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August 15, 2016 AT 4:13 pm

Maker to Market 8 – Production – How Adafruit developed Circuit Playground @makerio @DigiKey #DeskOfLadyada

From Maker to Market 08 – Production – How Adafruit developed Circuit Playground, an educational board for makers.

Ahhh, production time. The sweet smell of your final BOM in the air, you’re ready to start making some serious decisions. First, you’ll want to decide what demand might be—how much should you order? You’ll also need to think about the manufacturing supply chain, which will involve making decisions about board houses, manufacturers, and assembly houses.

OK – the fun time! Now that the PCB is done we panelize it for production and place orders for components. You will have to decide what amount of money you’re willing to silk into parts cost, keeping in mind you have to buy full reels to get good savings. We also order a stencil and schedule the first production run. The board is programmed into the pick and place and we run it through the machinery. Each board must then be functionally tested, and reworked if it doesn’t pass.


This series is a special edition of “From the Desk of Ladyada” with our Circuit Playground launch partner, Maker.io & Digi-Key (be sure to check our interview with the CEO of Digi-Key, Dave Doherty, too!).

Adafruit and Maker.io (powered by Digi-Key) are airing the next episode in this new series live, Saturday 8/20 @ 10pm on YouTube LIVEFacebook LIVE and Twitch.tv!

In case you missed the previous episodes:

1.  “Concept” → 2.  “Research” → 3. “Evaluation” → 4. “Design” → 5. “Prototyping”  → 6. “Funding” → 7. “Marketing”

Why are we doing this? It would be challenging to meet the demand we’re expecting with Circuit Playground orders, shipping, outreach and more – so we’re working with -the best- to get as many out there, to as many people as possible, and “showing our work” about the entire process. Special thanks to David, Jim, Dave, Brooks, Dawn, Jennifer, Paula, Kevin, Wayne and everyone at Digi-Key.


About Maker.io
Digi‐Key was started by a maker professional and has a long history of being a destination for entrepreneurial engineers. Maker.io is the first site to help those people take their ideas from concept to product.

Maker.io was created to help makers understand the phases that occur from concept through production. Digi-Key knows designers will have stumbling blocks throughout the phases, and the main objective of the site is to walk makers through the design-chain “Roadmap” that offers an aggregated community of tools, ideas, solutions, and information that properly meet the needs of the marketplace every step of the way.

By leveraging Digi-Key resources including design tools such as Scheme-it and PCBWeb, complete BOM management support, leading edge maker-friendly solutions from companies like Adafruit that are augmented with full line support from industry leaders and having the world’s largest available inventory for immediate shipment, Digi-Key truly is the best destination for the maker professional.

The availability of very low cost modular hardware tools combined with simple-to-use free software development environments has led to an explosion in the number of makers and developers. As a result, Maker.io is platform (Arduino, BeagleBone, Raspberry Pi, Photon…), post, and project based. Beyond the roadmap, maker professionals as community members can submit projects either publicly or privately. This collaborative and project-based approach will help designers better understand the phases along the map.

Maker.io is the perfect complement to digikey.com. Whether you are just starting out or are already down the design path, you are able to access pre-curated content, solutions and resources from industry professionals, as well as your peers, to help guide you through the phases. No matter where you are on your design roadmap, Maker.io can help you bring your product and dreams to market.

Adafruit is proud to partner with Digi-key and introduce Maker.io to all our customers and fans. This is our second installment of Adafruit’s video series Maker to Market, which will take you on the journey that was the creation of Circuit Playground, Adafruit’s all-in-one board — the perfect microcontroller for learning electronics.


Check out all the Circuit Playground Episodes! Our new kid’s show and subscribe!

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