XBee Breakout Board

I recently purchased a couple of XBee modules from Sparkfun for a new project I’m working on.  I’ll be using them to send a wireless signal from an ice fishing tip up when a fish is on the line. I was frustrated after I received my XBee modules because I realized they do not fit into a standard breadboard!

After I got over the initial frustration I started designing a breakout board that would allow me to use the XBee modules with a breadboard. I used Dip Trace to design my first two sided board.


After I got everything laid out in Dip Trace I etched the board using the equipment at the makerspace. I used our standard process for etching the board.

  1. Print the board design on press and peel blue using a laser printer.
  2. Transfer the circuit design from the press and peel to the copper clad fiberglass board using a heated press.
  3. Etch the board in ferric chloride.
  4. Drill all of the pads with a #65 drill bit using a Dremel.


Here is the finished breakout board.

Junk Bot 1.0 lives!



   Hi, I’m David and this is my first post on the Milwaukee Makerspace site. I’m a video producer by trade, so you’ll be soon seeing some videos from some of my projects, however if you’re on the site you might have already seen some of my work. In late March I put together some videos of the Makers talking about what they make and what they think the Milwaukee Makerspace is. 
   Anyway, I didn’t even know what a Makerspace was myself till my friend Matt wrote me an e-mail and said, “If you want to walk the walk, come down to the Milwaukee Makerspace.” Needless to say I had no idea what that meant, but as soon as I stepped foot in our beautiful space with the warm welcoming logo above the hangar, I figured it out pretty quickly. 
   I have never done any robotics or electronics in my life, but seeing what the makers was up to inspired me. I picked up a soldering iron and started small. I’m the kind of Maker that works their way up to the big projects. Initially my ideas for projects mostly relate to my profession of video production. I would like to make a low to the ground camera platform, for wide angle shots, and a flying rig for some limited ariels. One thing at a time though, first I have to make something that works.

Introducing… JunkBot 1.0!!!

JunkBot 1.0 is my first attempt at what I want for a ground based camera platform. It sorta kinda does everything i want it to, but isn’t very robust. It’s functions are:

– Moves forward, back, turns using tank style steering
– Has a pan tilt camera mount
– Can wirelessly transmit video from the bot to a ground station
– Is controlled via a standard RC controller
– Falls apart slowly after about 15 feet of travel

My build process was:

1. Find plastic platform and half project box at the Makerspace “Hack Rack”
2. Get 2 continuous rotation servos & wheels. (Parallax servos sold at Adafruit)
3. Get an RC controller I am happy with (Futaba 7C 2.4ghz)
4. Get 2 servos and mounts for the pan tilt functions of the camera mount
5. Get 900mhz wireless video transmitter (RangeVideo)
6. Make front tire out of foam and a coat hanger
7. Strapped it all together with Velcro (TM).

I used my GoPro camera because it’s small, light, and gets 

the job done. I really love those cameras.

I got to show JunkBot 1.0 at the Makerspace Grand Opening and I think it went rather well. Next up I need to make some improvements:

– Better platform
– Better pan tilt
– Better propulsion
– Make it out of quality materials
– Add in some autonomous functions

But, you have to start somewhere, right? So we’ll see how this all goes. JunkBot 2.0 here I come!

Thanks for reading,