I'll be honest: sometimes I do a project just for the end result. I know, I know, it's about the journey and the process and the friends you make along the way. I totally get it! But man, sometimes I just realllllyyy want the thing. And it seems like most of the time, the thing is powered by a microcontroller. But I have a simple mind. Much too simple to screw around with wacky custom software and toolchains and to pledge allegiance to some silicon overlord. That's what led me to this project, the CRAPi board.
My two brain cells worked up a storm on this one. I needed the board to be cheap and flexible. I wanted this board to be like ketchup: put that sh*t on everything. That way I could stop thinking about making stuff and actually make stuff. What better sliver of silicon to use for this noble goal than the RP2040? For the price and the PIO capabilities, it fit the bill. That's just the beginning though.
A wise man once told me "Pads are free, dude." And I took those words to heart. How could I squeeze every last bit of usefulness out of the thing that is literally holding the circuit together? Well for one thing, it meant that I didn't need to mess around with a USB-C connector. Upon seeing my substrate only USB-C pads the wise man promptly replied "Well that's a CRAPPY idea." And oh man was he right, that is a crappy idea. But why not try it anyway?
At it's core the CRAPi board is really about being an all purpose dev board without being too flashy about it. What was supposed to be an awful little weekend project to see if you could really make a USB-C connector just out 0.6mm PCB turned into months of purely indulgent feature creep, masochism, and thoughtful design PCB design that borders on unhealthy.