To start, here are two very short stories.

Story One: I’ve just managed to get my ticket to OSHWA Summit in NYC expensed thru work. Yes!

Story Two: I’ve been feeling “the scaries” lately, largely around feelings that I haven’t achieved anything significant. No! (Don’t worry - I’m seeing a counselor.)

These seem completely unconnected - definitely in the context of OSHWA.

But then it hit me: one of the things I’ve always wanted to do, but never have, is design and build some little OSHW gadget. OSHWA Summit is in about six weeks. Can I make a thing in time to have HW ready for OSHWA summit?

The Plan

Design, build, and bring up an OSHW device in time for OSHWA Summit in March.

Concept at the moment: an open source function generator design.

Why a function generator?

  • I’ve been quietly obsessing over and reading about DDS chips for several months now. Actually building one should exorcise any mystical fascination I’ve been clinging to.
  • I’ve never had a function generator of my own. Scratch your own itch, right?
  • I can’t, for the life of me, find an OSHW function generator design that doesn’t require you to have a separate Arduino or MCU to control the thing. I don’t have a problem with that per se, but I am a bit impatient. Meaning: when I want to futz with hardware at home, I don’t really want to put in the time to make my tools in addition to making whatever little project I have cooked up. (Yes, the irony that I’ve decided to take on a project that is making tools at a grand scale is not lost on me.)
  • I don’t really love the breadboard form factors of the generators I’ve found so far.


My fiance is a teacher, and as a result, I haven’t slept past 630 AM since we started living together. I typically get to work around 9. With a half hour for commuting, and a half hour to get ready for work, I have an hour and a half every day to work on this.

Same strategy as eating an elephant, really. Small bites, one at a time!

I’ve already started working towards this goal, and I’m keeping a short daily journal of my progress, typically with the next day’s tasks providing the jumping off point for journaling. I’m tentatively planning on publishing a weekly digest of this journal, as a way of keeping myself honest about my progress.

Here goes nothing!


If you have never been to OSHWA Summit - you should plan on changing that! It’s very fun, and you get to meet a lot of smart people doing cool things in the OSHW community.

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