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How to Make A Collaborative Hardware Project

We'll be talking about the best ways to set your project up to persuade people to join!

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Friday, February 9, 2018 12:00 pm PST - Friday, February 9, 2018 12:30 pm PST Local time zone:
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Hack Chat
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Join this Hack Chat by clicking on the JOIN HACK CHAT button. 

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Pete Dokter, Toni Klopfenstein, and Sophi Kravitz will be co-hosting the Hack Chat this week. This Hack Chat is at noon PST, Friday, February 9th.

Time Zones got you down? Here's a handy count down timer!

Hackaday.io is a place where people "fork" or "remix" hardware projects and we think there are additional ways to add contributors to your hardware projects. 

For software, all it takes to contribute is a pull request- the bar to start contributing is low, although your contribution's acceptance to the project may be high. For hardware, it's much more complicated. For one thing, there's a financial barrier to entry. You need the hardware to continue to working on the project. You may need the same layout software. You need a BOM and parts. Then you need skills to work with someone else's work. 

In this week's chat, we'll brainstorm the best way to set your project up for collaborations.

Formerly Director of Engineering, Pete is now a Brand Ambassador for SparkFun Electronics and hosts the "According to Pete" video series expounding on various engineering principles. Pete favors working in dark places to a soundtrack of psychedelic space rock, enjoys building/flying drones and rocking out on guitar.

Toni is currently the Product Development Manager at SparkFun Electronics, and has been an employee there for 7 years. She formerly served on the Open Source Hardware Association Board and participates in the Open Hardware Summit yearly. In her free time, she enjoys working on collaborative art and electronics projects within the burner community. 

Sophi Kravitz has been working on Hackaday.io for the past few years. She is an EE who makes electronic projects for fun and occasional profit. 

In this chat, we'll discuss:

  • What makes a hardware project collaborative?
  • How can you determine the skills needed on your project?
  • What are good methods for working online with others?
  • How high should you set the bar for entry on a collaborative project?

  • How to Make a Collaborative Hardware Project Hack Chat Transcript

    Lutetium02/09/2018 at 23:32 0 comments

    Stephen says:

    12:04 PM

    Okay, let's get going!

    Stephen says:

    12:05 PM

    A big hello to @Pete Dokter , @Toni Klopfenstein and @Sophi Kravitz !

    Stephen says:

    12:05 PM

    Thanks so much for joing us today

    Pete Dokter says:

    12:05 PM

    Hiya!

    Toni Klopfenstein says:

    12:05 PM

    *waves hello*

    Noel says:

    12:05 PM

    Hello all!

    Boian Mitov says:

    12:05 PM

    Hello @Pete Dokter and @Toni Klopfenstein :-)

    Stephen says:

    12:05 PM

    Why don't you all kick us off by telling us a bit about your self and your experience with hardware collaboration.

    Shayna says:

    12:05 PM

    Hi all

    Pete Dokter says:

    12:06 PM

    Oh, jeez... Hardware collab is sorta a double edged sword. I'm not necessarily opposed, of course, but... I'm kind of a hermit when it comes to personal projects.

    Pete Dokter says:

    12:06 PM

    There are times it works, and times it won't.

    Sophi Kravitz says:

    12:07 PM

    agreed

    Pete Dokter says:

    12:07 PM

    Depends on the goal of the project and the personalities involved. Sorta like a band.

    Sophi Kravitz says:

    12:07 PM

    I have a collaboration going right now, but it's someone I often work with, and we started working together off-line

    Toni Klopfenstein says:

    12:07 PM

    I've helped folks over the years through my work in tech support and engineering at sparkfun, and have occasionally worked on personal projects as well, but usually only when folks have asked for support (I don't necessarily go seek them out)

    Toni Klopfenstein says:

    12:07 PM

    mostly from a sheer lack of time

    Pete Dokter says:

    12:08 PM

    I was telling somebody earlier that I ususally enter into projects to go on a journey. And mine is seldom in the same scope as others.

    Pete Dokter says:

    12:08 PM

    Toni says I'm a snowflake.

    Sophi Kravitz says:

    12:08 PM

    But you (Toni) must see how often the schematics are downloaded at Sparkfun ... yeah?

    Toni Klopfenstein says:

    12:08 PM

    Definitely!

    Sophi Kravitz says:

    12:09 PM

    back up for a sec

    Sophi Kravitz says:

    12:09 PM

    Toni, can you tell this group your role at Sparkfun, specifically how it pertains to the schematics/ layouts/ hardware doc?

    Toni Klopfenstein says:

    12:10 PM

    I'm the Product Development Manager - my team helps ensure our docs/code/schematics are all available and functional for our customers, and often creates them for different products/projects as well

    Toni Klopfenstein says:

    12:10 PM

    It's a lot of curation

    Robert Marosi says:

    12:10 PM

    Have you folks considered moving away from Eagle and more towards KiCad yet?

    Toni Klopfenstein says:

    12:10 PM

    It's a constant discussion

    Toni Klopfenstein says:

    12:11 PM

    We've been talking about it for years

    zakqwy says:

    12:11 PM

    version 5 is SPICEy!

    Pete Dokter says:

    12:11 PM

    True that. I did the Lumenati boards with KiCad.

    Sophi Kravitz says:

    12:11 PM

    so if we were to discuss a fictional project, a hardware project, how would the documents be worked on in a hardware collab?

    Pete Dokter says:

    12:11 PM

    But it's a headache with lots of overhead to make the switch, I'm sure y'all can appreciate.

    Toni Klopfenstein says:

    12:11 PM

    For a hardware project, we use a couple different file sharing platforms

    Noel says:

    12:12 PM

    I think the decision with eagle vs kicad has gotten harder with promised improvements from autodesk

    Sophi Kravitz says:

    12:12 PM

    (also, let's stay on topic... the KiCad / Eagle thing will be in a different chat :)

    Toni Klopfenstein says:

    12:12 PM

    GitHub for the board/schematic/code files, and then we have an internal system for the guides

    Taylor Street says:

    12:12 PM

    Which platforms have you found to be the best?

    Adam Weld says:

    12:12 PM

    similarly, what are the most important tools for broader organization of the collab?

    Toni Klopfenstein says:

    12:12 PM

    When I started at SparkFun, we used a server that anyone could access/edit, without any record of who changed what

    Stephen says:

    12:13 PM

    Please add your questions to the event page:

    ... Read more »

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Discussions

Lars R. wrote 02/09/2018 at 20:47 point

Please give examples of collabs that worked out and those that didn't.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Sophi Kravitz wrote 02/09/2018 at 20:42 point

What projects have people done outside of work that have been collaborative? 

  Are you sure? yes | no

Lucas Rangit MAGASWERAN wrote 02/09/2018 at 20:10 point

How does SparkFun incorporated changes to their products from the community? What are some examples or designs and projects that have had a lot of community involvement?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Lucas Rangit MAGASWERAN wrote 02/09/2018 at 20:09 point

What EDA tool is best for handling contributions? How do you review and compare those changes?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Taylor Street wrote 02/09/2018 at 20:08 point

You've inherited a project with hardware, firmware, and an app. There is virtually no documentation for it. Part of it is public, part of it is private. What is the best way to document it both for new collaborators and for the "internal" developers?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Lucas Rangit MAGASWERAN wrote 02/09/2018 at 20:08 point

Is there an equivalent to a Code Style Guide for Hardware Designers?

  Are you sure? yes | no

baldengineer wrote 02/09/2018 at 20:02 point

Any suggestions for handling contributors that aren't contributing anymore?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Stephen wrote 02/09/2018 at 20:00 point

Thinking of hardware collaboration in a broader sense; How do you design & document a project so that others can easily incorporate your work into new and spinoff projects of their own?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Robert Marosi wrote 02/09/2018 at 19:59 point

How much time should we put into planning projects? How do we keep ourselves from being overly optimistic about what we're capable of doing or how long things will take?

  Are you sure? yes | no

zakqwy wrote 02/09/2018 at 19:58 point

How do you handle the practical logistical concerns of working on a project across geographic boundaries? When do you ship stuff, when do you tell people to build their own local copy, when do you give hardware to new contributors?

  Are you sure? yes | no

ɖҿϝիɟթվ wrote 02/09/2018 at 19:58 point

The most graceful way of leaving a project that you are no longer interested in?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Stephen wrote 02/09/2018 at 19:56 point

How do you make working on a project as accessible to collaborators as possible? Should you? 

  Are you sure? yes | no

ɖҿϝիɟթվ wrote 02/09/2018 at 19:55 point

How to make the would-be collaborators actually read the documentation you wrote about how to contribute?

  Are you sure? yes | no

ɖҿϝիɟթվ wrote 02/09/2018 at 19:54 point

What is the best way to defend against all the people wanting to join your project but having no clue what it is about and how they would contribute?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Robert Marosi wrote 02/09/2018 at 19:54 point

Do you think we can incentivize more project creation and collaboration by holding more Hackaday contests?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Lutetium wrote 02/09/2018 at 19:52 point

What is the best way to on-board new collaborators?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Sophi Kravitz wrote 02/07/2018 at 12:08 point

Project looking for collaborators! https://hackaday.io/project/29504-laser-cut-glasses

  Are you sure? yes | no

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