Arduino on the table... Raspberry Pi on the floor. Those things are hard to work with aren't they? Put them on the FruitStand.
The FruitStand is a workspace that gives you flexibility. You can pop the "baskets" on and off the FruitStand to quickly change out parts of your project.
What problem does this project solve? Think about the times when you are playing with your Arduino or Raspberry Pi... do you just put them on the table? Do they fall on the floor or you pull the USB cable and all the wires pull out of the breadboard? Yah, that happens to me too. Now imagine if they are all connected to one main work surface. Sure, I know... there are other products out there that do this. They cost from $20 to $40 and they are for one specific development board and they have one breadboard stuck to it... no flexibility.
What am I trying to accomplish by raising this money? The most important thing is buying a laser cutter. This is the main tool for producing the FruitStand and the accessories (Baskets, etc). I have limited access to one right now and it makes the process very slow. The second thing I hope to accomplish is to get some of these out in the wild. This will help me get ideas for further development. I already have a ton of ideas... I just dont have enough access to a laser cutter. This is just a prototype right now, but everyone I have shown it to wants one (or two).
With the FruitStand you can keep your projects separate but in tact!! You might be working with a RTC circuit on one breadbasket, and an LED stoplight on another. Just pop one out and pop the other in. Lets say you have finally used all the GPIOs on that little Uno... time for a Mega! Set the ArduinoBasket with the Mega (same basket fits the Uno) above, transfer the wires... pop out the Uno and pop the Mega in. No hassle with screws and little bits of metal... just a nice Basket.
Breadbasket note... I am trying to work out a bigger breadboard or two of the smaller one pictured, so dont freak out about the small breadboard... it will support bigger ones.
Need more than 2 spots for boards? No problem. Just attach multiple FruitStands together (read the rewards note below about getting two of these). The FruitStand has embedded threads and notches for connector pieces These will also serve in the future for other add-ons like being able to stack FruitStands.
Lets talk Rewards: UPDATE: I added a $55 reward that you can get 2 FruitStands and 4 baskets, plus I will include 4 connectors. How about fulfillment? I have estimated the time it takes to produce these and I think I can hit my production goals even if I get a crazy number of orders (my wife and friends will be given pizza and put to work). In fact... the more I get funded, the better the laser cutter I can buy. Right now I am targeting a 40W laser, however that will be a little slow. If I can afford a 90W laser it will cut down the cutting time by around 5x. I would have to hit around 200% of the funding goal to get the 90W laser... but it could happen. I will give you the option of several colors. Right now I think my options are blue, black, red, green, white, and yellow (perhaps more if I can source some good acrylic for a good price). Cheap junky acrylic does not cut well IMHO. I will offer mixed colors (like the blue/green/clear prototype in the pictures) if I can get the 90W laser. The red FruitStand is cool looking, the pictures dont do it justice.
In order for this to be a success I need to cut down the variables. Because of this the "Baskets" created in the beginning will be limited to the BreadBasket (breadboard), the ArduinoBasket (will hold at a minimum Uno and Mega, likely more) and the PiBasket (Raspberry Pi, both first gen and second gen... second gen has screw holes... thank god). I have a ton of really cool ideas, but in order for them to come true I need to get this first phase done. I need a solid foundation, and this will be it. Thanks for your consideration!
If you want to find more history of this project, visit http://blog.protofruit.com/
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The first challenge is to work out the kinks with the sliding mechanism. The red prototype you see was #2 and didnt work as well as #1 (green and blue) when it came to sliding the plates in and out. With a little trial and error and a ton of time on the laser cutter I think all the kinks can be worked out. If I cant figure this out on my own, I know many mechanical engineers that can lend a hand.
The second challenge is to find a laser cutter that is able to cut the acrylic thicknesses I need in a timely manor. The cheaper laser cutters will be slow and thus will slow the process. Right now I use a 60W laser that works great and has way more bells and whistles than I need, it also has a price tag of $30k. I will be able to spend a fraction of that ($5k or less). This should be no problem and I might even be able to get 2 if I can make a good deal. One of the better laser cutter manufacturers is located here in Colorado, so I should be able to try before I buy and help cut down the risk that the cutter I buy does not do the job. Lets say I do end up with a bad cutter or it breaks. I do still have access to the one I have been using and I will have to get up really early to use it before anyone else. I could also contract to some local shops.
The third challenge... well its one we all struggle with. Time. My objective is to get the process down to a science and then teach others how to assemble the FruitStand. I will be making all of the ones that are rewards myself. After that... who knows. I have carefully calculated how much time each one takes to make and am confident I can make this work.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.