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Printed Circuit Board Rulers are Getting Smarter

The printed circuit board (PCB) based ruler has been around for awhile now, with one of the most popular being introduced by Adafruit (shown first, below) several years ago. PCB materials are inexpensive and can be fabricated into custom designs by numerous board firms. The rulers most often have useful information printed or etched on each side, giving them some geek cred in addition to usefulness and style.

Custom versions of the Adafruit ruler have been made in conjunction with Mouser and Digikey, in each companies signature colors.

Adafruit PCB Rulers

With the Adafruit design being Open Source, there have been imitations, mostly from abroad. Knockoffs, without the Adafruit logo, are available on AliExpress from China and on eBay.

Some folks including Seeed Studio, nVidia, eevBlog and many others have designed their own PCB rulers in differing sizes with various helpful information on each side.

Assorted PCB Rulers

The Digilent ruler, above, is interesting as it is also a prototyping board for projects.

Not long after Adafruit’s original ruler introduction, Hackaday featured a very crafty digital logic ruler, by Brad, called DigiRule. This PCB ruler also contained a microcontroller and LEDs which simulate digital logic including gates, flip flips, and binary counting. It was offered as a Kickstarter and is still available from Brad on Tindie.

DigiRule programmable ruler

Brad recently announced the design of the DigiRule2. This 20 centimeter ruler, shown below, is planned to be an 8 bit programmable computer with a simple instruction set, similar to the Altair 8800. Brad states he plans a Kickstarter in May or June.

New DigiRule2 programmable ruler

We cannot wait to see Brad’s new ruler and any other innovative designs. Do you know of some great PCB rulers? Post the links and description in the comments!


PCB Business Card – Published by Ilia on 24 October,2017.


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4 Comments

  1. Well, I guess Adafruit got the idea for the ruler from the eevlog and Dave Jones. Didn’t you? If yes, wouldn’t it be nice to acknowledge this?

  2. @Ekkehard that is not correct. frank, who worked with adafruit, made one before eevlog and Dave Jones, and later one with us.

    frank is credited here:
    https://github.com/adafruit/Adafruit-PCB-Ruler

    Designed by Frank Zhao for Adafruit Industries.

    previous:

    http://www.instructables.com/id/USB-PCB-Business-Card/

    “You can also ask the manufacture for other colours aside from green. Here is my friend’s University of Waterloo PCB Ruler, created with black solder mask and gold plating (black and gold are my school’s colours):”

    posted in 2011.

    eevblog ruler is from 2012.

  3. Ladyada found another ruler that can be assembled as a project – see https://www.maple-computing.com/products/pcb-ruler-v1-1

  4. super small ruler https://www.tindie.com/products/KitsForKids/pcb-reference-card-ruler/

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