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Favicon32.png Autopilots

Paparazzi Autopilots

Hardware support for Autopilot versions currently in use.
Tiny 1.1 autopilots on the "assembly line"

When will the Schematics, CAD files, Gerber files, BOM be released?

The hardware development and release process.

8 June 2011 13:25:47 Antoine Drouin wrote on the mailing list:

Schematics will be released ASAP, CAD files will come later. When ? I don't know.... Worst case would be when Joby Robotics releases a new version of the board, but I hope it will be sooner than that.

Lisa/L CAD files have been released ( ) 3 month ago. (...)

I've started this project together with Pascal 8 years ago and since then I have dedicated my time to try and make it successful. I'm utterly convinced of the benefits of open source, but observing how Paparazzi grew over time, I came to the conclusion that hardware is a bit different than software... "gcc tiny.brd" is not going to make a board magically appear on your desktop.

I'll list here some of my arguments in favor of releasing CAD files after the board is mature.

  1. Unlike software, where an unskilled user can type make and get a piece of complex software to successfully build, assembling hardware requires tools and skills. Providing gerbers and BOM have lured a bunch of new users into believing otherwise and has created tons of frustration. I've myself fixed a number of badly assembled boards and I even recall that while helping debugging a board (so after assembly), discovering that the person had manufactured two layers PCBs instead of four layers. As the technology of the autopilot increases, this problem becomes more and more important.
  2. The success of the project depends on the availability of affordable hardware. The price of hardware is directly and exponentially dependent on the number of manufactured units. If ten persons manufacture 10 boards each, the cost will be much higher than if one person manufactures 100.
  3. Last and not least, the quality of assembly also depends very much on the number of manufactured units. Good quality can only be achieved through the use of automated placing and soldering, and those processes can only be used if the number of units reach a certain amount.