Thursday, March 5, 2009

Illuminato Update: Now available for pre-ordering...

Ok, there are quite a few things to update on the Illuminato front, the most important being that Mike and I are going to build more, as soon as I can find someone to help fund the remaining ones to get to 50. But first...

A new Illuminato core

Justin (the other Justin) sent in a new Illuminato core file, that has all kinds of crazy stuff in it, like analog PWM'ing, and a bunch of stuff I was too dumb to figure out for myself. That should make the Illuminato a ridiculous board to do servo control from, and analog signal coding...

So I put in some comments, and sent it over to Omar, and now Omar is going to include it in the next release of the Arduino IDE branch he's maintaining...

Illuminato 3D model pr0n

I also wanted to teach myself 3D modeling too, so I could get better at building OSHW mockups of my ideas (really I just wanted to prove to John N that I could model just as well as him... not really):

Let me know if you want the Blender files!

How batch 1 got funded and built

The last time around, Mike and I built 100 Illuminato's by hand (yes it really did take forever!). I was able to afford it because my mentor pitched in the money to do it, and in exchange, I could sell it at cost to everyone who wanted one.

So basically it worked out like this:

1) I designed the board

2) Mike and I said, ok, let's build 50:

3) I talked to my former mentor, since I knew he wanted something like this, and he said he'd buy about 40 for his own personal use in his class, end his own projects:

4) Then Mike and I figured out how much it was going to cost, and realized that if we manufactured 100 it'd be even cheaper all around because hardware costs go down when you buy more (aka the "Quantity Monopoly"):

5) I went back to my friend with the numbers, and he said although he didn't need 100, he'd donate some money to temporarily help me afford to build 50 more, and I could repay him over time if people bought them (the right side is shaded darker now):

6) Mike and I bought parts for 100, 50 for my friend, and to build 50 to keep

7) I put it online at the liquidware web store for sale

8) 32 people came along within the first hour (thanks Make and Hackaday), and bought almost all of them (some guys bought a couple at a time)

9) I swore out loud during my day job which was NOT professional, thinking there's no way I'm going to have time to build these all in 1 weekend... here I am thinking I can take at least a few weeks. So I called around and asked for help, and someone said raise the price to slow people down, while you figure out what you're going to do, which irritated some guys (sorry!) and really didn't slow anyone down either:

10) So Mike and I built them, soldered them, programmed them, tested them, and put them in the mail, and ...


As far as I'm concerned, it was a total success, since I broke even, learned how to solder MUCH better than I ever did in the past (SMT parts have a way of doing that), I repaid my friend / mentor, Mike and I had fun building them, and everyone who wanted to got to have an Illuminato at cost (aka no markup!!!). The little extra markup that Mike and I made at the tail end went 100% towards reimbursing a bottle of diet coke, which pretty much kept us motivated while soldering boards 97, 98, 99, and 100.

Raising money to build the next batch

The problem with batch 1 is that there were 11 people who said they also wanted an Illuminato, but I ran out. Instead of begging my friend for money again (because that's not cool), I tried to be independent-willed, and went to the "real bank" asking for money to temporarily fund another 100 Illuminatos. The banker I talked to all but laughed at me, probably for the fact that I wasn't asking for a lot of money, but also because the bank he was working at had just gotten bailed out by the gov't. I tried 7 banks, and got the same response. Some of bank managers/tellers suggested I just put it all on my credit card, which I almost did, except that you can't buy all the parts needed for the board on a credit card (some component companies don't accept it). So now I've put the Illuminato back up for pre-order, with a catch...

I'm going to monitor and report in real time how many people have placed orders for the Illuminato's. If the number of pre-orders reaches 50 people within the next couple of weeks, I'm going to build them up. I'm also going to use the Open Source Hardware Bank to build not only 50, but 100, so that other people can have them available to buy. And then I'm going to track and report how many have been bought up.

And I've built a set of little picture-generating scripts to help me. Here's a picture of the order queue right now, with all the guys that pre-ordered already:

How to buy an Illuminato

Justin and I have gotten a lot of emails of people asking how they could help me fund more Illuminatos, so I've decided to add a couple of options to the pre-order system:

Most people will probably just want to "Pre-Buy 1" to pre-order 1 with a 15% markup (as opposed to the normal 30-50% or more charged on electronics). I'm hoping that some people will also maybe be willing to help reach the 50 mark by "Pre-Buy 1 - Build 1" or "Pre-Buy 1 - Build 2". That means buying 1 at 15% markup, and giving money to fund another 1 at it's cost. When Mike and I build the Illuminato's, if someone funded one to Build, when Mike and I sell it, we'll just mail you back a check to the cost, plus a 15% markup (or if international, I'll probably just use Paypal). So in effect, in exchange for "Pre Buy 1-Build 1", Mike and I will give out the 15% markup we got from when someone else buys 1, and that means that anyone who "Pre Buy1-Build 1" gets reimbursed for their markup, so it's like getting the Illuminato at cost!

Pre Buy 1-Build 2, if someone is particularly generous (thanks Nick!) is a lot like getting two 15% markups in exchange, which for a lot of people on the East coast will amount to free shipping :)

How to know that this isn't a scam

Because it's not. Because my name doesn't end in "Madoff"? :)

I don't know if it'll help, but at least whenever I give anyone money (for a cause, or otherwise), I like to get at least something physical in return. For everyone that pre-buys, I will print out and snail-mail you a certificate that looks like this, which will identify exactly where in the order queue you are, and it will have a couple of signatures at the bottom, so you know exactly who to hunt down:

And if you REALLY want to hold me accountable, you can always just add me or Justin or Mike as a friend on Facebook, and then you get to see that I'm a real person with real friends too, and I care about my word and doing the right thing...



Unknown said...

hey, this is ridiculous... i hope i get some free soda out of this again!
also, you made your images too wide, so you have to click on them tho actually see the pictures.

Chris said...


Do you ever find the time to do your day job?

Matt said...

:-) ha ha!

Unknown said...

1) How do you order without shipping? I tried to order buy 1 build 2 and there was no way to choose "no shipping cost"

2) How do you chose Fund 5?

3) AWESOME! Thanks man...

Justin said...

Hey Ben,

Thanks for all the support! Actually, the idea is that when the 2 you funded to build are sold, I (or Matt or Andrew or "the bank" :-) will send you a check for that amount.

Since you're collecting the margin from each of those 2 units, it will not only offset the margin you paid for the one you bought, it will also be enough to cover shipping too (as long as you're not shipping internationally!)

Justin said...

Hey Ben - forgot about #2. Matt and I are still setting up the "Fund 5" option and it should be all ready sometime next week. And for #3, thanks to you too!

Matt said...

@justin - yeah, the hardest part about the fund 5 thing is actually... at the current rate it doesn't look like we'll need it (i'm about to upload the new graphs... wow!)

Alex E. said...

I just bought a couple today cuz I didn't want to miss out. That was more of a selfish approach, but I also want to help build some. I was also searching for the investment option. I would like to see what I can do to invest in about 20-30 of these. I wish I would have talked to Justin a bit more about money when I first e-mailed him. Let's get these things rolling out the door! I'm stoked that we will see some of the second batch so soon. Go open source hardware!

Justin said...

Thanks for your support Alex!

Matt said...

@alex - hi! thanks a lot, btw... actually justin and i are going to meet up this weekend in person since we're going to be in the same place together, and we were planning to talk about structuring the open source hardware bank t-bills and notes, and i would really like any advice or ideas you might have when it comes to structuring it...

Thomas Wittek said...

Hey, cool that there's another batch!

How much would shipping to Ireland or Germany be?


Michael said...

I love the concept of the buy 1+fund 1.

The OSHW bank idea is fantastic, and it's time may have come.

Unfortunately the shipping and brokerage costs are are more than triple the cost of the illuminato just to get it into Canada.

Are you looking at setting up the OSHW bank possibly as a not-for-profit (so it's tax deductable) or as an investment people can just buy into?

silverhawk_184 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
silverhawk_184 said...

I believe your price form is broken; the only option available is to buy 5 @ $150. i would just like to buy 2
(which i can assemble, if it helps)

also, I haven't seen a change in your picture script in over 2 weeks; is that accurate?

Matt said...

@silverhawk - thanks for catching that... yep, that was my fault, and it's fixed. the queue graphics are up over at now, and they got updated last night :) as of my writing this comment, there are about 6 illuminato's left in the order...

silverhawk_184 said...

@Matt: Thanks, but it is still broken, now all you can buy is 1 ... no fund/build money.

I am not sure yet how the double extenders work with multiple shields using the same pins, but I think that a new shield should be made for the Illuminato, the first bay replicates the outer headers, and the second replicates the inner headers on the outside.

silverhawk_184 said...

ok, I know you might be busy, but having a confirmation on purchases would be great, even if it was a simple auto-responder. Also, you can save the $.42 on a stamp and buy yourself a cola; I don't mind.

I found a few more bugs in the site: the libs for the Illuminato are not in the app store, some of the main nav links are broken. also, if you send me an email, i know of some more cheap modules.

Justin said...

@silverhawk- just sent you an email. i personally send an email to confirm orders within 24 hours, just because the paypal autoresponders can flake out, like today :-(

anyway, thanks for all the help with the bugs and feel free to drop me a line if you have any other questions - jhuynh at gmail

Unknown said...

So when do you plan on doing round 3? I'd love to get my hands on one of these, they just look too awesome!

Thomas Wittek said...

And more importantly for me: Will it be possible to ship them to Europe?

Magallo said...

How about being a System Investor? Could you explain it in more details?

Matt said...

@magello - Justin and I set up a "system investing" queue, and a bucnh of guys sent some money in to help... but then I realized the bank shouldn't ever take on more than it needs, so i stopped listing them on the site. system investing in the illuminato would happen now with a
build 5" option...

@thomas - the only issue with europe is the shipping cost, which is ridiculously high. about 20 people from various places in europe wanted one... do you think you'd be willing to maybe accept a big shipment of 20 of them, with shipping labels, and then ship them to other people, so that the one-time shipping across the ocean would be divided up across everyone?

@tobias - justin and i thought it wouldn't make sense to just launch rounds left and right, so instead i was going to wait until the next "osec" which is going to be next weekend... and then, since the illuminato round 2 is full, i would open up round 3?

Thomas Wittek said...

@matt: I think the shipping costs aren't that high.

According to a small packet with 12 ounces (does it weigh more?) to Europe would be $8.65 which I think isn't that much really.

Phil said...

I tried three times to order illuminato. The board is a perfect "next step" for the arduino and it really is beautyfull. I was stopped by the complexity and by the large shipping costs to europe!!!!


Pauric said...

Just received my illuminato and have some issues setting it up.
"Step 1: Copy the core file
Copy the illuminato core folder from the app store here into the /hardware/cores folder"

I cannot find this file in the app store. I direct link would be cool if I'm being hard of thinking and the file is in the store somewhere.

Assuming its really not there, I found this
"Illuminato “core” files for the Arduino IDE: – please be careful they’re going to change a lot, and they’re not ready for use by anyone else but me right now. But lots of people are curious, so here you go… "

Now, I should state I've had problems in the past with your Aruidno12LW build running on this specific machine (my work dual core intel mac) so until I get home to confirm these issues with my known good install of Arduino12LW I went ahead putting the illuminato core on my Arduino15 install which works on my work Mac.

A world of weirdness breaks out when I try to upload something basic like the blink.pde...
"In file included from /Applications/arduino-0015/hardware/cores/illuminato/wiring.h:7,
from /Applications/arduino-0015/hardware/cores/illuminato/WProgram.h:8,
from AFMotor.cpp:2:
/Applications/arduino-0015/hardware/tools/avr/bin/../lib/gcc/avr/4.3.2/../../../../avr/include/avr/delay.h:36:2: warning: #warning "This file has been moved to util/delay.h ."
In file included from /Applications/arduino-0015/hardware/cores/illuminato/WProgram.h:8,
from AFMotor.cpp:2:
/Applications/arduino-0015/hardware/cores/illuminato/wiring.h:23:1: warning: "abs" redefined
In file included from /Applications/arduino-0015/hardware/cores/illuminato/WProgram.h:4,
from AFMotor.cpp:2:
/Applications/arduino-0015/hardware/tools/avr/bin/../lib/gcc/avr/4.3.2/../../../../avr/include/stdlib.h:113:1: warning: this is the location of the previous definition
AFMotor.cpp: In constructor 'AF_DCMotor::AF_DCMotor(uint8_t, uint8_t)':
AFMotor.cpp:65: error: 'TCCR2B' was not declared in this scope
AFMotor.cpp:74: error: 'COM2B1' was not declared in this scope
AFMotor.cpp:93: error: 'COM0B1' was not declared in this scope
AFMotor.cpp:95: error: 'OCR0B' was not declared in this scope
AFMotor.cpp: In member function 'void AF_DCMotor::setSpeed(uint8_t)':
AFMotor.cpp:140: error: 'OCR2B' was not declared in this scope
AFMotor.cpp:144: error: 'OCR0B' was not declared in this scope
AFMotor.cpp: In constructor 'AF_Stepper::AF_Stepper(uint16_t, uint8_t)':
AFMotor.cpp:167: error: 'COM2B1' was not declared in this scope
AFMotor.cpp:168: error: 'TCCR2B' was not declared in this scope
AFMotor.cpp:171: error: 'OCR2B' was not declared in this scope
AFMotor.cpp:188: error: 'COM0B1' was not declared in this scope
AFMotor.cpp:190: error: 'OCR0B' was not declared in this scope
AFMotor.cpp: In member function 'uint8_t AF_Stepper::onestep(uint8_t, uint8_t)':
AFMotor.cpp:275: error: 'OCR2B' was not declared in this scope
AFMotor.cpp:289: error: 'OCR0B' was not declared in this scope
AFMotor.cpp:499: error: 'OCR2B' was not declared in this scope
AFMotor.cpp:501: error: 'OCR0B' was not declared in this scope
/Applications/arduino-0015/hardware/cores/illuminato/SoftSerial.h: At global scope:
/Applications/arduino-0015/hardware/cores/illuminato/SoftSerial.h:28: warning: 'void recv()' declared 'static' but never defined

Any pointers?

and for what its worth, I'd REALLY appreciate being able to use Arduino12LW on my work Mac just to play with the slide. I get this error when I try to compile
"Could not find the compiler. avr-gcc is missing from your PATH'
How/where do I amend this information as I've not had to do it on any other version and I'm not an IDE guru.

cheers /pauric

Unknown said...

Very nice board. I see no posts since April 13 and only about 20% of the target 100 ordered. Is this project still alive? It would be a shame if it expired.

Unknown said...

Very nice board. I see no posts since April 13 and only about 20% of the target 100 ordered. Is this project still alive? It would be a shame if it expired.

Michael said...

Is this project still alive? I'd love to purchase an Illuminato (or maybe several) but I'm not sure if all the various "funding" options are still open...or even if we can still buy them.

Unknown said...

still need funding??? if so, contact me @ dale407 {at} gmail {dot} com