As I sat here this past weekend trying to assemble 25 parts kits to go out the the $100 backers, it occurred to me that I (and a lot of other people) have lost sight of the fact that Kickstarter is supposed to be about enabling the creative process, not getting rich. (Hey, if that had happened, that would have been nice, too!)
Like all creative processes, results vary. I set out to do this Kickstarter project three and a half years ago -- to see what (at the time), a friend and I could produce on our own, and how close we could come to a commercial product. (At this point, it’s mostly been myself with a little help from some old and new friends, more on that in another update.) Working with a partner made forced me to compromise many of my original values; restarting the project allowed me to come closer to what I though we were supposed to be doing. What resulted was my best attempt at creating a product that I would have liked to be able to buy.
That included a DIY surface mount parts kit; these are not very commonly sold, and I learned why the hard way. They are a pain to build; they are too time-consuming to make to be worthwhile from a business standpoint and the parts are too small and easy to lose for it to make sense from a practical standpoint. I only made these kits because it sounded like a fun idea, and many of you backers insisted that you really wanted the experience of building the kit.
So, with that in mind, here’s what I came up with:
I tried to make sure that it would be hard to lose the little parts, and easy to make sure that they were all accounted for. I’m not happy with the results of the capacitor pack — arguably the most important, because the parts are unmarked, but the least important, because the parts are so cheap. So, if I messed up on your kit and it’s missing parts, my apologies; please just go buy them from Digikey or Mouser, improvise with parts you have on hand, or scavenge them from other projects. It’s been a learning experience for all of us.
Enjoy! I am trying to wrap up the Kickstarter phase of this project; I will have a bunch of extra (assembled and blank) boards to sell and some software to try to help write. I will still post at least one more update with the technical lessons learned from this project, and maybe some of the personal lessons learned; these are difficult for me to put into words, I hope you understand.