OSH Park - PCB Ordering Has Never Been So Easy.

Back at the end of January, when we first agreed to build oshpark.com for Laen we had no idea that we would spend the middle week of May cramming to squash the last of the user facing bugs before a big launch at Maker Faire

So what is OSH Park?

OSH Park is your go-to site when it comes to fabrication of prototype circuit boards. Over the last couple of years Laen has built a reputation for quality and reliability and a large customer-base from every continent on earth. What started as a group PCB order for his local hackerspace, DorkbotPDX grew and grew until it became an almost full-time job handling orders and sending panels to the fabricator every other day.  

As the creators of axe.io, prototyped using Laen’s beautiful purple boards we were familiar with the problem space as well as his workflow, and having done a review of some of the competing online services in his space knew that it would be relatively straightforward to build a website which radically raised the bar on customer experience.

How does it work?

Customers upload their design files in an industry standard format and the site immediately processes these into a high-quality rendering of what the finished board should look like, as well as each of the individual layers which make up the board (silk screen, solder mask, copper layers, etc). The user is able to review that the system has processed them correctly and then continue on to ordering.

Initial upload screen Snippet of approval screen

The interactive front-end of the site is built using the Ember.js JavaScript framework, which allows us to quickly create the interactivity of the site without having to worry about the heavy lifting of keeping the UI in sync with data from the user and server.

The back-end of the site is build using Ruby on Rails, and a job queuing system based on Event Machine which allows us to asynchronously handle the processing of design files whilst still serving web requests with the same process. The web app is deployed on Heroku with Rackspace Cloud Files providing lightning fast serving of the static assets (such as the JavaScript front-end) using the Akamai CDN.

We’re really proud of the work we were able to achieve with the launch of OSH Park, and if you’re an electronics maker we hope to see your boards in the site’s Flickr group in the near future.