Weekly Roundup #23 - New Maker Products // News

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This week’s Weekly Roundup we’re seeing lots of 3D printing stuff, wireless modules and a gamers watch.

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Crowd Funding


Kickstarter is big on desktop fabrication this week.

Solderdoodle Plus

The Solderdoodle Plus is a follow on to a previous Kickstarter and is essentially a USB chargeable soldering iron that has an adjustable 15W heating element, an OLED displaying for power and battery levels. Can be used either by lefties or righties and has a bunch of tips, for either plain old soldering, or fixing up those 3D print goofs. Has a 4 hour charge time for the onboard 3.3Ah battery.

Protean 8x2

The Protean 8x2 is a 16 channel FET controller. It’s been through a number of revisions and this current version has headers for an ESP8266, HC05 or HC06. Also has RS485 and an ATmega328P giving you, of course, SPI, I2C, and UARTs, and the 16 FET channels have a decent amount of protection such as back-EMF, ESD, fuses, and opto isolation. Each channel can handle 3.67A, but is only rated for 120 volts mains.

Looks like a well thought out board though.


In need of a desktop vacuum former? The Vaquform is pricey, but seems to be gaining some interest. There’s not much to it; has a heater and a vacuum, which is all they are anyway. Has a 9 by 12 inch forming area and seems to do the job.


Another 3D printer, but this time it’s for the whole family!

This printer is trying to make it easy and simple to make 3D prints by providing coffee capsule style filaments and a flash interface that will help you print out some demo models, or create your own.

Has cooling fans to cool it down after printing anything up to 200mm cubed on dual extruders with 60 micron resolution at a speed of 100mm/s.


FabPocket comes from our French friends and is a beginner’s 3D printing toolbox. It contains everything that you’ll need to not only get started, but understand what you’re doing as well.

It’s capable of printing 34mm cubed at 100 microns and doesn’t contain a heated bed. So it’s really aimed at the beginner market.

It’s a great idea, but the price tag is a bit of a shock.


Now I’m not a gamer… well I was when I was younger. I remember getting sea sick playing Wolfenstein 3D, but anyway, you can now enjoy all those sea sick moments from your watch.

It’s not just another smart watch, well it is, but contains the Snapdragon 2100, 512M RAM, 4G eMMC, IMU, AMOLED, WiFI, Bluetooth running Android OS off a 400mAh battery.

It also has an SD slot and when you plug it into your computer it’ll run PixelFurnace which is like iTunes for games. They’re working with Atari to bring in official titles, as well as Terraria. Nice little package.


The AirInk is an idea that’s come out of MIT. It’s a way of capturing exhaust pollution from vehicles and extracting carbon pigments from the rest of the rubbish in the soot to make inks.

What a great idea! You can buy a range of markers in varying sizes. The 2mm round tip marker equals 40 mins of pollution!


MeArm Pi

MeArm Pi is another robotic arm slash STEM product built around the humble Pi. It’s a complete DIY package with 4 servos and buttons and joysticks for control, or since it’s a Pi you can use the language of your choice, or they have provide and open source Node.js app where you can program it Blocky style.


On IndieGoGo, there’s… Oh nothing… OK, moving on …

Crowd Supply

… to Crowd Supply,


The FreeSRP is in pre-launch status and is an open source software defined radio capable of transceiving from 70MHz to 6GHz.

Contains an AD9364 transceiver chip and Xilinx Artix 7 FPGA giving you up to 62MSPS at 12 bit resolution.

Honorable mentions


I’m big on home automation. I rebuilt my house with CBus throughout, but now Brilliant are taking pre-orders for a Linux controlled touch panel light switch with inbuilt Alexa for only $149 US!

OK. Clearly this is only for people with money burning a hole in their pocket. I really can’t justify buying one of them, but some of you might be interested in it.

Maker Shops


Over on Tindie, there’s …


… a light that flashes when changes are made to your WordPress website. It comes with a WordPress plugin so you can make it flash on any event you want.


If you still use SCSI on your system, then this little box allows you to use SD cards as the storage medium on a SCSI or ACSI bus.


This small board uses the ICS43434 I2S digital microphone and is designed to fit onto the Butterfly, which is an STM32 based board. It’ll sample from 20Hz to 20KHz at 24bit resolution with a 65 dB signal to noise ratio.


The BLE113 is a nice bluetooth module. This one is a small board that has one onboard as well as an IMU. All the GPIOs are broken out and runs off a plain coin cell battery. Has a firmware to enable full OTA.

The board can be powered from 4 to 20V.

SAMD21 15x15

The SAMD21 is a nice MCU that we’ll see more of in the future, hopefully. This is another board based on the SAMD21, but contains just the bare essentials for running it. So you’ll need your own 3.3v supply. Breaks out all the 34 GPIOs of the SAMD21.

FailSafe Switcher

If you’re in to drones, then this small board will automatically switch between two different RF signal sources. Useful if you have two RF transceivers onboard for short and long range, or for testing out new transceivers.

AdaFruit, Seeed, SparkFun, DFRobot, DigiKey

RTL8710 WiFi Module

Over at Seeed they have their cheap RTL8710 WiFi module, that’s unfortunately out of stock again.

Crazyflie Micro SD Card Deck

And their Crazyflie I2C based SD card data logger, which is, why is everything always out of stock? Heck a beck.

PyCom LoPy

Over at AdaFruit they have in the popular PyCom LoPy which is a tri-protocol wireless module. Gives you LoRa, WiFI and bluetooth all in one module running on an ESP32. Capable of automatically switching between any of them. If you want to get into long distance comms, then get one of these.

PyCom WiPy

Or there’s the PyCom, which just has WiFi and bluetooth running on the ESP32, both have MicroPython pre-installed.


There’s also the 1Shield plus, which is an Arduino shield containing an ATmega and bluetooth. The idea is that you pair it to your phone and it’ll make use of your phone’s IMUs, GSM, GPS, WiFi, etc. Essentially a tethered experience for your Arduino.

EeonTex Conductive Stretchable Fabric

Now this is interesting. SparkFun have some bi-directionally stretchy fabric that will change resistance based on how much stretch it’s undergoing.

EeonTex Pressure Sensing Fabric

And there’s some other material that you can also measure pressure, bend, angle stretch and torsion. Now this gives me a lot of ideas. I think I’ll order some of this.

The Cheap Side

Over at the cheap side. Bang Good have a number of TFT touch screens;

2.4 Inch TFT LCD Shield Display Touch Screen Module For Arduino UNO

An “I don’t know what chipset it is” 2.4 inch Arduino shield…

2.4 Inch Nextion Enhanced HMI Intelligent Smart USART UART Serial Touch TFT LCD Module Display Panel For Raspberry Pi Arduino Kits

… to a 2.4 inch Nextion panel, designed to be controlled completely over UART. Also has onboard SD slot and RTC.

1.44 Inch LCD Color Screen For Arduino TFT SPI Serial Interface Module Least Just Four IO

… and a 1.4 inch TFT controlled by SPI running the popular ST7735.

500kg Beam Load Cell

You can also pick up a load cell capable of measuring up to 500kg. Nice, not many of those around.

Geekcreit® WiFi + Bluetooth ESP32 Module

and we’re starting to see a lot of ESP32 clones now.

NUCLEO-F446RE ARM STM32 Nucleo Development Board

And then there’s this STM32 based board in an Arduino form factor powered from 3.3 to 12 volts, and seems to have everything that you need.

NUCLEO-F411RE STM32F411RE STM32 Development Board

and this slightly cheaper version running running the F446 instead of the F411 version of the STM32.


Over at EleCrow there’s a relatively cheap NRF24 based board with a decent antenna on it.

Bluetooth modules

While ICstation have gone wireless mad again with a bucket load of Bluetooth and RF modules of various capabilities.

NRF52832 Development Board

Like this QN9020 based Bluetooth module supporting OTA.

QN9020 BLE OTA Wireless Bluetooth Transceiver Module

… or this nRF52832 development board.

Don’t forget to use my promo code if you purchase anything from ICstation as you get 15% off.


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About Mick Hellstrom
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