When you’re developing a circuit that is meant to be mass produced, there’s a certain amount of testing that you need to do. This usually involves taking your freshly created boards and plopping them in a rig, or “fixture” that lets you test things out without soldering to the board. These fixtures are also extremely important when it comes to pre-programming items before shipping.
Typically, creating a fixture that works with your custom board is an expensive and painstaking task. They have to be made to fit your PCB perfectly and clamp at a perfect 90 degrees so that the pins don’t jam. This is usually a custom job, done by an external service. OpenFixture aims to alleviate that pain with this parametric system for creating fixtures.
Elliot Buller put this project together after a frustrating week of having to re-do his work:
OpenFixture was a project built out of necessity and frustration. Every time I designed a PCB or made a new revision the programming test points would move slightly (because the layout changed). This resulted in a redesign of the programming fixture in CAD (openscad) and then hours spent 3D printing it. I knew all the information was there. Kicad has all the exact coordinates. So I set out to make a parametric fixturing system that generates automatically, laser cuts and assembles in less than an hour. I’m happy to say I’ve succeeded in this goal. I went through 3 distinct iterations over 3 days. Spent about 6 hours a day. Since then there have been improvements here and there. I would love feedback so anyone that could use it I will happily support any questions they have when making it
To use OpenFixture simply export the outline and coordinates from your CAD package, drop them into the script, and export the results. You should then be able to laser cut the pieces and assemble for testing!