From an Arduino Prototype to a Commercial Product
An overview guide on key questions/tools required to move your Arduino project to production board and a commercial product.
May 22, 2018
So you have created a working prototype. What are the next steps in moving from an Arduino Prototype into an actual product?
There are many moving parts in creating a connected product. From Mechanical and Electrical engineering to data management, user experience (Mobile app development) to shipping and logistics.
The following Channel Guide will help you:
- Better understand licensing and restrictions on the Arduino platform.
- Filter different tools available to help you on your way.
- Find and filter different suppliers and vendors for each stage of the process.
Can Arduino be used in commercial products?
From Arduino's FAQ "
A summary in plain English from Arduino forum
Commercial Projects Using Arduino
There are quite a few reasons that once you are moving to full production you will want to move away from the Arduino board for your actual product (cost, speed, licensing, etc). The platform was never really intended to implement to be used in this way.. (That being said it has been used in a range of open source commercial products like 3D Printers, etc over the years)
In the Resources Guide section below we will provide high level overview of next steps in bringing your product to market using other tools and components.
At this early point it might be worth taking your prototype and using it to apply to a hardware accelerator to help you with mentors and tools to get you to the next stage in the products life.
Designing your own printed circuit board (PCB)
- EAGLE from CadSoft. (Pricing: $69-$1640)
- Altium (Pricing: Altium Designer 14 pricing starts at $7,245 USD, including a one year subscription)
- Upverter (Free to $100/m)
- CircuitStudio (A limited version of Altium Designer$995.00 One year)
- KiCad (Free)
- Fritzing (Free Download)
- DipTrace ($79 - 1,195)
- MAKE: 7 Fatal Mistakes to Avoid on Your PCB Design (8/15/2016)
After you have moved from breadboard to circuit board design you will probably want to jump in and get a handful manufactured before jumping into large scale production.
Low volume PCB assembly (PCBA) solutions
- NexPCB: Prototype PCBA Turnkey Solution $1199
- Tempo Automation
- Seeed Studio PCB Services
- OSH Park
- Advanced Circuits
- Sunstone Circuits
- Screaming Circuits
3) Parts & Components
Bill of Materials (BOM)
Mechanical / Enclosures
- Fictiv: 3dprinted and CNC parts fabricated and delivered in 24 hours
- Protolabs: Injection Molding
Connectivity / RF Certification
The FCC requires certification for any digital device which they define as
You get the entire product certified (it doesn't matter if you have one or twenty circuits within the product that operate above 9kHz)
- Electric Imp
- Hologram - Cellular "Building connected devices is hard. Our platform makes it easy."
- Dragon Innovation: Factory Selection: OEM vs. ODM
5) Logisitics / Distribution
6) Product Identification and Data Management
OTA Updates and Device Management
- Resin - "Bringing the benefits of Linux containers to the IoT. Develop iteratively, deploy safely, and manage at scale."
- Gerber File - "The Gerber format is an open ASCII vector format for 2D binary images. It is the de facto standard used by printed circuit board (PCB) industry software to describe the printed circuit board images: copper layers, solder mask, legend, etc"
- FPGA (field-programmable gate array) "An integrated circuit designed to be configured by a customer or a designer after manufacturing – hence "field-programmable".
- Bill of Materials (BOM) "A list of the raw materials, sub-assemblies, intermediate assemblies, sub-components, parts and the quantities of each needed to manufacture an end product."
- Surface-mount technology (SMT) is a method for producing electronic circuits in which the components are mounted or placed directly onto the surface of printed circuit boards (PCBs). An electronic device so made is called a surface-mount device (SMD)
- Product Requirements Document (PRD) is a document containing all the requirements to a certain product. It is written to allow people to understand what a product should do.
- Cost of Goods Sold (commonly known as COGS)
- Ficitv Hardware Guide
- Hardware Pioneers
- Reddit /r Hardware Startups
- Linkedin Hardware Startup Group
- Prototype to Product: A Practical Guide for Getting to Market – August 11, 2015- Alan Cohen
- The Hardware Startup: Building Your Product, Business, and Brand - 6/21/2015by Renee DiResta, Brady Forrest, Ryan Vinyard
- Designing Connected Products: UX for the Consumer Internet of Things -by Claire Rowland, Elizabeth Goodman, Martin Charlier, Ann Light, Alfred Lui - 5/31/2015
- Lemnos Labs: Defensibility In Hardware Startups - 8/18/2016
- Dragon Innovation: Building a Hardware Product? How To Save Money - 9/2/2013
- If Arduino is for Prototyping, how/when do you make the actual product?
- Ask Hackaday: Arduino In Consumer Products - 7/15/2015
- Reddit thread on development of VisualVibes - 3/2016