Why we're doing this...
These days, most kids don't learn about soldering until they "have" to do it for a class or course at school. But we think being able to neatly solder a PCB (Printed Circuit Board) is very empowering. So we decided to create a fun game that they could only get by assembling their own circuit board.
And so the Blink Master was born.
We quickly decided on a two player game format with a row of colored LEDs and push buttons at each end. We then created miniature versions of some real-life games, like handball, hand-slap and tug-of-war. Finally we added some cool sounds and programmed a PIC to do all the work.
We're really pleased with our PCB design: it's smooth and stable on a table, and the buttons have a real nice feel. It's a production quality PCB with plated-through holes and solder-mask on both sides. It's a dream for first time solderers.
The kit come with the blank circuit board, and all the components. Solder and soldering iron not included.
We have been working hard on the software to make it fun and intuitive. We have provided one and two player versions of the games. The one-player versions have fun random elements. All two-player game run best-of-five, with the game keeping score on the red and green LEDs.
Just for fun, there's even a Bling-Beats game that lets you make up a tune and play it back.
The board and software designs are all done, and now we're ready to do a volume run to get a nice low pledge amount for the games. We've chosen a really low goal amount to ensure that we can get Blink Masters to all the budding makers out there.
We've already created two instructional videos for the Blink Master, and we plan to do at least one more showing more advanced soldering practices.
Here's a video showing the Blink Master game-play and features.
If you would like to know how to build the blink master. Here is a link to our resources page. It includes video and written instructions.
Here are a few soldering irons.
($14.99) For beginners this is pretty good because it is temperature controlled, and includes solder. This soldering iron is also "primed" if you have Amazon Prime. http://www.amazon.com/Vastar-Adjustable-Temperature-Soldering-additional/dp/B014KBIB3M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1446318505&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=soldering+iron&psc=1
($25.95) This kit includes a stand, solder, solder sucker, carrying case, and extra soldering tips. http://www.amazon.com/Mudder-Electronic-Soldering-Adjustable-Temperature/dp/B015MVV19A/ref=sr_1_155?ie=UTF8&qid=1446319676&sr=8-155&keywords=soldering+iron
($44.99) If you plan on doing more soldering than just the Blink Master, this is a good option. It comes with a stand, better temperature controls, and a sponge to clean the irons tip. http://www.amazon.com/Aoyue-AO936-AOYUE-Soldering-Station/dp/B000VINMRO/ref=sr_1_97?ie=UTF8&qid=1446318787&sr=8-97&keywords=soldering+iron
($69.99) This is the same one we use, just without a few features. We really like them and they work great. http://www.amazon.com/Kendal-REWORK-SOLDERING-IRON-STATION/dp/B004ZB9D4O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1446318892&sr=8-1&keywords=kendal+soldering+iron
($129.00) My brother Kevin and I both have one of these soldering irons. They are great to work with, but are on the pricey side. http://www.amazon.com/Kendal-853D-REWORK-SOLDERING-STATION/dp/B00GRHD5RA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1446318924&sr=8-2&keywords=kendal+soldering+iron
Risks and challenges
We have the final prototype, and don't expect to make any changes. We have suppliers in place that can get us enough parts for over 2000 boards. We plan to ship the first round of boards three weeks after the conclusion of the KickStarter. We plan to order the "Early Bird" PCBs midway through the KickStarter. Since the PCB's will be shipped over seas, there is a risk of delayed fulfillment. At the KickStarter's conclusion, we will to order all of the PCBs and parts to create the finished product. With that comes the risk of missed or lost shipments.
Our goal is to have all of the kits shipped out a week before Christmas. The risk is fairly low since we have our final design in hand, and are ready for production. If the shipping goes as planned, we should have no problem meeting our goals!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (15 days)