Meet the Maker: Homebrew PCBs

As part of our “Meet the Makers” interview series, we asked our Makers to tell us a little about themselves. Today, meet Chris from Homebrew PCBs!

Homebrew PCBs1) Who are you and where do you come from?

I’m Chris Holden – I moved to Hove from North Wales about five years ago (though originally from St. Helens, “up north”).

I too love the city of Brighton & Hove, and the people that make up the many different communities!

2) What do you do?

I’m a software developer and mess about with electronics and make gadgets in my spare time.

I’m also a founding member of Build Brighton and love to teach people how to make cool things with electronics and computers.

3) Do you have a website?

My website www.nerdclub.co.uk is more like a brain dump of ideas and things I’m working on – occasionally featured on the Dangerous Prototypes website, it also features source code and circuit schematics for other people to recreate a lot of the projects I’ve been working on.

4) What will you have on your stall?

I’m trying to promote local manufacturing (there is a large reliance, in the maker movement, on having PCBs – Printed Circuit Boards – manufactured in the Far East, which I think is more often to do with expediency than cost) and have built – amongst many things – a screen printing rig, to allow PCBs to be manufactured quickly and cheaply “at home”. Once a PCB has been made, it needs to be populated with components – this is where Far East suppliers offer benefits as an “all-in-one” solution to makers. PCB assembly machines are often very expensive, so I’m working on a CNC pick-n-place machine which can be used to populate bare PCBs, at a budget that is accessible to most makers (costing tens of pounds, instead of tens of thousands).

5) Are you running any workshops?

I shall be demonstrating how silkscreen printing can be accessible to almost anyone, and how this can be used to manufacture PCBs easily. This may or may not lend itself to a workshop which visitors can participate in.

6) Have you been to a Maker Faire before?

I have attended a number of Maker Faires in the past, as both a member of BuildBrighton and as an independent stall holder (my last project was a CNC drill which could be made from salvaged parts for less than £50, instead of the usual £500 that CNC drilling machines cost at the time!).

7) Anything else you want to share?

I’m currently working on an electronic board game which I hope to demonstrate at Brighton Mini Maker Faire too. My intention is to prove that home-grown, small scale manufacturing is not only possible, but preferable to “taking a punt” on overseas factories, and to make this technology and experience available to other makers. Brighton is such a hub of creativity and ideas, it’s great to be involved in sharing expertise and inspiring – as well as taking inspiration from – other makers.

Discounted advance tickets for Brighton Mini Maker Faire 2014 are now available!

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