Maker Shed exclusive: The MakerShield

Arduino Technology

The MakerShield kit is the ultimate open source prototyping shield for Arduino and Netduino microcontrollers. Having a prototyping shield is a must have accessory for anyone wanting to go beyond blinking an LED with their microcontroller. If you want to do more, you will need to build a circuit, and if you want to build circuit, you will want a prototyping shield like the MakerShield.

MakerShield’s unique features:

  • User definable components
  • Includes a Potentiometer, button, and (2) LEDs (needed in most circuits)
  • 3.3v & 5v compliant
  • ICSP header in the same location as the Arduino boards
  • Power filtering capacitors on 5v and 3.3v lines

How-To Build a MakerShield

22 thoughts on “Maker Shed exclusive: The MakerShield

  1. theophrastus says:

    I’m sure you-all will correct me in strong fashion if I’m notably wrong about this, but isn’t it the case that one requires a “.NET Framework” library to interact with a Netduino? So that, short of some indirect Wine/run-Windows solution, one cannot use a Netduino on an open source platform?

    If i’m not wrong, then isn’t,

    “The MakerShield kit is the ultimate open source prototyping shield”

    at least a bit disingenuous?

    Don’t get me wrong that I’m wishing you other than great success (‘lifts all boats’ in the Maker world and such), but there are some proprietary issues with your product, aren’t there?

    1. Marc de Vinck says:

      The statement “open source prototyping shield” refers to the MakerShield itself, which in fact is 100% OSH.

    2. Chris Walker (Secret Labs) says:

      Hi theophrastus,

      As you correctly stated, the .NET Framework (on the desktop) is commercial software. Its open source alternative is Mono.

      But the MakerShield, Arduino, Netduino, and .NET Micro Framework are all open source. There are a some common misconceptions out there, so hopefully the following info helps clarify things.

      MakerShield: on the MakerShield product page, the schematics and board design files are provided under a creative commons license. It’s open source hardware.

      Arduino and Netduino: The Arduino (from Arduino LLC) and Netduino (from Secret Labs LLC) are open source hardware (also creative commons licensed). Design files are on the and websites.

      .NET Micro Framework: this is a special version of .NET which Microsoft created for microcontrollers. It was originally licensed commercially, but two years ago Microsoft changed its license to the OSS-approved Apache 2.0 open source license. Its source code is available on

      BTW, there’s even an open source project to integrate support for .NET Micro Framework into MonoDevelop. The postprocessor and the deployment/debugging engine are already running under Mac/Linux and Mono. The last piece of that puzzle is to tweak the new dmcs (Mono “4.0” C# compiler) to generate .NET Micro Framework assemblies. We’re really excited about the progress being made there.

      Secret Labs LLC

  2. rallen says:

    without functional software.

    It’s wonderful that they are giving the hardware design away for free, but it’s only “half-way” there.

    If the product can be used with the Java-based Arduino IDE, or any other open development system, then it really is “Open”, else it’s a device that requires a very closed toolbox to be useful.

    1. Chris Walker (Secret Labs) says:

      Hi rallen,

      The MakerShield works with the standard Arduino and Netduino open source libraries (digital inputs, digital outputs, analog inputs, etc.) You should be fine with the Arduino IDE.

      Arduino (LGPL/GPL OSS licensed):

      Netduino (Apache 2.0 OSS licensed): (OutputPort) (InputPort) (AnalogInput via open source code)

      I have two MakerShields and use them regularly with my Netduino (and have even stepped into and analyzed the open source analog input library which enables the potentiometer).

      Secret Labs LLC

  3. Jopper says:

    I’v successfully put my makershield together, but I’m a bit confused as to how to use the button the pot and the leds. They only seem to have one accessable pin. Any clues?

    1. Marc de Vinck says:

      It’s easy!

      Here is how to use an LED:

      Each LED can be attached to whatever pin you want. Just use some wire to “jump” from the bottom rail (right below the “MakerSheild 1.0” text (labeled LED1 & LED2) to the pin you want to use on the Arduino.


      LED1 to pin 13

      Use some wire to “jump” from the pin labeled “LED1” to the pin labeled “D13” Easy! Even better, you can make changes in the fly. Just jump to another pin!

      Here is how to use the Potentiometer:

      There is an extra step for the potentiometer. First you need to select either 3V3 or 5V. Do this by adding the supplied jumper to either the 3V3 side or 5V side of the voltage selector found underneath the potentiometer.

      The potentiometer is already attached to GND, and whatever voltage you select. Now all you need to do is jump from the bottom rail (same as the LED) to whatever pin you want to use. (this attaches the potentiometers wiper)

      The button (BTN1) is used the same way. Just jump and go!

      These are just some of the unique features of the MakerShield. Hope you like it!

      FYI – We have several how-to videos in the works, and hope to have them ready within the next few days. We will post them as soon as they are completed.

      1. Jopper says:

        So does the -ve pin from the LED go straight to gnd?
        and where does the input from the button come from?
        Sorry if these questions sound dumb, but I’m a firm believer in “if you don’t ask you don’t find out”

      2. Alan Ciemian says:

        I’m having trouble with the button.
        It seems to be connected to GRD instead of 5V so the signal on the BTN pin is never HIGH.

      3. KGB says:

        i’m a beginner as well. Would also like to know the proper way to use the button to get a High signal at a pin.

  4. Ted Tupper says:

    I also am trying to figure out the button and having a difficult time. any suggestions?

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