Just a quick update – we had our latest “Upverter and CircuitMaker Tour” meetup on August 2nd at OSH Park Headquarters in Portland OR. Special thanks to Laen and the OSH Park crew for hosting us! It was really great to meet a bunch (about 22) of CircuitMaker and Upverter users there and hear from you all first hand where you need this to go.
In between discussing Perfect Purple PCBs and projects as diverse as custom guitar pickups and multi-Gigahertz RF boards, Zak and I were able to get candid and direct feedback about where Altium’s going with this whole Upverter + CircuitMaker merge thing.
- Module based design is where this needs to go if hobbyists, artists, scientists and others are going to be able to do hardware design.
- Modular design has a whole host of big boulders to lift, like power supplies, voltage signal levels compatibility, serial and bus interfaces, routing, PCB layer stack compatibility and so on.
- NRE costs are a big barrier. Today, the reason shared panel services like OSH Park are so popular is that they can spread the panel cost among many designers. This will continue, and we need to work with manufacturers to bring this concept to full assembly without exploding the costs to the end user who just wants to get their project working.
- Routing automation needs to be better out of the box, so it “just works” for non-PCB designers.
Needless to say, there’s a lot we need to do to make our future vision a reality. But nothing great ever happened without aiming high!
What do you think? What issues do you believe will be the “big boulders” for us to move if we’re going to make this work for anyone who wants to try turning their idea into a real electronic device?