen, all the pieces (library, components, enclosure, PCB, laser cutting service, etc) have to be validated to work together. To get a breadth of components there needs to be more folks involved with researching and testing than just me. To me that implies a community involvement. But with that open involvement comes a potential uneven-ness of quality. The way this has been solved in the software community is with peer review and moderation of releases. I'd like to borrow this idea for contributions to the enclosure system.

To make the idea into something more tangible I propose "StdBx". Tangibly StdBx is a GitHub account. But philosophically StdBx is the promise that the things in the StdBx repositories work together. Actionably there needs to be a set of rules that gate whether a part or a design get into a StdBx repository. That way anyone can submit "a great new switch that looks like it will work with StdBx", but users of StdBx would know to be wary of the new switch until it has been proven. With StdBx I would hope to see an ever evolving collection of displays, connectors, switches, enclosure designs, and more, that kids, makers or anyone can use with confidence. If there is no promise, all you have is a collection of random components that might be great or might cause you to have to scrap a PCB or panel design.

I expect everything in StdBx to be open, but if anyone can add or change anything, how is the promise maintained? StdBx itself has to be moderated or else things might degenerate to chaos. I've set up the GitHub account, but there's nothing in it yet. My focus so far has been on proving the initial prototype. As things get organized and documented they will get posted to StdBx. Right now that's just me, and I'm not sure anyone else cares, but I would welcome others who want to be involved.

And just so we can use StdBx unambiguously I hereby do the following.

StdBx is copyright (c) C.Schnarel 2014 all rights reserved.

Don't worry Nate it's not a patent. :-) Nor is the intent to own or to prevent copying the StdBx content. Instead the intent is to form the root for a chain of trust. It's expensive and discouraging to buy parts and pay for a custom laser cut panel only to find out they don't work together. Especially if it's your first project and you're only 12. The promise of StdBx is that the parts DO work together just as you see in the photos. To keep the promise of StdBx, StdBx itself must be protected. Someone may copy all the content from StdBx. They may or may not maintain the same level of compatibility. They can do what they want. The can do anything except call their stuff StdBx.

If I could I would Register or Trademark StdBx, but I don't have the money for that right now. Maybe I will someday. In the mean time, publishing here and the copyright serves to establish the StdBx intent and date the start of the idea and ownership. Is this really necessary? I don't know, but I will point out that even as open and community spirited as SparkFun is, they still have registered their name (see the (R) at the bottom of the main page.)

By uChip
Inching this forward again. :-)

I continue to work on a StdBx release. If you would like to experiment with it you can find the release here. In the repository you will find the Eagle files, the .stl file for the enclosure and a first stab at (incomplete!) documentation.

WARNING: The designs in the StdBx library are working for me, but because I've yet to have anyone else verify them I'll call the release a beta. No guarantees until other folks prove the work.

Also there is a lurking gotcha: Pololu does not stock one of the materials for the front panel. You can order the material directly and have it shipped to Pololu. The minimum order is about $20 plus shipping which is enough for several front panels. I am in the process of lobbying Pololu to stock this material. If you are serious about trying out StdBx, PM me and I will grant you access to the material I have on hand at Pololu (until it runs out anyway).

Obviously the whole point of putting out a beta is to get feedback, so even if all you do is browse, please comment, file issues or even send pull requests.

- Chip

codlink, I PM'd you but never heard back. Did I scare you off or did you not get the message?
User avatar
By Ross Robotics
Whoops, I missed your message. For some reason, it didn't give me the notification, when I went to check it showed yours was unread.. Plus I was out last week due to moving and didn't get internet hooked up until yesterday.

Emailing you now.