Our product design process, based entirely on open source tools, allowed us to build this continuously updated database of popular hardware components and Antmicro’s open hardware boards they were used in, with photorealistic 3D models and rich data. The portal showcases the software-driven, iterative approach to hardware design focused on component reusability.
READY TO USE ELEMENTS
A GROWING LIBRARY FOR EFFICIENT DESIGN
By combining the automatically generated hardware design file releases with the visualization engine, we can provide realistic previews of designs in the making. We can also mock multiple board variants to discuss mechanical arrangements and get the general look and feel of the entire device, even at early design process stages.
Opening the hardware design process
The Open Hardware Portal provides users not only with beautiful renders of Antmicro’s designs, but also presents a convenient methodology for PCB design, offering an ever-growing, continuously updated collection of schematics, Bills of Materials and Blender models.
BILL OF MATERIALS
Open source BOMs give designers and manufacturers more transparency and reduce the risk of errors in the manufacturing process by keeping track of components and their potential counterparts.
Open source schematics can be useful for both electronics enthusiasts and professionals, in PCB design education, modification or device replication, especially in collaborative environments.
By looking at PCB design in the smallest detail, you gain a deep understanding of the board's structure and operation, which you can then use to optimize designs, identify potential issues, and ensure high product quality.
OPEN SOURCE TOOLING
The Open Hardware Portal takes advantage of Antmicro’s hardware design flow, fully based on open source tools which enables versatile prototyping in a collaborative cross-team environment.
With a plethora of helper tools and scripts and a powerful, scalable infrastructure, the KiCad open source hardware design suite is one of the staples of Antmicro’s flow.
We take a step further using Blender, the wildly successful open source 3D creation tool, which combined with the rest of the flow, lets us visualize hardware designs at every step of the way.
DESIGN FLOW AUTOMATION
The CI-driven, open source tooling-based flow allows us to easily create sophisticated, traceable designs containing always up-to-date assets and can be adopted for entire families of hardware designs and integrated with cloud or internal infrastructure.
In KiCad, we can determine the locations and rotations of any components on the PCB, and then interact with the Blender API via Python scripts to automatically construct a scene and save the complete board in a .blend file.
CI-DRIVEN HARDWARE DESIGN FLOW
The CI-driven hardware design flow, automated releases, and version tracking enable flexibility and rapid development capacities as well as an unprecedented ability to collaborate across teams.