I was in San Diego on Thursday to speak at the AUVSI's Unmanned Systems Interoperability Conference and to do a Bloomberg TV segment on 3D Robotics/DIY Drones. This was a good opportunity to tour the new factory, which is now in its own 10,000 square foot building with 15 full-time employees. (3D Robotics is the company that powers the DIY Drones store). This is what it takes to do high-end electronics at the volume and scale we're now operating at. It's a long way from the garage we started in ;-)


Here are some photos from the new space.


Above: the main PCB production line. From left: the automated stencil printer, the pick-and-place machine with autofeeders and the reflow oven.  This is where the magic happens!


Carmen, who runs the QA station at the end of the PCB production line. She tests every board that comes out!


These are just a few of the test jigs.


Here's Alan and the cool new 3D printer. You won't believe the new products they're working on ;-)




More shipping


Engineering department


The CNC machine making ArduCopter frame parts


Some Bixler and EasyStar APM enclosure parts made by the CNC.


Jordi and software engineer Pat Hickey in front of the pick-and-place machine


Accounting and office management


Bloomberg host (and former MTV VJ) Tabitha Soren raiding the refrigerator in the kitchen.


3D printer operator


Here's the other end of the production line, showing the PCB cutter and reflow oven


Component reels, waiting for the pick-and-place


Conference room


The engineering area has monitors turned sideways to read LOTS of Arduino code ;-)


Hmm..what are these? Could it be a new product? Hint: they're not cameras ;-)


We've even got our own forklift!


Electronics engineering stations look like this


Here's another one


Jordi being interviewed by Bloomberg. 

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Comment by Grips on November 5, 2011 at 4:34pm

Cool spot Chris. Thanks for the walk through. I guess I am the first to wonder about what are those mystery units with the circular black element on them. Could it be a landing sensor of sorts for copters? The plot thickens.. :)

Comment by Dave Wicks on November 5, 2011 at 4:42pm
Looks like half a sonar sensor

Comment by Grips on November 5, 2011 at 4:43pm

maybe for an object avoidance rig? Or maybe its a new overall sonar sensor. Maybe its a paper weight?

Comment by I.S. on November 5, 2011 at 4:46pm

I know! I know! :)

and I've been waiting for them for months!


Nice workspace!

Comment by Jason Short on November 5, 2011 at 4:56pm

Those are optical flow sensors! 

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on November 5, 2011 at 5:16pm

Jason: Shhhh ;-)

Comment by David Schwarz on November 5, 2011 at 5:32pm

@ jason- that was my guess too

Comment by Helldesk on November 5, 2011 at 5:49pm

Standard screw-on optics too! There are tiny motorized lenses for 1/3" cameras... I wonder if such a lens could make an optical flow sensor work well with a very large range of altitudes?

Comment by Grips on November 5, 2011 at 7:02pm

optical flow sensor? anyone have an explanation? Would this be to do something along the lines of a flymentor system, taking a picture of the ground and then comparing it to the next and making attitude corrections?

Comment by I.S. on November 5, 2011 at 7:35pm


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