Digi-Key is beta testing a web site targeting the burgeoning maker market. It is being trialled in north America and will likely be seen in the UK by the second quarter of next year.
The site, which can be found at www. maker.io/, is designed to help makers navigate a path from concept through to production as well as offering advice on funding of commercially viable projects and how to support a launched product including hints on warranties and troubleshooting potential problems.
“The site will take you as far as you want to go with a project,” says Mark Larson, Vice Chairman, Digi-Key.
The site is separate from the main Digi-Key.com site. It will be labelled “powered by Digi-Key” and feature products and design tools specifically aimed at the maker market.
Each page features a video by Limor Fried (aka Ladyada), the founder of Adafruit, the open source hardware company. In LadyAda’s take she dispenses advice to hobbyists and makers on each step of a project, including how to get started, how to research a design, how to evaluate a project, using AdaFruit’s Circuit Playground as an example and the art of prototyping.
Digi-Key’s easy to use Scheme-It electronic design software features as well as access to pcbWEB, a free CAD application for designing electronic hardware and Mentor Graphics Designer Schematic and Designer Layout tools.
Digi-Key’s Product Training Modules will be available to help makers identify the right platform and components for their projects, and one click will take users to the main Digi-Key site with access to the distributor’s 1.3 million stocked parts.
“We have created a new site with all the power of the Digi-Key.com site , but specifically focused on makers”, Larson comments. “It is not degrading the Digi-Key.com site that will still be the go to tool for the professional engineer.”