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The Square Inch Project

A contest to create awesome, useful square inch boards. Entries are closed.

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Grand prize winner: #quadcopter in one inch

Winners: #Key Pass, #Small voltmeter, #Micro Word Clock, #RFID air pressure sensor, #Square Inch USB Sound Card, #Micro progmeter

See here for the hackaday.com article!

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to make a PCB that fits into a 1x1 inch square, has a purpose, and is cool.

Seven projects will be awarded a prize:

One first prize winner gets $100 in credit for the Hackaday store and $50 for OSHPark.
Six other projects will get $50 in credit for the Hackaday store and $25 for OSHPark.

Hackaday store prizes are courtesy of Hackaday, OSHPark credit is courtesy of both OSHPark and Hackaday. Huge thanks to them both for this!
You don't have to use OSHPark to get your boards fabbed, but it turns out they have the lowest minimum price for this size of PCBs—for $5, you get three copies of your 2-layer, 1 in² board delivered (almost) anywhere! Check them out!

Read the rules and the quick-start guide, then enter here!

Example project: #Laptop Emergency Charger, one square inch

Please leave a comment with your feedback or suggestions :)

Winners can be seen here!

  • Extending the Final Deadline.

    alpha_ninja12/22/2015 at 18:33 14 comments

    "Santa Claus brings to you... extended deadlines so that you can celebrate!"
    - @Kumar, Abhishek

    Yeah, we're doing it again.

    You now have until DECEMBER 28, 2015 at 14:00 PST to upload photographic or video proof that your project works.

    As proof, you need:

    • Photos of an assembled PCB.
    • Photo/Video proof that it fulfills its purpose.
    • For example, an electronic compass would fulfill these requirements by showing that the compass lights up different LEDs when turned.
    • Breakout boards could have a video showing the chip being programmed and subsequently blinking an LED

    What's considered acceptable proof is at the judges' discretion, so feel free to ask any questions below.

    Happy holidays!

  • Design Deadline!

    alpha_ninja12/02/2015 at 00:39 16 comments

      Hello!

      The deadline originally set for today has been postponed to December 8, 2015. Same rules as last time: this is at 23:59 UTC, so you can look here to convert that into your timezone.

      Here's what you need to do in the coming week:

      1. Finalize your design!
        1. There's no rule against creating a new revision before the contest ends, but you need to have a working circuit uploaded!
      2. Upload your schematic(s).
      3. Upload your BOM(s).
      4. Upload your design documents.
        1. This includes Gerber and Excellon drill files. DON'T FORGET THIS!

      We will try to verify all projects' compliance with these rules by 23:59 UTC on December 7.

  • One more day! (-ish)

    alpha_ninja11/24/2015 at 00:17 0 comments

    You have until 23:59 on November 24, UTC to post a comment here with a link to a project you want to build for #The Square Inch Project. That's:

    That's all you have to do.

    You don't have to have any details about your project (yet.)

    You don't have to have any PCB designs finished. (You don't even have to start on them!)

    You don't have to post what your project's about. (You don't even have to know what it will be about!)

    Do it.

    You might win a prize!

    So. Two links:

    First link.

    Second link.

    Click them! It won't even take a minute.

  • ONE MORE WEEK

    alpha_ninja11/17/2015 at 16:50 3 comments

      Hello again!

      You have one more week to enter. The deadline for entry is November 24 at 23:59 UTC (unix time 1448495999).

      Entry is simple:

      1. Create a project
      2. Post a link to it as a comment on the project log titled “Enter Here”

      JUST DO IT!

  • The Two-Week Mark

    alpha_ninja11/10/2015 at 14:07 7 comments

      Hello!

      This is your two-week reminder for entry in #The Square Inch Project— you must enter by November 24 at 23:59 UTC (unix time 1448495999)

      The requirements for this deadline are simple:

      1. Create a project (or enter an existing one)
      2. Post a comment with a link to your project here.

      That's it! So what are you waiting for?

      Create a project

  • Enter here!

    alpha_ninja09/29/2015 at 00:10 237 comments

    If you'd like to enter, please post a link to your project's page as a comment on this project log!

    Some reminders:
    You don't need to have your PCB's schematics or circuit design finished to enter.
    Each user can enter up to 10 PCBs. [One PCB per project.]
    Your PCB can be smaller than 1x1".

    Entered projects are listed here:

    https://hackaday.io/list/7909-square-inch-project-entrants

    ENTRIES ARE CLOSED.

  • How to Enter

    alpha_ninja09/28/2015 at 23:53 2 comments

    Entry is simple!

    1. Read the rules.
    2. Start working on your project! Make sure it fulfills the requirements listed in the rules.
    3. By November 24, 2015, post a link to the hackaday.io project page here.
    4. By December 1, 2015, post design documents on your project's page.
    5. By December 22, 2015, post images of your assembled project on its page.

    New to PCB design?

    If you've got your electronics done, consider these software packages:

    Fritzing (Tutorials)

    Fritzing is a beginner-friendly, open-source EDA application. It's great for people new to PCBs!

    KiCad (Tutorials)

    KiCad is a more advanced, open-source EDA suite. In fact, CERN is a major contributor!

    Eagle (Tutorials)

    Cadsoft is among most established players in the EDA field. A limited version of eagle is free to use.

    Feel free to contact us in this project's comments section if you need help!

    Not sure what to make?

    Here's some ideas we were throwing around in the group chat:

    • Some kind of radio device
    • A small devboard
    • An ESP8266 breakout board
    • Maybe some circular board?
    • Something wearable, like the Arduino Lilypad?
    • A smartwatch
    • A clock
    • Some LED thing
    • A tiny simon says
    • An IOT sensor
    • Something with this chip?

  • Rules

    alpha_ninja09/28/2015 at 22:58 0 comments

    Entries must consist of:

    1. An EDA design for a printed circuit board. (including a schematic and a pcb design files, including generated gerber files. (Edit 2015-11-21: Gerber files must be sufficient to create a copy of the board. Includes Excellon drill files.)
    2. A bill of materials.
    3. Information about the purpose and usage of the project.
    4. Images of an assembled version of the project.

    Stuff that we let you decide about:

    1. PCBs may have any amount of layers.
    2. Jumper wires and component connections in the air are allowed.
    3. Components choices are not restricted; components may be overhanging.

    The following restraints are placed:

    1. The total printed circuit boards required for a single copy of an entry must fit completely within a 1 inch by 1 inch square. (It may also be smaller.)
      • Should such a copy of an entry require multiple separate circuit boards, they must be panelized by the entrant to fit within the aforementioned dimensions.
    2. Every account on hackaday.io may enter no more than 10 projects.
    3. Your design must follow the OSHW guidelines: http://tiny.cc/8aos3x
    4. The PCB must actually work, (amendment 2015-11-09: "fulfill its purpose") and you must demonstrate this with pictures or videos.

    Deadlines

    1. A link to your project page must be posted as a comment on the contest page by November 24, 2015.
    2. Finalized schematics, BOMs, and design documents, as outlined above, must be posted on your project's page by December 8, 2015. [This has been postponed by one week after the original end date.]
    3. Pictures of assembled projects must be posted on your project's page by December 22, 2015. EDIT: Extended to DECEMBER 28, 2015 at 14:00 PST as of Dec 22, 2015
    4. All these deadlines are at 23:59 UTC on the specified date, unless otherwise specified.

    Judging

    1. The judges, which are all users listed as contributors on this project, will decide on the winning projects in the weeks after December 22,2015.
      • Community voting rounds may be held as early as November 24, 2015.
    2. The results from community voting won't directly influence the winner of the contest, but judges may take them into consideration during judging.
    3. Judges will rate designs based on usefulness, innovation, creativity, and engineering.
    4. Users may win more than one prize, should the judges feel this makes sense.
    5. Rules outlined in this section are subject to change.

    Edit: @danjovic has created a checklist and posted it in a project log on #AVeRCADE: https://hackaday.io/project/7941-avercade/log/27385-contest-entry-checklist
    (For reference only, your design must still follow the rules as posted on this page!)

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Discussions

Michele Perla wrote 01/04/2016 at 15:23 point

sssssssssssssssso? I cannot wait to know who won! It'd also be very cool to at least have a "finalists list" in a project log (hint hint). 

Oh, happy new year!

Cheers, Mick

  Are you sure? yes | no

alpha_ninja wrote 01/04/2016 at 17:12 point

We're working on it :)

  Are you sure? yes | no

jaromir.sukuba wrote 12/29/2015 at 13:28 point

December 29th - alea iacta est.

  Are you sure? yes | no

zakqwy wrote 12/29/2015 at 16:28 point

thank goodness!

  Are you sure? yes | no

danjovic wrote 11/28/2015 at 14:21 point

I've included references to licenses and their text bodies in my GITHUB repositories. The Software licenses are GPLV2 /V3 and the Hardware license is TAPR OHL 1.0.
Question: Is that enough to comply with "Your design must follow the OSHW guidelines" rule?
Sorry for being questioning this issue about licenses again, I just want to be sure.
Thanks!

  Are you sure? yes | no

alpha_ninja wrote 11/28/2015 at 14:43 point

Yeah, you're fine. We'll try to let everyone know what parts of their project aren't 100% compliant with the rules before the deadlines come :)

  Are you sure? yes | no

danjovic wrote 11/28/2015 at 15:04 point

Thanks @alpha_ninja , I am trying to get ahead of the deadlines :)

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jari Tulilahti wrote 11/25/2015 at 17:44 point

Oops. I was supposed to post my board yesterday but fell asleep when reading a bedtime story to my kid :D  (The board has been ready for some while now).

D'oh. Maybe next time then, luckily there are very amazing boards in this competition, so good luck to all! :)

  Are you sure? yes | no

spro wrote 11/24/2015 at 20:12 point

  Are you sure? yes | no

alpha_ninja wrote 11/24/2015 at 20:16 point

Adding :)

  Are you sure? yes | no

danjovic wrote 11/23/2015 at 15:25 point

Is there still some time for another project ? #VGA Blinking Lights ? (https://hackaday.io/project/8537-vga-blinking-lights)

  Are you sure? yes | no

alpha_ninja wrote 11/24/2015 at 00:10 point

You have until 23:59 UTC on November 24. As of the time of me writing this comment, that's about 23 hours and 40 minutes left :)

  Are you sure? yes | no

danjovic wrote 11/24/2015 at 00:33 point

I think I have misunderstood the deadline. Either way, thanks for adding it in the contest

  Are you sure? yes | no

alpha_ninja wrote 11/24/2015 at 00:43 point

Hey, at least you didn't misunderstand it in the wrong direction! ;)

  Are you sure? yes | no

Malhar Deshmukh wrote 11/23/2015 at 11:34 point

can you please add hackaday.io/project/8528-tinyscope ?

  Are you sure? yes | no

alpha_ninja wrote 11/23/2015 at 15:06 point

I did :)

  Are you sure? yes | no

Malhar Deshmukh wrote 11/24/2015 at 02:21 point

Thank you.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Malhar Deshmukh wrote 11/23/2015 at 11:30 point

Can you add my 'TinyScope' project? I can't paste link as clipboard on my phone is not working. I'll try to post a link though.

  Are you sure? yes | no

danjovic wrote 11/21/2015 at 11:04 point

Hi, @alpha_ninja , I am not so used with gerber files so I would like to ask some advice on generating them for the contest:
1) Did the default 'gerb274x.cam' job is good to generate the files or do I need to add more layers (like the solder side silk screen)
1.5) Can you suggest a downloadable .cam file that is compliant (or in accordance) with the contest rules?
2) Do I need to generate the for drill (excellon) files too? 
3) I haven't seen the milling layer in none of the standard 'gerber274x.cam' and 'excellon.cam' jobs. Do I need to add these in which job?

Sorry for asking so much but I think the answers are relevant for all participants of the contest.



  Are you sure? yes | no

alpha_ninja wrote 11/21/2015 at 16:22 point

1) That would be nice.

1.5) The rules are vague on this. I'll clarify.

2) Yes. I'll clarify in the rules.

3) What do you mean with milling? Do you mean the board outline?

Edit: I added some more information in the rules. Basically, you just need enough to make a functional copy of the board, so the bare minimum (technically) is board outline, soldermasks, traces, and the excellon drill file.

  Are you sure? yes | no

danjovic wrote 11/21/2015 at 16:52 point

Thanks!

  Are you sure? yes | no

danjovic wrote 11/12/2015 at 23:50 point

Question: I am using GPL v2 code. Since hardware does not work without code, will this conflict with the OSHW license?

  Are you sure? yes | no

alpha_ninja wrote 11/13/2015 at 00:08 point

You're not technically required to publish code, so if you choose to do so, GPL code is fine. (However, judges will consider whether you publish code during judging!)

  Are you sure? yes | no

danjovic wrote 11/13/2015 at 02:53 point

Publishing my code is OK, no problem on that. I am just concerned about the incompatibility of licenses. I don't wanna be against the law :).
As for the contest, my code is based on GPL'd code and GPL don't allow me to change the license of derived work, therefore my code needs to be GPL'd also. So is it ok if my code is GPL and my hardware is OSHW compliant? What's your advice?
Thanks, and sorry if I am being boring, that is not my intention. I just want to do things right.

  Are you sure? yes | no

alpha_ninja wrote 11/13/2015 at 03:33 point

Turns out I was wrong—OSHW requires you to publish code. It also requires you to put it under an OSI-approved license, which includes GPL! You can see a list of OSI-approved licenses here: http://opensource.org/licenses :)

  Are you sure? yes | no

cluso wrote 11/10/2015 at 11:56 point

Does it have to fit into a square 1"x1" or is a 1sq" board acceptable?

Specifically, is a 0.78"x1.18" = 0.9204sq" board acceptable?

  Are you sure? yes | no

alpha_ninja wrote 11/10/2015 at 14:02 point

From the rules: "The total printed circuit boards required for a single copy of an entry must fit completely within a 1 inch by 1 inch square. (It may also be smaller.)"

  Are you sure? yes | no

danjovic wrote 10/31/2015 at 19:27 point

I have some questions:
1) To comply with the rule "your design must follow OSHW guidelines" is it enough to declare that the projects are compliant in the page of the project, or is it necessary to declare each of the "open hardware must" clauses?
2) Is it necessary to generate the gerber files, or the .sch and .brd from Eagle are enough?
3) by November 24 is it necessary to have the 1x1 pcb assembled, or only the prototype (and in that case the 1x1 board should be assembled by december 1st)?
Thanks!

  Are you sure? yes | no

alpha_ninja wrote 10/31/2015 at 19:36 point

1) You need to put your designs under a license that's compliant with the OSHW guidelines, for example CC-BY 4.0. If you're creating a github repo, posting a LICENSE file with the full license text is enough. (see inmojo.com/licenses/ for licenses that are allowed)

2) Yes, you need to generate gerber files.

3) Only two things are required for Nov 24: A. Create a project and B. post a link in that project log.

From the rules:

1. A link to your project page must be posted as a comment on the contest page by November 24, 2015.
2. Finalized schematics, BOMs, and design documents, as outlined above, must be posted on your project's page by December 1, 2015.
3. Pictures of assembled projects must be posted on your project's page by December 22, 2015.

  Are you sure? yes | no

danjovic wrote 10/31/2015 at 19:54 point

Ok Thanks.  It was a good thing to question, for instance I was overlooking the need for gerber files. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

alpha_ninja wrote 10/31/2015 at 20:08 point

Don't worry—we'll make sure to get people to upload the stuff they need to. Good luck!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Klima wrote 10/09/2015 at 22:31 point

Hi, I just want to submit my project:

https://hackaday.io/project/8010-small-voltmeter

  Are you sure? yes | no

alpha_ninja wrote 10/09/2015 at 23:11 point

Added!

Also, damn that's tiny

  Are you sure? yes | no

Ryan Bailey wrote 10/03/2015 at 22:59 point

Question for clarification on multiple-boards: it's said in the rules that all boards must be panelized into the 'aforementioned dimensions'. Does this include the overall dimensions of the panel itself? Most board houses have spacing guidelines for panels that would burn through most of the alotted if the entire panel is considered. Does the combined area of the finished boards need to be < 1 sq in, or is it truly the whole panel?

  Are you sure? yes | no

alpha_ninja wrote 10/04/2015 at 03:10 point

The idea is to keep the panel within 1x1". Yes, that might be a little hard, but if you find a fab with v-grooving, you should be fine

  Are you sure? yes | no

PointyOintment wrote 10/13/2015 at 20:43 point


So in this image, would the square of extra material (dark green) running around the edges count toward the 1"×1" dimensions? Or is the dimension requirement just for the bounding box of the actual PCBs packed together?

(This one isn't V-grooved, but that's not the point of the picture.)

  Are you sure? yes | no

alpha_ninja wrote 10/13/2015 at 20:53 point

Hmm, not sure. I'd say that #Breadboard Widgets would definitely count as OK though. (not the size, but the panelizing technique)

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jac Goudsmit wrote 10/03/2015 at 06:36 point

There should be a prize for most original abuse of the rules. I'd like to see (and have some ideas for) 1"x1" circuit boards with deadbugged parts sticking out on all sides :-)

  Are you sure? yes | no

alpha_ninja wrote 10/03/2015 at 06:42 point

I'd love to see approaches like that, too... Another idea like this would be having multiple PCBs that are held together by DIP components and use jumpers to connect anything else..

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jac Goudsmit wrote 10/03/2015 at 06:52 point

Can't wait to see a huge breadboard project with a 1x1 PCB attached just for the power connector hahaha

  Are you sure? yes | no

davedarko wrote 10/03/2015 at 06:56 point

@Jac Goudsmit there is a difference between parts [reading breadboards as well] and pcbs and it would only be rated as a power connector board ;) 

  Are you sure? yes | no

alpha_ninja wrote 10/08/2015 at 04:56 point

What I'd like to add is that, if you have many through-hole components, soldering them to each other in the air is technically allowed.
Hmm, now we only need... a 0-square-inch contest.

  Are you sure? yes | no

samurai1200 wrote 10/03/2015 at 05:13 point

If anyone manages to use that tiny Bluetooth chip and actually assemble it and get it working... Well they ought to get a prize just on principle.

  Are you sure? yes | no

alpha_ninja wrote 10/03/2015 at 05:55 point

That would be amazing. It would be interesting to see some projects that obfuscate their real purpose, such as hiding a bluetooth chip under a through-hole resistor.

  Are you sure? yes | no

samurai1200 wrote 10/03/2015 at 06:17 point

Oh my... that is an amazing idea. *rubs hands together*

  Are you sure? yes | no

alpha_ninja wrote 10/03/2015 at 06:18 point
Now, how would one hide an antenna...?

  Are you sure? yes | no

John Boyd wrote 10/05/2015 at 17:00 point

^ Oh I have a few ideas!!!! *evil laughter*

  Are you sure? yes | no

Philip wrote 10/03/2015 at 06:24 point

Check out my project that just got added: OSHChip_V1.0  https://hackaday.io/project/7212-oshchip-v10  . It uses a Wafer Level Chip Scale Package (WLCSP) .  It is a BGA with ball to ball pitch of 0.4mm (about .016") , the landing zones on the PCB are .2mm diameter (about .008" , so only slightly wider than the tracks). You can see the layout of the PCB at the bottom of this page http://www.oshchip.com/  click on the left most image. I have hand assembled about a dozen of these, and it also meets your other request: It works.

  Are you sure? yes | no

alpha_ninja wrote 10/03/2015 at 06:43 point

I think @samurai1200 was referring to this ridiculously tiny chip: http://hackaday.com/2015/09/30/new-part-day-tiny-tiny-bluetooth-chips/

  Are you sure? yes | no

HTCPCP 418 wrote 10/25/2015 at 18:21 point

I just looked at the datasheet and played around in Inkscape... It should be possible using a four-layer .8mm PCB from Seeed's Fusion PCB. Depending on how honest (panelized PCB) you are, you could order enough boards to build 10-40 for 40/50 bucks.

"Just" cut the PCB in half, stack the halves together and then solder the chip to the side of your PCB. This way, the PCB would be completely within spec as you don't need any vias under the chip.

If only I had the time... Also, it would be impossible to meet the assembled board deadline with a chip that's not shipping before march :(

  Are you sure? yes | no

K.C. Lee wrote 10/01/2015 at 01:59 point

Does the board have to follow PCB design rules?  If so, whose design rules?

I have a home made toner transfer breakout board that can be fit in 1"x1", but if I have to follow the design rules of copper to edge, then it won't fit.  Some places requires 0.02" and some requires more.

  Are you sure? yes | no

alpha_ninja wrote 10/01/2015 at 02:03 point

We're not going to enforce ANYTHING that happens within the limit of 1x1". Do something cool and original, it'll give you extra points during judging!

  Are you sure? yes | no

alpha_ninja wrote 10/01/2015 at 02:17 point
Or, more precisely, if you can get it fabbed or fab it and it fits within 1x1", it qualifies. (see rules)

  Are you sure? yes | no

0miker0 wrote 09/29/2015 at 14:13 point

May create a page for this: 

  Are you sure? yes | no

alpha_ninja wrote 09/29/2015 at 14:19 point

Neat, please do and post it in the "Enter Here" log.

  Are you sure? yes | no

davedarko wrote 09/29/2015 at 14:51 point
awesome!

  Are you sure? yes | no

jaromir.sukuba wrote 09/25/2015 at 07:47 point

I like the contest idea, though being non-metric ;-)

What about components protruding from 1x1 inch square PCB? Is it allowed?

What is the "deadline"? I understand the contest rules are not very strict, but this is IMHO crucial.

  Are you sure? yes | no

j0z0r pwn4tr0n wrote 09/25/2015 at 12:55 point

I think we're still nailing down the "rules". 

  Are you sure? yes | no

alpha_ninja wrote 09/29/2015 at 04:25 point

Rules are up now. Components protruding are allowed.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Benchoff wrote 09/27/2015 at 16:53 point

Square inch works, because of 0.1" pin headers.

  Are you sure? yes | no

davedarko wrote 09/25/2015 at 07:20 point

And I demand an example project ;) 

  Are you sure? yes | no

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