Project update 3 of 22
ANAVI Macro Pad 8 is entirely open source product certified by the Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA) with UID BG000072.
Does it make any sense to make open source hardware with expensive proprietary software tools? Of course not!
ANAVI Macro Pad 8, just like our other open source hardware products, was designed with free and open source tools such as KiCad and OpenSCAD. All schematics and resources for the hardware are available at GitHub under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0). It is powered by the open source QMK Firmware available in GitHub under GNU General Public License v2.0. Let’s have a closer look at all these open source tools.
KiCad is a free open source software suite for electronic design automation (EDA). It is written in C++ and works on MS Windows, Mac OS X and GNU/Linux distributions. The majority of KiCad’s source code is available under GNU GPLv3 (or later) and 3rd party code included in KiCad is under GNU AGPLv3 (or later).
KiCad was started long ago. The initial release dates back to 1992. However, its popularity rapidly increased in 2013 because The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) started using and contributing to it. After that numerous companies switched to KiCad. Most notably Olimex, my open source hardware neighbors and friends in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. I was encouraged and 4 years ago, after getting familiar with KiCad, and I also started designing printed circuit boards with it. The first open source hardware board that I designed in KiCad on my own was ANAVI Infrared pHAT in 2017, which was also crowdfunded through Crowd Supply.
OpenSCAD is a free and open source software software for creating 2D or 3D models. It is written in C++ and works on MS Windows, Mac OS X, BSD and GNU/Linux distributions.
OpenSCAD uses its own description language. The graphical user interface is super simple. Basically you write source code on the left side and a 2D/3D model is rendered on the right. The models designed with OpenSCAD can be exported to various formats, including STL for 3D printing or SVG for laser cutting.
The acrylic enclosures of ANAVI Macro Pad 8 were designed with OpenSCAD. After that we polished and converted them from SVG to PDF using another open source tool, InkScape.
QMK stands for Quantum Mechanical Keyboard. It is an open source community centered around developing computer input devices. QMK Firmware is a keyboard firmware based on the tmk_keyboard firmware with some useful features for AVR and ARM controllers. The heart of ANAVI Macro Pad 8 is Microchip ATmega32U4 so the QMK firmware is a perfect match. There has been already upstream support of ANAVI Macro Pad 8 with a couple of different keymaps in the QMK firmware. Hopefully in the future we will add more keymaps, and of course with the QMK Configurator you can create a custom keymap at any time directly in your web browser.
As an open source enthusiast I have been using GNU/Linux distributions for more than a decade (actually much longer). Since 2012 I have used primarily Ubuntu and right now I use all these open source tools on 20.04 LTS.
As you can see ANAVI Macro Pad 8 is not just an entirely open source product, it has also been designed with free and open source tools only!