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Ben Delarre shared his story with Make about the origins and future of Circuitbee, a service that allows you to embed schematics on websites.

Have you ever designed an electronic schematic then wanted to share it on your blog? Or wanted help improving your circuit on a forum? Ever peered at a tiny/massive image of a circuit on a website and wondered why on earth there wasn’t a better alternative?

We have. Back in 2010 we were working on our first major electronics project, the Illuminatrix, an array of 256 RGB LEDs that were to show animations created by people all over the world at the Burning Man festival. It involved using a lot of technology we’d never used before, so we weren’t quite sure about our circuit designs.

We tried posting on blogs and forums trying to explain our schematic and the problems we were having with it. This proved more difficult than we expected: describing a circuit in words is really hard, so we tried to post an image of our schematic instead, and our schematic project files.

This involved a lot of messing around with capturing JPEGs of the schematic and uploading all the project’s symbol libraries and schematic files. But of course people willing to help didn’t necessarily have the right software, or the JPEG was too small to read usefully, or too large to post on many of the forums. We thought that there must be a better way to share schematics, to discuss them, and to show them to people while writing about them. It turned out there wasn’t anything out there that would help us do this, so being the ambitious fools that we are we set out to create it.

CircuitBee is like YouTube for your circuit schematics. You upload your Eagle or KiCAD schematics, we crunch the numbers and create an online embeddable version of your schematic. You can pan and zoom, and mouse over components in your circuits for more details .

We’re still at an early alpha stage right now, so you’ll have to forgive any hiccups we have going forward. But you can get started immediately by visiting Circuitbee and signing up for an account. Then simply upload your schematic files, any associated library files, and let our servers do the hard work. Within a few minutes your schematic should be ready to embed on your site or forum.

Eventually we plan to add lots more useful features like downloading original schematic files, searching for components within schematics and adding notes and annotations to your circuits. We want to make it easier for all of us to communicate our circuit design ideas and to help each other improve our designs.

We hope to make CircuitBee into the most useful service for hobby electronics enthusiasts, so we’re going to keep the service free for as long as we can. We’ll need your help to reach our goals though, so please let us know what you think of the site, what needs improving and what else we can do to make learning about electronics and sharing your designs easier than ever before.

Circuitbee

Mark Frauenfelder

Mark Frauenfelder is the editor-in-chief of Make magazine, and the founder of the popular Boing Boing blog.


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