Bob Martin Goes From Prototype to Production with an Arduino Board

Judy Warner
|  Created: September 10, 2019  |  Updated: February 5, 2021

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Today we speak with Bob Martin, a Senior Staff Engineer with Microchip. Bob is also known as ‘the Wizard of Make’, and today he’ll discuss his AltiumLive Keynote on October 11th in San Diego, where he’ll teach on how to go from prototype to production with Arduino Board, transitioning it into a production-ready board that you can manufacture.

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Show Highlights:

  • Bob graduated from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada in 1987, and spent his entire career in embedded systems, ending up at Microchip Technology with the unusual job title, ‘Wizard of Make’, which originated at Atmel.   
  • The title ‘Wizard of Make’ comes from a discussion to advance his job description at Atmel. Being enamored with makers, and a maker himself—Bob has attended every Maker Faire in the Bay Area since its inception in 2006. The word ‘wizard’ originated as a description of some of his talents.
  • Bob’s talk at AltiumLive will encompass the many facets of Arduino which enable rapid prototyping, and which do not require restarting designs during transition to production. He will mostly detail the hardware aspects, and how to make the transition to production easier.  
  • Because of the complexity of systems and the need for rapid prototyping, the relative ease of use for products like Arduino is making them more prevalent and impactful today. You need to be able to talk to your electro-mechanical designer and be more involved in systems-down thinking. 
  • Quick paths to production through Arduino: there are some things you need and others you don’t, and the keynote will explain which to keep and which to discard in order to ensure lower production costs. 
  • Ben will also discuss testing concepts: where to put test points and why they’re more cost-effective, as well as lowering BOM costs. 
  • Pete Wilson, from Microchip, will do another talk about dropping pre-certified RF models on designs.
  • The ecosystem of products like Adafruit, CircuitMaker, SparkFun, Pololu, MikroElektronika are all very easy to use, relatively inexpensive and practically plug and play, and is enabling rapid prototyping.
  • The name ‘Arduino’ is the name of a bar in the Italian town of Ivrea where Massimo Banzi taught, and where the product’s founders used to gather to discuss the product. Arduino’s software system made things easy, leveling the embedded systems field.
  • Who would this talk be of interest to? Anyone who is interested will be enlightened about what, hardware-wise, makes an Arduino platform, and receive an extension of their knowledge about ACEs (Arduino Computing Elements). 
  • What is a professional maker? The pro-maker could be an electrical or mechanical engineer or some other technologist who has recognized a problem or who has an idea that can be implemented using Arduino or a similar system, but in the back of their mind, there’s always the matter of the implications of going into production. 
  • Eric Bogatin’s talk ‘A Downside of Open Source Designs’ fits in very well with Bob’s regarding the software component, and what to look out for when using open-source designs. 

Links and Resources:


History of Arduino 
Jeremy Blum - Handheld shaper tool video


Learn, connect, and get inspired at AltiumLive 2019: Annual PCB Design Summit.


About Author

About Author

Judy Warner has held a unique variety of roles in the electronics industry for over 25 years. She has a background in PCB Manufacturing, RF and Microwave PCBs and Contract Manufacturing, focusing on Mil/Aero applications. 

She has also been a writer, blogger, and journalist for several industry publications such as Microwave Journal, PCB007 Magazine, PCB Design007, PCD&F, and IEEE Microwave Magazine, and an active board member for PCEA (Printed Circuit Engineering Association). In 2017, Warner joined Altium as the Director of Community Engagement. In addition to hosting the OnTrack Podcast and creating the OnTrack Newsletter, she launched Altium's annual user conference, AltiumLive. Warner's passion is to provide resources, support, and advocate for PCB Design Engineers worldwide.

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