The Arduino module is a simplified microcontroller board. Although there are an increasing number of alternate form factors, the original design includes all the electronic parts necessary to power and communicate with the microcontroller: regulator, clock crystal, USB-to-serial interface, and SPI programming interface for replacing the bootloader. Alternate design should include these elements as well, or show how to add them easily.
An Arduino board is more than a piece of hardware. It's also the software that lets you program and communicate with it, the documentation and tutorials that explain how to use it, and the community that can help you when you have trouble. It's the fact that all of these work together that, more than any individual piece, makes the project useful. To help maintain this coherence, we've put together the following list of things to keep in mind as you work on making your own hardware.
Have yourself a good time. The reference designs are available in the hardware section of the site. All we ask is that you do it safely, and that if you're going to go public, you follow the licenses under which the original board is made.
Absolutely, assuming it's something we think the community would be interested in. We know there are a lot of great designs out there that never reach a wide audience because of the high barrier to getting something manufactured. One of our goals is to spread this hardware to more people and to reward their designers as a way to support them in the creation of new products. If you're already making your boards, we may be able to help you make them available in other places, through our network of distributors around the world.
If you've got something that you think would be useful to the Arduino community, but need some help getting it to them, please contact the team. We'd love to work with you.
Great, we are happy to see Arduino derivatives. One of the core ideas behind open hardware is that anyone should be able to make hardware to suit their own needs, and we're proud to support that. We'd encourage you to make your products unique to the market in some way.
We'd love to hear about your ideas - a little coordination and planning can go a long way. We may be able to give you advice on making your products more useful to the Arduino community, help in making them available to people in other countries, or adapt the Arduino software to work with your hardware.
Of course, if you'd rather go it alone, you're free to do so. The Creative Commons licenses under which the Arduino designs are released don't require any permission for use. We'd still like to hear from you about it, so we know what's out there. But see the next question for information on the use of the name "Arduino".
Start by talking to the core team (bizdev (at) arduino.cc). Like other open source projects (e.g. Linux, Ubuntu, and Firefox), we want our community to know that when they're using something called "Arduino" it meets the standards of the other devices using the name. On the other hand, we recognize that Arduino is the result of much hard work by many people and that there's more to the project than what's done by the core team. We're striving to find the right balance between these two values. As part of this process, we require you ask us before using the name "Arduino" in the name of a product, company, or domain name. In particular, we want to ensure that anything anything using the name fits into the overall project, including the software, documentation, and support.
That said, we would like to include works by many people as part of the official Arduino hardware. This could mean that we manufacture something you've designed, and share the revenue with you. Or that you manufacture it yourself and, in return, contribute to the project (with a licensing fee, by releasing your design and production files, by documenting and supporting the product, or some combination of these). These products will be featured on the main Arduino site, be supported by the Arduino software, and generally given the same backing as the hardware designed by the Arduino team (e.g. in distribution). If you want your board to be supported by us in this way, here's what we ask:
Unmodified productions of the Arduino design files are subject to the same requirements on the use of the name. If you'd like to manufacture these without making an agreement with us, you need to call them something like "ATmega168 i/o board manufactured from the Arduino USB schematic and layout" or "L293D PCB manufactured from the Arduino motor controller shield files". Please understand that the revenue from the sale of existing products is essential to being able to afford to design new ones - and to manufacture them in quantities sufficient to make them affordable. While you are free to use the layouts, we think it's only fair that anything called "Arduino" is contributing to the future of the project.
In general, we're happy to see people talking about Arduino, writing tutorials about Arduino, discussing projects that use Arduino boards, using the Arduino software with their hardware, etc. The project depends on the creations of the community, and we want to encourage these activities.
We do, however, have a few requirements:
Talk to us. We want to see the platform expand, so we'd be happy to point you in the right direction.
Contact the Arduino distribution team (distribution (at) arduino.cc). We'll tell you what you need to know and make it happen.
Write to the developers mailing list with your idea. We'll figure out the best way to get your contributions into the software and out to the community.
Again, please write to us at bizdev (at) arduino.cc with your idea. We'd like to keep the software unified, so if you plan major revisions, it's best to give it another name, and a different look.