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 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


    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.


    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”


  • The Two-Week Mark

    alpha_ninja11/10/2015 at 14:07 7 comments


    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:


  • 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 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 may enter no more than 10 projects.
    3. Your design must follow the OSHW guidelines:
    4. The PCB must actually work, (amendment 2015-11-09: "fulfill its purpose") and you must demonstrate this with pictures or videos.


    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.


    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:
    (For reference only, your design must still follow the rules as posted on this page!)

View all 8 project logs

Enjoy this project?



davedarko wrote 09/25/2015 at 07:18 point

can they be smaller? I'm also open for any ideas or wishes for boards. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

alpha_ninja wrote 09/27/2015 at 00:04 point


  Are you sure? yes | no

Chrunchstick wrote 09/24/2015 at 15:47 point

So width & length are 1 inch, what about the height? Does a 1"x1"x30" project count? Maybe this should be specified.

  Are you sure? yes | no

alpha_ninja wrote 09/24/2015 at 15:53 point

I mean, if you can assemble a circuit board whose components' heights exceed 30", that would be amazing!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Chrunchstick wrote 09/24/2015 at 15:55 point

I'll take that as a challenge!

  Are you sure? yes | no

alpha_ninja wrote 09/24/2015 at 15:59 point

sounds good @Chrunchstick... now what about having two boards fulfilling different purposes in the same design? (à la Cordwood Puzzle)

  Are you sure? yes | no

Chrunchstick wrote 09/24/2015 at 17:19 point

That is my point, with only 1x1 inch there is no limit on length. Using the Cordwood puzzle method you could go on forever. Maybe it's best to limit it to 1x1x1 inch?

  Are you sure? yes | no

alpha_ninja wrote 09/24/2015 at 22:52 point

I don't like saying it that way, the idea is mostly that all the PCB space necessary for a single copy of the project fits within 1x1 inches.

I personally would let cordwood-puzzle things pass, as long as all the pcbs you need fit within 1x1 inches of space!

  Are you sure? yes | no

j0z0r pwn4tr0n wrote 09/25/2015 at 03:41 point

I was thinking about this at work today. It would be sweet for like a mini satellite to have a buncha stackable boards or maybe a dev board with a slot to put in attachments or something. Idk, but I like the idea of leaving it open ended. TBH I don't even have a concrete idea of what to make, but I'm kicking around some ideas in my head

  Are you sure? yes | no

esot.eric wrote 09/25/2015 at 04:42 point

Sounds like this contest might have different categories...? What about a stackable design, wherein you can use any number of 1x1 boards, but the PCBs themselves have to be identical...? (or is that what you meant by "ala coordwood puzzle"?)

  Are you sure? yes | no

alpha_ninja wrote 09/25/2015 at 04:45 point

Hmmm... I think that would make it pretty confusing for the first time—maybe we could have different design restrictions (like that one) for subsequent contests?

  Are you sure? yes | no


[this comment has been deleted]

alpha_ninja wrote 09/24/2015 at 02:44 point

It doesn't have the same ring to it...

  Are you sure? yes | no

esot.eric wrote 09/24/2015 at 11:21 point

wouldn't that be the ( 25.4*25.4) = "645.16mm^2 project"?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Chrunchstick wrote 09/24/2015 at 15:53 point

645.16^2 mm is correct.  1/0.0015500 = 645.16

  Are you sure? yes | no

alpha_ninja wrote 09/24/2015 at 15:57 point

or you could say (25.4mm)^2.

  Are you sure? yes | no

de∫hipu wrote 09/25/2015 at 08:39 point

How about 1000000mils²? I bet you could hide a reference to Verne somewhere in there...

  Are you sure? yes | no

Kenji Larsen wrote 09/26/2015 at 01:51 point

It's actually the nine square barleycorns project. (That's 3000 millibarleycorns squared!) Can't wait to see the one that is 90 barleycorns high!  But I'm having trouble ordering my board for some reason.....

  Are you sure? yes | no

alpha_ninja wrote 09/26/2015 at 06:43 point

nah it's 2.228 x 10^-4 square smoot

  Are you sure? yes | no

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