Now a days with the boom of openosource software, hardware and covid response with machines, medical protection aids and teh maker community to the rescue, it has become more and more relevant to take the time to properly document your Project so that can be used or replicated worldwide by thousands of people.
"Where great ideas become even better products". Many of you are familiar with Wikifactory or how we documented Otto DIY robots; it has proven to be a challenge and taunting task that got over our hands (since now there are more than 100 remixes of Otto) even after we dedicated soo much time to them it seems was not enough, people still struggle somehow to find files etc...
Our conclusion from all these years of experience with Open Source Hardware, is that simple, well explained, somehow fun and complete files always wins.
This is how started; an overview of the predecessors of Otto.
Wikifactory it is a great place to document projects in general not only robots but we can't expect that it will do all the job for us, we must be organized and diligent with all the details of the project put them in a concinse and simple way for the reader or person at the other side of the world so that he or she can replicate your robot without a doubt.
You can see how the family of open source Otto robots has grown!
Here is a general "template" that you can copy and paste or use as reference, it is more of a checklist to make sure your robots are replicable from others. Empathy of how people will read and understand your project is the key and constant improvement (like this template itself), you can not abandon your robot! keep it updated and use the internet in your advantage.
🔧 Title of robot with short description
📷 Good Photos
Of everything, the process the final look of the project/robot, the parts and all angles.
📹 Showcase video
The best is to see the actual video working like many of you do
✔️% of completeness
An estimate that helps to know if it is still work in progress and how much is left to be complete.
✏️ Version #
Keep track of the changes and make it visible to visitors.
⏱ Time to build/assemble
How much time should I invest on this?
📝 BOM / List of Parts and tools
Super important where most projects fail ask me why. :D
📄 Instruction manual
This could be a PDF or photos or video or all of them! what you miss here people will ask for but also would mean frustration for the users, sometimes a video takes less time to create than to type a long text with every step in detail and still many people wouldn't understand or be able to read.
💻 Blockly code and/or ♾️ Source ocode/libraries/examples
🏭 Fabrication technology with settings
Some projects use one or none or all of them
3D printing must have the .STL files but also provide the CAD source and STEP
- ✂️ Laser cut .dxf but good to have the vector source .ai or .svg
- There are plenty more digital fabrication technologies but with the same principle source files + machine files + settings
📛 Naming the files is super important! this apply for any digital file even photos i follow this general structure, you will see how relevant this is once you folder is a mess. in each file a simple naming structure helps to index.
Name of project + category + version#
Of course we don't expect you to have all your projects fully documented with all this points finished, specially the first you wanna showcase only but this could be a mid term reference objective for you, so that the best projects don't perish or get forgotten, leave a legacy!
We will help you in all the process so let us know, what project will you like to see with this structure? and we do it together 🦾
We want to know your opinion of this template. Did we miss something? post in the comments bellow.