The purpose of the Tinker's Toolbox (TTB) project is to foment passion and positivity within the electronic design engineering community by conducting an industry community project to discuss design and development tools and methodologies. To put the conversation in context, we will be using a conceptual image of a planned physical plant consisting of a 40-foot shipping container to focus our attention and remind us of our goals.

This project to select the tools and best practices for a “Shop-in-a-box” electronic product prototyping facility in a 40-foot shipping container will not only create a "reference design" for a portable engineering development facility, the discussion and debate thereby generated will benefit and empower engineers around the world with an increased ability to create world-class products and solutions using the latest development tools and technologies.

Each month we will publish podcasts and essays on the topics discussed for your edification and entertainment. Questions and Ideas submitted from previous conversations will be presented to the expert panel for consideration during each of its meetings, with the results published here.

A discussion on Prototyping Tools

Moderated by Editorial Director Alix Paultre, participants in this conversation included Dave Webber from C&K, Richard McDonell from National Instruments, Thierry Goossens and Bavo Teunissen from FCI, and Ron Demko from AVX.


 Dave Webber from C&K
Dave Webber
C&K logo

 Richard McDonell from National Instruments
Richard McDonell
NI Logo 

Thierry Goossens
Thierry Goossens
FCI Logo 

 Bavo Teunissen
Bavo Teunissen
FCI Logo 

 Ron Demko from AVX
Ron Demko
AVX logo 

This Podcast of the TTB team covered basic issues such as the categories of tools that should be included, beginning with rapid prototyping and computing tools. Points brought up during the discussion include the merit of rapid prototyping tools that can be used for reverse-engineering, the need for a computer at every workstation, software simulation, and the importance of parts guides, development kits, and reference designs.

Reader Questions - this discussion created several questions we'd like you, the audience to answer. Three of the replies from our audience will be selected at random and each person will recieve one of these newly-published books:

Component Reliability in Electronic Systems - ($129 list value)
Wireless Sensor Networks for Healthcare Applications - ($99 list value)
Solid-State Microwave High-Power Amplifiers - ($129 list value)

Question #1 - What areas of interest are most important to you as a designer when it comes to development tools?

Question #2 - What is the most important to you: an application-oriented solution or a product-oriented solution?

Submit your answers to:

We will review the answers received in our next discussion.