Circuit Scribe Makes Sound (Demo)

A few weeks ago the folks at Electroninks sent us a few Circuit Scribe kits, the same one's they'd just delivered a ton of to their Kickstarter backers.  They also sent us a few extra modules... like a motor, buzzer, light sensors, and a "blinker" (more on that later).


We posted our first unboxing video and a number of people wrote back with questions, so we made another video today to show how the buzzer and blinker modules work.  Have a look at the video below and for the full fourteen minute unboxing video and ALL the info you could ever want - check out that blog.

 

Like the sound of it?  Head on over to 123D Circuits to get your own Circuit Scribe kits!

Circuit Scribe Modules and Unboxing

The folks over at Electroninks were kind enough to send us a couple of their Circuit Scribe kits to unbox and demo.  If you've been following their wildly successful kickstarter you know these are just now getting shipped to their 12,000+ backers.
If you missed out on the kickstarter you can buy a kit over at 123D Circuits.


If you're a 123D Circuits user you've probably seen a change to the home page that prominently features Circuit Scribe, and for good reason: we're the source for the upcoming kits and (spoiler alert!) the upcoming Circuit Scribe Virtual Editor (more on all that here).

In addition to the unboxing video (below) we thought it would be timely to give a little background on Circuit Scribe and Electroninks... Imagine a world without wires and the need to solder, a world where you can still create working, interactive circuits by simply placing components on paper and drawing connections between them with a conductive-ink pen.  Electroninks IS that conductive ink, and Circuit Scribe is the family of modular components that connect to create working circuits.


Each Circuit Scribe kit comes with an Electroninks pen and anyone can download a PDF of their instruction workbook - which is full of great getting started info about electronics and cool projects.

The Circuit Scribe components come in four types:  Power, Input, Connect, and Output.  Each type has several modules and we've chosen to show one of each (you can see them all here).  They're pretty straight forward:

POWER modules are power sources, they're how you add a battery or USB power to a circuit.

INPUT modules let you interact with the circuit.  Flip a switch, turning a dial, or move your hands over a light sensor.  If you wanted to control something manually you'd pop one of these in.

CONNECT modules form the logic of a circuit.  The NPN transistor above is a perfect example and we're so glad it's included in the kits.  With the NPN in the loop you can deliver lots of power with a tiny input signal, for example you can make a touch sensor circuit with one!  (see video for example)

OUTPUT modules are where the rubber meets the road, literally.  Motors, LEDs, Buzzers, connectors to outside circuits (like breadboards and Arduino boards).  

If you've read this far you're a champ, here's the unboxing video.  Enjoy and let us know what you'd like to make with a Circuit Scribe kit by leaving a comment below!

 

Like what you see?  Stop by the 123D Circuits Shop to pick up your own kits. 

Featured User : Alexander Sharikov’s Rotary Encoder Board

Featured User Image

Have you ever want a rotary encoder in your project but didn't want to design it in?  Featured user Alexander Sharikov has done the work for you and was kind enough to share it via 123D Circuits.  You can click the link to his board and order it for yourself, you only need a few components to solder down and you'll have a fantastic light-up, de-bounced rotary encoder!


Alexander found this LED-backlit rotary encoder component on Sparkfun.com and designed the board with supporting components.  The following pictures are of of his board:

PCB layout in 123D Circuits, Alexander's board, and the rotary encoder component on it's own.
 

The bottom of Alexander's rotary encoder board has screw terminals that make it easy to prototype with:
Rotary Encoder board bottom view 

Click the Read More link to see Alexander's rotary encoder embedded in the blog - and a Sparkfun video explaining how to use it.  Read more »

123D Circuits adds Arduino MICRO and ATTINY

For almost a year now you’ve been able to simulate a virtual Arduino UNO in 123D Circuits and in that time tens of thousands of people have used an Arduino board in their virtual breadboard projects.


Today we're announce two Arduino components new to 123D Circuits:  The MICRO and the ATTINY!

Having these two new components is valuable for a few reasons:

The first is that you may want to design your projects with components that are a lot smaller than an UNO and fit on a breadboard.  Your projects will look cleaner, use less wires, and if you’re also building a physical project using the smaller MICRO or ATTINY you’ll save some money over the bigger UNO.


ATTINY graphic 220 pixels wideSecondly, if you think about it the ATTINY isn’t really an Arduino board, it’s a chip made by Atmel that you can program with the same code as regular Arduino boards.  Almost all Arduino boards use these Atmel chips (called “AVRs”) so it makes perfect sense that you can also use just the chip to make your projects super small.


code editor 220 pixels wideThirdly, if you can write code for the little ATTINY from Atmel in 123D Circuits that means you can write and compile code for any of Atmel’s AVR-series chips.  This is a big deal because it opens up the possibilities of being able to design with different chips based on your needs like: How many analog inputs?  How many digital pins?  How much memory?  Does it fit in a breadboard?  Is it tiny?  Is it super cheap?

Click the Read More button to see an example ATTINY project being simulated... Read more »

Featured User : Bryan Perry Keeps It Level

We have a saying in English about being 'up a creek without a paddle'.  What that means is: you're in deep trouble and there's no way out.  Well, 123D Circuits user Bryan Perry's pump station monitor circuitry is built to prevent such a situation - because it's all about keeping the levels of water (or whatever's in the tank) within safe levels.

When we found out a 123D Circuits user was designing something that's part of a modern civic infrastructure we just had to feature him.  It's this kind of circuit that keeps cities from flooding in winter and reservoirs at proper levels year-round.

In a nutshell here's how they work: There's a water storage tank underground.  Inside are three floats at different levels.  When water rises it makes the bottom float rise, then the middle float.  When this happens the circuit tells a pump to move some water out of the tank and thus lower the level of water.  When the water drops below the first two floats the circuit then tells the pump to turn off.  All good, BUT if the water was rising so fast the third float rises the circuit will turn on the second pump.  For an interactive breadboard simulation where you can click on the "floats" - check out this extra circuit Bryan made.


In the picture above the two blue clips can detect current flowing through a wire and are how the circuit can tell if the pumps are actually running or not.  If they're not running when they're supposed to the circuit will send Bryan a text (see the Sprint box, that's what that's for). The black cylinder is a backup 5V battery and the green terminal blocks on Bryan's circuit connect to the pumps and floats.  The microcontroller on the board is a SPARK CORE.
The board below was designed in 123D Circuits.
Bryan pressed the "Order" button and 10 days later the PCBs arrived. 

Click the Read More button to continue and see Bryan's circuit embedded in the blog!   Read more »

You Can Simulate a 555 Timer in 123D Circuits

It is an absolute joy to make this announcement about a tiny, unassuming chip that has changed the world:  You read it first here.  You can simulate a 555 in 123D Circuits!

Whether you knew it or not, we've all touched a 555.  They're inside appliances like toaster ovens, microwaves, alarm clocks, little robots, zillions of toys, early computers and even a few spacecraft.  They're everywhere!

Don't believe us?  According to their original 1971 inventor, Hans Camenzind, production has steadily ramped up to an astonishing 1 BILLION 555s being made per year, and they crossed that threshold in 2003!


For the announcement we put together an example circuit that when connected to a servo lets you control the angle (or position) by turning a potentiometer.  Click the Read More button to load it.   Read more »

How to easily generate 3D Printable enclosures for your electronics projects in 123D Circuits

We've been blogging a lot recently about 123D Circuits projects and users but it's time we talked about the "3D" in the name.

While circuits are typically designed in a 2D UI the 123D Circuits app will generate a perfect-fitting 3D enclosure for your Circuit.  Check out this 3D printed example of an enclosure generated by 123D Circuits: The Theremin.Theremin with Enclosure

Keep reading to check out how easy 3D modeling an enclosure can be with 123D Circuits.

Read more »

Harsha P’s Clock Simulation is Right-on-Time

123D Circuits user and Instructables contest finalist Harsha P is back in the news again with his most excellent digital clock simulation.  Try it out, press the PLAY button in the upper right corner:

"Hours" by Harsha P.


Although Harsha does make printed circuit boards he has mostly focused on the breadboard simulation in 123D Circuits.  He says his favorite aspects of the application are the multimeters that can pinpoint the voltage at any node and measure the current through loops.  We agree, the multimeters are great, check out an example below:

three multimeters shown in breadboard simulation


There's more... Read more »

Multitouch Tinkercad and 123D Circuits for Windows

Have you heard the news?  The first releases of Tinkercad and 123D Circuits with multitouch just hit the Windows App Store!  Like their browser-based counterparts they're totally free and they'll run on any Windows 8.1 computer.

Let's dig into it!  Tinkercad for Windows 8.1 with multitouch now lets you Pan, Zoom, and Orbit with two fingers, which is as intuitive as it gets.  You can also drag, position and manipulate shapes just as you normally would with a mouse - now with a stylus too.

Check out this awesome hands-on video with Tinkercad:

Tinkercad with Multitouch

With 123D Circuits for Windows 8.1 you can now pan and zoom with your fingers and design and edit circuits with the stylus.  It's a great way to design using two hands and if you don't have a Windows 8.1 PC with a touchscreen or touchpad you can still download the apps and run them with a mouse as you would their browser counterparts.

Check out this video of 123D Circuits multitouch:

123D Circuits with Multitouch 

These are first-releases so if you have a Windows 8.1 PC and you use Tinkercad or 123D Circuits, we'd love to hear your feedback in the comments section below.

A BEAM Robot Comes To Life

"BEAM" is an acronym for Biology, Electronics, Aesthetics, and Mechanics.  I know... it's a mouthful, and it's not the first time we've brought it up.  In our first blog post about the BEAM Robot it was based on this interactive simulation we'd built in 123D Circuits.


We've since fleshed it out, including CNC-milling our own PCB with a sweet Othermill and adding 3D printed parts we designed in Tinkercad.

This BEAM is a phototrope (it reacts to light, seeking brightness).  We shot these videos under pretty bright lighting so the robot tends to drive straight off the counter top, but trust us when we say it's seeking out light and it's little limit-switch bumpers help it navigate obstacles.

 

The BEAM Robot running wild. 


Here it is before the motors and "legs" were added.  Notice how the "eyes" signal that it's reacting to different levels of light as a shadow is cast over it.  The finished robot drives by varying the voltage across the motors depending on how much light it detects on either it's left or right side.

BEAM Robot's circuitry reacting to light and shadow.

 Want the real nitty gritty?  Keep reading. Read more »