We’re getting closer to the release of the BrewPi Spark V3, but it has taken a bit longer than I originally planned. The BrewPi Spark V2 has been out of stock since March.
In this posts, I’d like to share some photos of the production process so you get an idea of what’s happening behind the scenes. I’m really excited about the improvements from V2 to V3, but in this blog posts I will not talk about new features. I’ll save that for the release, which I hope will be in about 2 weeks.
We did a complete redesign of the electronics for the BrewPi Spark V3, to make it more robust and easier to manufacture. Some of the biggest changes are:
- We switched to the P1 instead of the Photon. The P1 is a module very similar to the photon, but designed to be directly soldered to the board. This also allows us choose a much more robust USB connector and to move the status LED to the front with a light pipe.
- A better and slightly bigger display.
- All connectors on top and bottom. And if you only need to connect 2 sensors and 2 actuators, you only need the bottom row.
So how are the electronics manufactured? All the electronics are assembled by eM.Be Electronics in the Netherlands.
The biggest change from the V2 to the V3 is that the V3 will have a beautiful enclosure. The Spark V2 enclosure was made by vacuum forming and CNC milling, which has low startup costs but is limited in precision and design freedom.
For the BrewPi Spark V3, we switched to injection moulding. Making the mould is very costly, but stamping out more units is cheap. As long is we sell many units, it will be worth the investment. With injection moulding, molten plastic is pushed into a mould at very high pressure. It solidifies and is released. Boom, next!
I have yet to receive the first injection moulded parts, so I cannot show you those yet. But I can show you how they are made.
The first step of course was 3D modeling the new enclosure. We worked with Frits Stam from Van Alles Wat Ontwerp. Frits is also an avid 3D printer, which was useful in testing early designs. Frits designed the new enclosure from scratch, based on a mood board, a 3D model of the electronics and technical specs.
Now that the 3D design was finished, we could start with manufacturing the mould. We found a great partner in Mafa B.V..
That’s all for now! As you can see, the new BrewPi Sparks are almost ready. I will receive the first injection moulding tests next week. We probably need to do some minor tweaks and then we’re ready to open the store for BrewPi Spark orders again!