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Did BatchPCB Marketplace Just Kill the KitBiz?
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Did BatchPCB Marketplace Just Kill the KitBiz?

by majolsurf on Thu Mar 04, 2010 6:02 pm

BatchPCB announced Monday their Marketplace service, where designers can upload "their" pcb designs to be purchased by others at prices set by the designer. These prices are very attractive.

To me, the open-source kitbiz is only successful in that pcb fabrication can be expensive. The kitbiz offers the customer a far cheaper and time-saving option than having to submit gerber files to a fab house and having to purchase multiple pcb's at bulk prices. The customer of the kitbiz saves money by only having to purchase a single pcb in a kit, although paying markup prices for it and components. But they do get the benefit of the one-stop shop.

Now however the BatchPCB Marketplace offers potential customers pcb's at individual prices. This coupled with purchasing parts directly from Digikey now makes the kitbiz the more expensive option.

Furthermore, I have a feeling a lot of open-source kitbiz sellers will find their pcb designs in the Marketplace, slightly modified and for sale by someone else. While decried as lame, this is legal in the open-source hardware realm.

Certainly this is all very good for the consumer but it seems will affect the kitbiz.
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Re: Did BatchPCB Marketplace Just Kill the KitBiz?

by adafruit on Thu Mar 04, 2010 6:04 pm

Manufacturing PCBs is the easiest part of a kit business its everything -else- thats hard ;)

that said, we'd like to thank everyone who supports adafruit by buying our kits. we put things out there as open source hardware because we think more value is being created, let's hope we're right and we can do this for a few decades :)

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Re: Did BatchPCB Marketplace Just Kill the KitBiz?

by majolsurf on Thu Mar 04, 2010 6:25 pm

By the way there's a wavebubble for sale over there. Is that an associate of AdaFruit?
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Re: Did BatchPCB Marketplace Just Kill the KitBiz?

by adafruit on Thu Mar 04, 2010 6:42 pm

majolsurf wrote:By the way there's a wavebubble for sale over there. Is that an associate of AdaFruit?


nope, we do not have any "associates" - so far we've needed to contact batchpcb/sparkfun and an uploader who removed our name / attribution, the uploaders says it was a mistake and sparkfun also helped take care of it. all is good :)

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Re: Did BatchPCB Marketplace Just Kill the KitBiz?

by westfw on Thu Mar 04, 2010 7:26 pm

To me, the open-source kitbiz is only successful in that pcb fabrication can be expensive.

Nah. Or certainly not only that. A kit gives you the opportunity to get all the pieces in one place, selected to fit the PCB (and to work when used with each other), and instructions, and "support." People frequently ask here, on the Arduino Forums, and elsewhere, what collection of parts they should get to start off with. And it always makes be pause, because after decades of collection parts from various sources, and with thousands of components in my collection, it's still rare that I can see a published schematic on the net (and/or buy a PCB), and actually have all the parts needed to put it together... (Arduino itself is a good example. I had lots of microcontrollers, but not including the ATmega8. And no "short" capacitors. And no 16MHz crystals. And not those connectors. Sigh.)
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Re: Did BatchPCB Marketplace Just Kill the KitBiz?

by charliex on Thu Mar 04, 2010 8:36 pm

Its funny that regardless of how many packs, bits etc you buy. you're always missing that one part. Yet i have drawerfuls of radio shack resistor packs, which no doubt i'll ever need at home, of course i'll need one resistor when i'm out on the road.

I'm just doing a BOM at the moment, and dong a shopping list of parts i'm missing. I just wish digikey and mouser would merge or something so i can buy it all from one place. i'm toying with the idea of an an eagle script that just says "add all to digikey/mouser order"
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Re: Did BatchPCB Marketplace Just Kill the KitBiz?

by majolsurf on Thu Mar 04, 2010 9:02 pm

I'm a few months out from releasing a kit. My fear is here that if I carry a stock of parts and pcb's and sell them at marked-up retail price, someone will come along, post the pcb files and link a complete parts list on the Marketplace. I'll be undercut and be stuck with a whole stock of parts and egg on my face... I'll probably move forward anyway.
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Re: Did BatchPCB Marketplace Just Kill the KitBiz?

by adafruit on Thu Mar 04, 2010 10:02 pm

majolsurf wrote:I'm a few months out from releasing a kit. My fear is here that if I carry a stock of parts and pcb's and sell them at marked-up retail price, someone will come along, post the pcb files and link a complete parts list on the Marketplace. I'll be undercut and be stuck with a whole stock of parts and egg on my face... I'll probably move forward anyway.


have faith! it will likely be ok :) we think we're in a unique position to say this. when someone "clones" us, and they do, or they remove our name / url from our works and sell our kits as their, and they do - we consider it validation, and most of all reassurance - they're not going to ever make something better, they're not going leapfrog, they'll just need to wait for someone else to make cool stuff - we think open source hardware puts more value in, lets people who want to work within the licensing start a biz or just do a cool project - it's worth it. no matter what you do there's always a risk of someone "cloning" what you've done and providing something cheaper, the challenge is to provide more value than just the PCBs and the parts. for us, we do weekly chat, support, our blog, our tutorials - we try really hard to give back more than we take. it might not work out in the end, but we'd rather go out this way than any other way :)

cheers,
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