Computers & Mobile Craft & Design
The Chumby has landed!

Yesterday afternoon I arrived home to see a box on the doorstep. The return address was from the Maker Shed. That could only mean one thing: The Chumby has landed!

My daughter had to draw first blood on the package. We cracked the box and checked out the stuff inside. After going to the hypnotist show to benefit the school drama department and doing strange things on stage, I felt refreshed and motivated to assemble and play with Chumby guts until long past my bedtime.

I didn’t take any photos, in large part because of the very helpful images already taken and posted to the MAKE Flickr Pool.

Build instructions are on one double sided sheet of paper. I missed it the first few times I looked through the box because I thought I would find a booklet. There is a link to the instructions pdf on the Chumby guts page in the Maker Shed. The directions are pretty good, but leave a bit to be desired. I found the photos by MAKE Flickr Pool members MTBFO and ewee to be essential. Early in the build, I was wondering which of two sets of small screws to use, and found that the silver ones were likely the ones by checking a photo. I also found the notes on many of ewee’s pictures to be really useful.

So now there is a new tooltoy in the arsenal. This should be fun, and already the big question is “How do you case this thing?” Kent Barnes has extended the chumbilical cord that connects the mother and daughter boards and seems ready to move things around. John Park has a nifty laser-cut case. The box that it came in is sized about right for a first enclosure. The next case will probably be a cigar box, which is very alluring lately. You can clothe your naked Chumby guts by following these instructions.

As soon as it was plugged in, the disembodied Chumby woke up, started talking and showed a tour of the basic functions. Within a few minutes, it had upgraded the firmware and brought me to the website to register it. Finding the household wireless was a snap. Over on the Chumby wiki, you can find resources on hardware, software, and more.

In all, this has already been a fun project with few pitfalls. The next steps of customizing the case and configuring the software are exciting prospects at this point. Now that she’s awake, my daughter is curious about how each of the widgets work. This will be a fun thing to have.

Have you got a some Chumby guts waiting to be animated? If you’ve already built yours, please weigh in with your tips and tricks by adding a comment or two. If you have a glamour shot to share or process set of pics, post them over to the MAKE Flickr pool.

In the Maker Shed:


Chumby Guts

Chumby Guts


Making things is the best way to learn about our world.

View more articles by Chris Connors