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$29,115 pledged of $90,000 goal
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$29,115 pledged of $90,000 goal
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About this project

So many possibilities! Makes an amazing holiday season gift!
So many possibilities! Makes an amazing holiday season gift!
Incorporate Build Upons into the latest Star Wars spaceships!
Incorporate Build Upons into the latest Star Wars spaceships!

 We are Lunchbox Electronics and we are creating Build Upons: Light up bricks to build upon your existing LEGO® creations.  Light up your robot, house, or spaceship! Our Build Upons are based on the smallest 1x1 brick we could fit an LED into to create elegant and flexible designs. The Build Upons system has three types of bricks: an LED brick, a power brick, and a bridge brick. 

You can power an LED brick by stacking it directly on top of a power brick, or use the bridge brick to route power to LEDs throughout your design, allowing LEDs to be placed anywhere! 

This 3D printed prototype shows an LED brick stacked on a bridge brick stacked on a power brick.
This 3D printed prototype shows an LED brick stacked on a bridge brick stacked on a power brick.

The bridge bricks allow for flexibility within the design. The below examples use the bridge bricks to route power from the battery pack to the LED bricks, wherever the LED bricks happen to be. The bridge bricks function even when turned 90 degrees!

Build a Helicopter!
Build a Helicopter!
These are only a few of the projects that highlight our bricks, we can't wait to see what you do!
These are only a few of the projects that highlight our bricks, we can't wait to see what you do!
We have created these prototype bricks, but we need you to get to a production run!
We have created these prototype bricks, but we need you to get to a production run!
                                       
                 

Specs and Process

This product will be released as open source hardware upon shipping! Trust us - Alicia wrote the book on it.
This product will be released as open source hardware upon shipping! Trust us - Alicia wrote the book on it.

We are using standard surface mount white LEDs in the bricks powered by a 4.5v battery pack. AA batteries not included. The bricks have metal running through the top and bottom creating connections where they stack. We have gone through several prototyped designs, improving each one. 

Here is a walk through of our design changes in R&D.
Here is a walk through of our design changes in R&D.

Each iteration reflects a change to make our product more manufacturable and easy to assemble. We are now in our fourth major design iteration and ready for production. The earliest prototype was done with 3D printing, copper tape, and inserting LEDs into a plastic brick by hand, which was time consuming and tedious. In order to build lots of these bricks we need to invest in injection molding. 

The Team

This was the only photo that Puppet had her eyes open.
This was the only photo that Puppet had her eyes open.

 *Alicia Gibb* Alicia Gibb is the CEO of Lunchbox Electronics. She has been playing with LEGO® her whole life, but started research on lighting them up in 2007. Alicia has a Masters in Information Science, focusing on physical computing and interaction design. She is also the founder and Executive Director of the Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA), an organization to educate and promote building and using open source hardware and wrote Building Open Source Hardware. She is a member of NYCResistor, founded and co-chaired two Open Hardware Summits and directs the Blow Things Up Lab at University of Colorado Boulder. Her work has appeared in Wired magazine, IEEE Spectrum, Hackaday and the New York Times. 

*Jason Brownstein* Jason Brownstein is the Mechanical Engineer of Lunchbox Electronics. He has also been playing with LEGO® his entire life! He graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with a Masters in Mechanical Engineering. Jason has prior experience with product design, manufacturing, and design and fabrication of interactive art. Building things to withstand all human conditions is his jam. On any given day you can find him playing with the 3D printer, on the phone with manufacturers, making 3D models, or cuddling baby bunnies.

*Puppet* Puppet is the Marketing Director and Customer Service at Lunchbox Electronics. She has been doing comedic relief all her life. Puppet has an honorary PhD in Antics and Tomfoolery. Talking in a high pitched voice is what she does best. She is also Jason's boss when Alicia is out. 

*Our Networks* Our team spreads farther than just who sits in the office everyday. We leverage advice and learn from notable figureheads within the hardware and electronics communities including Nathan Seidle of Sparkfun Electronics, Eric Schweikardt of Modular Robotics, Amanda Williams of Fabule Fabrications, Kipp Bradford of KippKitts, our friends at Sketching in Hardware, and all the friends at NCYResistor.

Help Us Spread the Word!

Every tweet and share will help us reach our goal and go above and beyond! 

Timeline

We are set up to begin manufacturing. We've gone through several iterations and prototypes already and are confident that we are ready to mass produce this product. We aim to have the kits out by Christmas 2015! These will be the prefect gift for LEGO® aficionados!

Lunchbox Electronics Timeline
Lunchbox Electronics Timeline
  • 2012 - First prototype designed!
  • 2013 - Nesting design completely changed to the the Basket design
  • 2014 - Copper design changed to incorporate 90 degree turns
  • 2014 - Build Upons PTH (plated through-hole) version manufactured. Designed for use in printed circuit boards but also compatible with LEGO®. Fit and feel has been proven to be perfect!
  • 2015 - Ready to begin manufacturing of Build Upons
  • When we ship the project's source will be released as open source hardware! 

Budget

We have already done the R&D to get through the initial prototyping costs: 3D printing, PCBs, and an initial proof of concept for tooling. We will be using multiple sets of tooling including die casting and injection molding to achieve the finished product. We are planning to cover the non-reoccuring project costs with our Kickstarter as injection molding is the most expensive part of our project.

Help Us Spread the Word!

Every tweet and share will help us reach our goal and go above and beyond!

Risks and challenges

The risks and challenges of any hardware project is in the manufacturing. We already have manufacturers lined up for this product who specialize in precision manufacturing and are confident they can achieve the tolerances needed for a good fit. There are often delays with hardware, but we believe we've found manufacturers who are prepared to create our designs and work through changes quickly and effectively. They are responsive to our design changes, give great feedback and work well with us. We have already manufactured a less complicated through-hole LED brick as a trial run: http://www.lunchboxelectronics.com/product/build-upons-pth-edition. Manufacturing the previous brick allowed us to prove that we could create interlocking bricks compatible with LEGO®. Our current challenges are the cost of injection molding and die casting, but that's where you come in!

LEGO® is a trademark of the LEGO® Group, which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse this project or web site.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Thanks!
    Help us spread the word on social media!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Starter Kit
    The starter kit includes 3 white LED Bricks, 5 Bridge Bricks, 1 Power Brick, and a Battery Pack.

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    Pledge $38 or more About $38

    Early Bird - Build Upons Aficionado Kit
    Jump the line! This group will be shipped first. You will receive the first bricks hot off the press! (They are literally hot when they come out of the mold... but they'll cool by the time they get to you.)

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    Build Upons Aficionado Kit
    This kit includes 5 white LED Bricks, 10 Bridge Bricks, 2 Power Bricks, and 2 Battery Packs. MOAR LEDs, MOAR power.

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    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    GHF Partnership Kit
    Get the Aficionado Build Upons Kit with more LEDs! 2 purple LED bricks and 2 green LED bricks will be added to the kit to represent support for the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum!

    Check them out at giftedhomeschoolers.org!

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    Limit Edition Build Upons Kit
    This is the Build Upons kit with voting power. At this level you get to vote on what color plastic will be used for the bridge bricks and power bricks. In addition, we will upgrade your LED bricks to super fun colors. It might be purple, UV, blue, infrared, or peach! It will be a surprise!

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Super Bling Build Upons Kit
    This kit includes 10 white LED Bricks, 10 red LED Bricks, 10 blue LED Bricks, 5 limited edition LED bricks, 35 Bridge Bricks, 7 Power Bricks, and 7 Battery Packs. The ultimate in blinky bling. You'll also get to vote on the color of plastic used for our bridge bricks and power bricks.

    Your kit will be delivered in a lunchbox shaped box.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    The Customizer Kit!
    You get to customize your entire kit! Choose up to 200 bricks, mix and match LED bricks, Bridge Bricks, and Power Bricks (Each power brick will come with a power supply)! You can even customize the color of LEDs in your LED bricks! You'll also get to vote on the color of plastic used for our bridge bricks and power bricks.

    Your kit will be delivered in a lunchbox shaped box.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    DINNER WITH ALICIA GIBB, CEO of LUNCHBOX ELECTRONICS & NATHAN SEIDLE, CEO of SPARKFUN ELECTRONICS!
    We'll fly you to beautiful Boulder, CO! We'll show you around Boulder and you'll get to enjoy dinner with the CEO of Lunchbox Electronics and the CEO of Sparkfun Electronics. We'll fly you out and put you up in a hotel in historic Downtown Boulder. You'll get to see our latest creations, discuss ideas for future products, and we'll even let you 3D print a novelty-size brick with your name on it. You’ll also receive the Super Bling Build Upons Kit! Hotel costs will be covered for one (1) night. Domestic travel within the US is covered for one (1) person only. You are welcome to bring up to two guests (so bring your kids!), or fly internationally, but you will need to cover any additional travel expenses.

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Funding period

- (30 days)