I'm not very good at predicting what's going to appeal to a wide audience, so I experiment. A few months ago I blogged about the 'engineer's emergency kit business card'
That post got about 70,000 visits within a couple of weeks and lots of love from HackerNews, Hack a Day and others. This was a pretty damn good indicator to me that there's interest in the concept ;) A few weeks later I decided to experiment by creating a product that is based on this card. It's called 'the tiny engineer superhero emergency kit'!
The concept was to create a novelty yet useful kit that's packaged like a product that you'd see on a high street shop and that could be given as a gift. I wanted to use this kit to test the market for novelty kits for engineers (not necessarily to test if people are generally interested in kits -- we know that they are!)
The kit includes the PCB (ENIG finish), n-channel MOSFET, two resistors, capacitor and LED that when soldered create a working circuit (the LED lights up). There's a guide card, and something I haven't seen done before: a laser cut and engraved compressed cellulose sponge.
I came up with this idea after deciding on the small tin can, and thinking about how to make it useful during the assembly of the kit. Having access to a laser cutter at our local Makespace , I experimented with engraving and cutting these sponges. This took a significant amount of time and material to get right -- but it ended up looking fantastic. As you can see in the picture, the "burnt" bits disappear when the sponge is wet and expanded, giving them an ephemeral nature, which I really like. When expanded the sponge fits snugly in the tin and can be used for cleaning the iron while soldering!
This is what it looks like when soldered all soldered up (complete assembly instructions are here).
When power is applied the LED turn on
But of course one could patch the board to change the circuit. There are two extra slots for resistors and six pads for SMD components. For scale (board measures 37 x 37.3 x 1.6 mm)
Right. To business. You can get this lovely kit over at our shop for an introductory price of £16 for this first batch of 300. For every one of these sold, Boldport will donate 50p to the Inkscape Fund. Inkscape is an open source SVG editor and is an integral part of our design process with PCBmodE, so this is my way to thank the wonderful Inkscape devs!
As usual, the design is open source hardware — get it here — and make your own version! Please provide feedback and help spread the word! :)