About this project
What is Makeblock?
Makeblock is an aluminum extrusion based construct platform that can be used to bring your creations to life. With Makeblock you can make professional and steady robots, machines or even art-ware. The only limit is what you can think of.
With Makeblock platform, the only necessary tool is a screw driver. There is no soldering or special skill needed. No electronic background, not familiar with programming, no problem. Everyone over fourteen years old can use Makeblock to turn their ideas into reality.
We are committed to providing a complete solution to bring your ideas into the physical world to enjoy.
Why did we start this project?
We wanted to create a platform that is open and accessible to everyone, to allow people with varying skills and backgrounds to create something with their hands. Before, when you wanted to build something like this; you need to have a deep understanding of electronics, software and mechanics. While we agree there are quite a few solutions on the market today that allow you to learn electronics, there is nothing that will let you learn the other skills you will need as well.
It was then we decided that the only way to do this was to design our own platform. This was a tough choice; as we needed something that was easy to use, affordable and compatible with other products on the market today. This was not enough, however it also needs to be strong, something that both children and adults could play with and continue to enjoy for a long time.
After a year of testing, designing and several upgrades we finally unveiled our creation.
Makeblock’s STABILITY comes from its strong modular aluminum design and flexibility. We designed the connections with threaded slots and holes to make connections easier when building, essentially removing the need for bulky connectors. This makes Makeblock extremely adaptable to almost any project you can dream of.
Makeblock uses the most popular open source platform Arduino. Just as the Arduino team said, it's intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.
Moreover, we made MODULARIZED electronic modules with uniform connectors, which is super easy to use and more friendly to beginners. Apart from this, we use color tags to identify the functions of each connector, and with provided Arduino library, you don’t need a deep understanding of electronics to make the right connection, just be sure the color tags match. We believe, you will never find the electronics are so easy-to-use.
We will also provide an APP for you to control your robots without programming.
A beta version of APP for Android device has been finished by Makeblock, by which you can use your smart phone control the car through bluetooth. The app has the function of moving the car forward, backward, left, right, and stop. Besides, we are working on the more friendly UI. APP for iOS is also in planning.
Once your project is assembled Makeblock doesn't stop there, it is COMPATIBLE with other devices. This means you could add ordinary DC motors, stepper motors and servos to really make your project come to life. Makeblock will also allow you to combine Lego NXT mindstorm into the project.
Makeblock is OPENSOURCE (CC-BY-SA 3.0.), all of our design materials, including CAD drawing of mechanical parts, schematics and PCB layout can be download on our website after the funding ends.
Where can Makeblock be used?
Makeblock can be used for raising kids' good capablitity of practice. It is suggested parents accompanied.
Makeblock can be a great tool for Hackerspace.
Makeblock can be used for the education of Engineering, like Model System Construction.
Makeblock can be used for the enterprise employee training of team work, time managment, and expanding mind.
Makeblock can be used for many practical applications, 3D printer, Camera slider, CNC machine, home automation, and more than you can imagine.
What kits should you choose?
Price of the kits are ONLY for KickStarter within 40 days, you will never get such low price after this project.
For each kit, we will provide detailed manuals and demo code for you, and you can also email us any questions you have.
we listed the main features for each kit below the kit pictures, there is also a main part list of each kit if you need more detailed information.
How will the Kickstarter funds be used?
The goal of our first Kickstarter is to raise enough fund to add new components and designs into production, which will give our platform more functions. By pledging to this project you are helping us provide a full range of solutions, to make more ideas around the world come into reality.
We are located in Shenzhen, China and cooperated with lots of factories around here.
For most of the parts we promised, we have already successfully made the small production run. To start mass production the only limitation is whether there's enough fund. So we will make it happen after this project reach 100% funding goal.
The testing of customized servo prototype has been done. The molds are ready, we will start a small production after we reach 100% funding goal.
The tank track’s prototype testing has been done as well. We will start to manufacture the mold, and this will take about one week time, and then mass production can be initiated.
For the stepper motor bracket, we just finished the design, and will test it after our project launched on Kickstarter. The whole process will take about 3 weeks before we put it into mass production.
For the electronics, we have finished most of the promised electronic modules designing and the prototype testing,except the Lego bridges. We will cooperate with local experienced manufacturing companies to do the production.
Who we are
Makeblock was founded on October 2011 by Jasen in Shenzhen, China. Jasen is a robot fanatic who was not satisfied with the robot kits existing in the market, so he has always been thinking of how to make a better one. But he had no inspiration until one day at his job in a Chinese factory he saw a truly unique design of an aluminum extruded functional threaded slot. It was near the floor in the corner of a large Chinese make frame for holding electronics. This is where it all started. Jasen knew this was the perfect foundation for the robot kit he wanted.
Jasen met Tully in the Shenzhen hacker-space in October 2011, Tully is not a stranger of China. He first started working and living in China in late 2005. He has a lengthy career in Open hardware. Tully has added his own touch of creativity to the Makeblock design set working as an engineering marketing advisor, ensuring that it has appeal not only to the east but also to people in the west.
Andy, supply chain manager, is in charge of the manufacturing and sourcing, he needs to negotiate with about 9 factories cooperating with us. This is a rough task, but he does a great job.
Steve worked in a very big open hardware leading manufacturer for 3 years before he joined in Makeblock in August 2012. He is now in charge of the electronic design.
Robotor is a robot enthusiast and developer with solid background in electronic & A.I. robotics. He met Jasen at a small workshop held by Makeblock in September this year. Now he works with Makeblock as product engineer.
We would like to express our gratitude to all those who gave us the possiblity to implement this project.
We want to thank Chaihuo Makerspace, where we started from, for providing us a very good working space.
We want to thank the Accelerator Program of HAXLR8R, for it's early angel investment and incubation.
Especially, we'd like to thank Lech Alexander Murawski, who gave us a great help during the Accelerator Program.
We also want to thank Hal Gottfried for his valuable suggestions on improving the design of Makeblock.
And great thanks to whoever gave us suggestions and feedback during the development of Makeblock, to our angel customers.
Risks and challenges
We are working very hard to fulfill our promise to the backers. For each kit, you will receive mechanical parts, electronic modules and coresponding software.
Mechanical: There are 35 existing mechanical parts in production as well as 7 new components with molds already designed to be put into production. Our supply chain has worked well for several month, and it only take several days for us to put a new part into production. So there is nearly no risk for us to provide mechanical parts to our customers.
Electronics: We have finished most of the electronic modules designing and prototype testing. And we are working on the designing of Lego bridges for Arduino. For the production, we are negotiating with local factories. Once
confirmed, the production can be finished in one month.
Software: We have developed and tested an Android app for controlling Makeblock robot via Bluetooth. And the app for ios is also in planning. There will be Arduino software for each electronic modules, and most of them are finished. We will post the progress on kickstarter and our blog.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Yes, the Arduino-compatible boards are included in each kit except the $25 pledge and the deluxe kit with out electronics.As we promised, all in one box, parts,tools, controller, wires, etc.you just need some batteries, then you can start you creation immediately.
Makeblock is manily for those who are not familiar with electronics and programming. The Starter Kit, Advanced Kit, Ultimate Kit, and Photography Kit will all come with tutorials. And more tutorials are in planning. And even, the App for your smartphone will make you not bother any programming.
Yes, you can add 35 addtional USD for 4 electronic bridges for Lego electronics, for those kits without Lego bridges. These will include 2 motor bridges, which can be used to control Lego motors via Arduino, 2 Lego sensor bridges, which can be used for Arduino to read Lego sensors signals. Meanwhile, don't forget to send us message to notify this
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