[Discuss] OSHW Best Practices / Layers of Openness

Chris Church thisdroneeatspeople at gmail.com
Thu Feb 28 18:35:48 UTC 2013

On Feb 28, 2013, at 11:58 AM, Tom Igoe wrote:

> Contrary to Chris' POV, I don't think enclosures are simply protective or decorative.  The physical interface of a device  is part of the enclosure: the buttons, the screen if there is one, the speaker, the connectors -- all of those are functional elements of a finished product.  If we want to see more OSHW finished products, that means giving mechanical engineers and industrial designers more examples of how to functionally open their work.  So how do we describe what's open about a product with multiple manufacturing steps? It doesn't have to be a layered description; anyone want to propose an alternative?

Hi Tom,

I guess I should clarify where my POV comes from here, and it starts at our design: we don't make any of the HMI part of the enclosure.  All of our inputs, screens, etc. are on PCBs which we open-source, and the enclosure really is nothing more than a "plastic protector for the interior components."  This is largely because we do all of our assembly in-house, and its far cheaper to stuff boards than to have people hand-wire buttons, etc.

I suppose for those that use primarily panel-mount buttons, etc. that's a different story.  For the few cases where we've had panel-mount equipment (for example a joystick), we put them in the BOM and even provided in-house design 3d models of the parts that we used for placing the holes in the plastic enclosure.  We even include full 3d files of the stuffed boards to make it easier for people to make their own enclosures.  

I have some tangential words to say on the subject based on my real-world experience with cloners that have shaped our policy of not sharing enclosure machining files, but I think it's better saved for a different conversation on a different day.  But, I'd be happy to share our experiences if anyone wants to know.  


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