Santa Bot PCB Made by PCBWay

TwinkleTwinkieTwinkleTwinkie wrote 12/17/2019 at 17:22 • 5 min read • Like

For the last 4 years I have created a Christmas Ornament to help raise money for Charity.  The first ornament was created for a Secret Santa event for a Computer Hardware forum called "[H]ardForum".  It is the forum attached to the now defunct  The "General Mayhem" portion of that forum was composed of a tight knit group of people who gave each other endless hell but at the end of the day looked out for each other and really did try to help out others when they needed it.  

The Secret Santa event was started in 2005 and was run by a handful of people before I took over the in 2016.  When I took over I discovered that a number of people who had participated in the event in prior year weren't returning because of recent hardships.  Some were dealing with overwhelming medical bills, some were recovering from losing their jobs or were currently in between jobs because of a large lay off.  That's when I decided to make and sell 3D Printed ornaments.  The ornaments raised money so we could buy gifts for those who had fallen on "[H]ard Times" and any left over money would be donated to "Child's Play Charity", which was a favorite charity among the community.

2016's Ornament was 3D Printed

I continued the Ornament in 2017 but that year rather than 3D Printing the ornaments I decided to put my newly acquired Fritzing "Skills" to use and had PCBWay produce a Token and a Ornament.  Just as with the 2016 ornament the 2017 Ornament & Token were used to raise money to buy gifts for those experiencing [H]ard Times and again the remaining money was donated to the Child Play Charity.  While we reached our goals for the ornament in 2016 in 2017 they fell short.  We were still able to raise the minimum amount we needed to cover costs and to buy gifts but we didn't sell as many as we had hoped and thus weren't able to donate as much to Child's Play Charity as much as we would have liked.   We felt the biggest issue was that the ornament was catered to a really small group of people and that if it were more generic and offered to the general public we may be able to do more with it.

2017's Ornament was my first and second PCB Designs which were created in Fritzing

In 2018 I spun my Holiday Ornament off from [H]ardForum and rather than it being used for both [H]ard Timers & Child's Play Charity the money was raised solely for Child's Play Charity and the ornament became available to more than the [H]ardForum community.   At that point I was neck deep in #badgelife and had a great deal more experience making artistic PCBs.   My 2018 Ornament was a big success and sold out in 3 days and raised $1,000 for Child's Play Charity (

2018's Ornament, this was my first 4 layer board designed in KiCad

This brings us to the current year, 2019, and this year's Ornament is "Santa Bot"!  Santa Bot is the evolution of my collaboration with @Nick on "Wireshark" and instead of playing one song it plays 11 and features glowing eyes and a blinking mouth when "singing".   Santa Bot was inspired by vintage robot toys from the 1960s whose characteristics are brought to life with a Red Solder Mask, White Silk Screen, and a HASL (Silver) Copper Finish on a board produced by PCBWay.

2019's Ornament: Santa Bot - PCB Made by PCBWay

PCBWay sponsored this year's board so that more of the money raised can go towards the Child's Play Charity.   PCBWay has manufactured the majority of the boards I've used on my projects including Arc Badge, Krusty the It, Mad Cat, and Chestoro!

Placing an order on their website is easy and straight forward.  You enter parameters about your board, choose your Silk Screen, Solder Mask, Copper Finish, and if you need it they can produce a stencil for you to use with Solder Paste as well. 

Their ordering process is setup so that they review your gerbers first to verify that they can manufacture the board to the specs you specified and then they bill you.   Once the payment is processed they will begin to manufacture your order.   Depending on your selections and how many boards you need they generally ship within 5 days but small orders can be produced in 2 or 3.

Once you receive your boards from you preferred courier (I generally use DHL) be sure to review the board and make sure there aren't any fabrication issues with it.  In the rare case where there are issues be sure to reach out to their support ASAP so that you can address the issue.   In 32 orders I've only had a couple of issues with my boards but PCBWay did address the problems and new boards were ordered.

Back of Santa Bot

One advantage to using PCBWay is that they are the only fab outside of OSHPark who offers a Purple Solder Mask, which I have used to great effect on other projects.  

The next time you're looking to have a PCB Project fabricated please consider PCBWay.

As of the posting of this page Santa Bot is still available and can be purchased on Tindie: