Glasgow Interface Explorer

A highly capable and extremely flexible open source multitool for digital electronics

Available for pre-order

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Mar 11, 2024

Project update 13 of 13

Glasgows are Shipping!

by Piotr Esden-Tempski

Hi everyone,

Time for another update!

Great news everyone!!! We are finally producing Glasgows at our 1BitSquared workshop and shipping them to Mouser for fulfillment! The first 260 general backers should start receiving shipping confirmations soon. Make sure that your shipping address is up to date. You can check and update your shipping address by logging into your Crowd Supply account and click View your order history. If you need to make changes, please ask Crowd Supply Support.

Read on for more details and the predicted shipping schedule.

Pick and Place assembly of the Glasgow Top side (The Pick and Place machine is brimful with part feeders)


We wanted to start production sooner, but as Glasgow is not bringing in any income yet, I (Piotr) had to take on consulting work to be able to continue working and paying for this project. The consulting work took longer than I expected and I only finished in February. While working on the consulting work, I could only dedicate part of my time to Glasgow itself.

Additionally, there were still a bunch of details for the production that had to be figured out. Huge thanks to Tom Keddie for generously donating a really nice manual solder paste stencil printer to the project. It improves the production process, but it still needed some TLC and setup before we were able to use it, which took some extra time to commission. We now have 3D Printed holders for the Glasgow boards to keep things aligned and prevent the PCBs from flexing away from the stencil. (This was an issue we faced with the Neoden stencil printer we tried using in the past.)

Essemtec manual stencil printer donated by Tom Keddie to the project
Glasgow panel 3D Printed Jig on the Stencil Printer Table

Another hurdle was setting up the LVDS connectors on the Pick and Place machine. Due to the previous shortages, the vendor was not able to provide us with the connectors on a feeder tape, but only in tubes. We considered sending the connectors to a re-reeling service that would put them onto tape, but they came back with quite a steep quote and said that we would need a 44 mm wide feeder. So, we had to get a vibratory tube feeder instead. To get that to work, we needed some more 3D printed parts and a lot of trial and error to get the correct frequencies and amplitudes set, so that the delivery of the parts worked right. Those connectors are still not feeding perfectly, but we are working on that. See next section of the update.

LVDS Connector Vibratory Tube Feeder


Now, we are finally producing a decent amount of Glasgows, which is a relief and very exciting. The biggest bottleneck is the through hole connectors that need to be hand soldered. We do not have any automatic machinery to do the through hole soldering, it would be another financial and time investment that we are not doing for this project. We decided that we needed to power through this. We hired and trained a helper for that part of the project. It is still the slowest part of the process, as each solder joint has to be hand soldered.

Glasgow Through Hole Connector Soldering Jig - Without Glasgow
Glasgow Through Hole Connector Soldering Jig - With Glasgow

We are looking at improvements to our production process in other places to speed things up. After the first 200 units came off the production line, we noticed that we can make improvements to the solder paste stencil. The current stencil was adding too much solder to the USB-C connector pin pads and too little solder to the shield. This resulted in having to rework all the boards. We fixed any shorts created by the excess solder and added solder to all the shield connections. This added about two full days of extra work to fix up the 200 units. We made the necessary adjustments and ordered new stencils, in hopes that we will not have to do the additional rework on the rest of the boards.

Hand soldered Glasgows on connector alignment jigs

We also noticed that we have to stop the production and refill certain parts more often than others. Due to the chip shortage, some of the parts were delivered on tiny 250 part reels, with 10 reels in a bundle. Very inconvenient to have to keep swapping the reels every few panels. Each refill results in the machine not running and adds a significant amount of down time. We are making adjustments to the machine setup to either have pre-filled feeders to speed up refill, or adding more feeders to the machine so that the machine can run for longer without having to swap parts.

Several piles of 250 piece count reels

Shipping Schedule

Boxes of 260 Glasgows ready to ship to Mouser for fulfillment

The first batch of 260 Glasgows for regular (non-Early Bird) backers shipped to Mouser this week. So more of you should start seeing shipping confirmations. Make sure that your shipping address is up to date. You can check your shipping address by logging into your Crowd Supply account and click View your order history. If you need to make changes, please ask Crowd Supply Support.

Glasgows awaiting Through Hole soldering
Fully assembled Glasgows

We plan to ship batches of 200 Glasgows to Mouser, every couple of weeks. Our current cadence of production is about 100 Glasgows a week. So if everything goes the way it is going right now, all the campaign Glasgows should ship to Mouser within the next 4 months, knock on wood. That is in a world of no interruptions. But over 4 months I am sure there will be some interruptions. I assume it will take a little longer than 4 months. As mentioned before, we are doing our best to speed up the production. Our bottleneck is the hand soldering of the connectors. If you have a selective soldering machine you want to donate to the project, don’t hesitate to contact us. ;)

Closing words

As always, thank you everyone for your continued patience. We are finally making some good progress towards fulfilling the campaign.

You can find the project documentation on our website.

If you have any questions feel free to join #glasgow IRC, Discord or Matrix channels.

If you would like to support the software and documentation effort please consider supporting Catherine through Patreon she has implemented regular Glasgow maintenance hours every week to keep things moving forward. Thanks to Catherine’s hard work 103 pull requests were merged and closed since the last update.

See you in the next update!

Piotr Esden-Tempski and the Glasgow team

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