A Cheaper Pinoccio Board

by Eric on

We’ve heard from many of you that you want a LOT of Pinoccio boards. Like 20 or 30, because you want to do things like home automation projects, and put a Pinoccio in every light switch electrical box.

One word:  AWESOME!

“But do I seriously have to buy a pack of five or ten Pinoccio boards each with a LiPo battery, RGB LED, headers, and extra microprocessors for Arduino compatibility?”

Good question. First, here’s where the raw truth of electronics hardware manufacturing rears its ugly head. We want to get the price down, because we want a lot of these for our own projects too, as do you.  The best projects are often the ones that give you massive impact for the price–we call it the price/value ratio. But the truth is that assembling these boards costs a lot of money.  It gives the component costs a run for their money.

Assembly requires very precision machinery that can pick up tiny 0402 resistors and capacitors–about the size of a ground pepper flake–and place it with thousandth-of-an-inch accuracy.  Then you need a reflow oven that can melt the solder at a specific rate and duration.

Our goal is to raise enough funding to get the first run of boards in peoples’ hands, come hell or high-water.  Our bigger goal is to bring assembly in-house, where Pinoccio purchases our own pick-and-place machine and reflow oven line, and create Pinoccio boards right here at our home base.  There are a couple reasons why we want to do this, not all of which we can share quite yet.  Nonetheless, this is our vision. And guess what?  Assembling in-house lets us lower costs a lot!

Unfortunately, at the moment we’re a small two person company trying to get an open-source hardware company off the ground.  And we don’t have our own pick-and-place machine or reflow ovens to assemble our boards yet.   This means we have to pay another company quite a bit to do this for us.  This assembly cost is a very significant part of the cost of a Pinoccio board.

So, here’s the deal.

Help us get this campaign over the mark!  Once there, we’ll be able to work towards bringing assembly in-house. Then we will be able to offer all Pinoccio packages much cheaper than our current reward tiers currently show.  We can say goodbye to outsourced assembly!  We aren’t trying to milk the early supporters of the campaign.  We just don’t have established relationships with vendors and assembly houses, so we are in an uphill battle to get competitive prices.

And if the campaign goes exceedingly well, we’ll purchase the equipment immediately and we won’t have to deal with the cost of outsourced assembly at all.  Win-win!

We will also offer a bare-bones version of the board after the campaign ends.  And while we don’t want to commit to pricing just yet*–as we don’t have final numbers ourselves, we have a pretty good idea of the in-house assembly pricing, and they are looking amazingly low.


* Ok, maybe one.  The bare-bones Pinoccio price should come in under $20.  But don’t tell anyone we told you.  You know nothing.

Filed under Open Source Hardware




  1. Pingback: Live On-Air Q&A with the Pinoccio Team | Pinoccio

  2. Bogdan Craciun

    Hi Eric,

    You have my respect for your work on developing the small Pinoccio and your willing to continue. Regarding the low price target that you’ve mention at the end of the story, do you have a target price in mine?


    P.S do you consider yourself Geppetto ? :) Just kidding

  3. Eric

    Hey Bogdan!

    Thanks! Yeah, it’s a crazy process. We’re more familiar with typical software startups–and you don’t deal with any of this in that world. Still, we love this project and would rather be doing nothing else.

    If you look at the bottom of the post, there’s a small footnote that should answer your question. :)

  4. Bogdan Craciun

    It was so small that I didn’t saw it :)

  5. pwmeek

    I think you will find that the early funders will not feel “milked” if the price comes down later. We’ll just be able to buy more as our projects develop.

    I date back (late 1970s) to when hardware developers would place a two-page spread in Byte Magazine, and hope the mail orders would be enough to pay for the initial production before people got too upset. I bought a few of those, and some delivered and some didn’t. I vastly prefer being asked if I want to fund development and initial production.

  6. Anas

    For home automation, I would preffer a Pinoccio with a mini AC transformer instead of the battery and also AC switchs integrated or pluggable as a shield would be very appreciated for a plug and play use.

Comments are closed.

Log In


Create an Account

With an account, you can:

  • Join in community discussions
  • Stay up to date with our email newsletter

And soon, you’ll be able to:
  • Create a public profile
  • Share your projects & code with others

Choose your username