Design: Evolution of the Mounting Board

A glimpse at the design process behind our newest accessory

February 13, 2014

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The mounting board is something we had in mind from the very first moment we started thinking about the new V.03 connectors. Beyond the actual product that some people may already have in their hands, we’ve built dozens of mounting board prototypes for ourselves. At this point, I guess nobody wonders anymore about the purpose of the quarter circle-shaped feet on the V.03 connectors in comparison to the first version of the bitSnap (the color-coded connectors that house the magnets), but now you know we why chose this shape.

 

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These 3D prints show iterations of the mounting board.

 

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These images show iterations of the mounting boards in cardboard and acrylic.

 

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Modularity is almost a sickness for us sometimes. At one point, we decided to create cells or modules that would assemble to create larger mounting boards. With this system, you could build as big as you wanted or as small as a single module (2X12holes). This iteration added a lot of complexity to an idea that was initially very straight forward, bringing new challenges like stability, etc… This option also didn’t allow us to have a middle increment like we do now.

 

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Also with the modularity in mind, and executing it in the opposite way, we started experimenting with a bigger board and playing with different materials that you could break or cut to size. Some prototypes had pre-scored lines so you could split the segments with your hand like a chocolate bar. However, the holes are so close to each other that it was challenging to make a safe (and not too brittle) break between segments due to the characteristics of the plastics.

 

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We’ve experimented with sizing quite a lot and now feel that we have reached the ideal size. This size is also able to grow when combined side to side with more boards. As you can see in this picture, we’ve also experimented with double-sided patterns.

 

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We’re so proud of our littleBits color-coding system that sometimes we wonder if we should make our accessories almost disappear. But no, they are part of the family too.

On another note, the grip and feel of the mounting board is an important design feature. We want all hands to be able to plug and unplug circuits without having to go crazy, so we decided to open the holes on two of the sides of the board to give it more flexibility.

 

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Final prototype: bigger, sturdier, able to tile together for bigger installations, clean white aesthetic, and holes for mounting to other surfaces for long-term installations. Ok, let’s do it!

 

— Jordi Borras | Senior Industrial Designer

Featured Products: mounting board
Posted in: R+D