PCBWay 3rd PCB Design Contest
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Most Popular Design, Pi1541 IO Adapter Rev.4 by Christian Graefe

by: Jan 16,2019 1001 Views 0 Comments Posted in News

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Today Im going to introduce Christian Graefe whose project, Pi1541 IO Adapter Rev.4 has been chosen as the Most Popular Design among all the entries of PCBWay 2nd PCB Design Contest. Lets know him more through the following interview.

 Christian Graefe.jpg

PCBWay Team: “ Could you please briefly introduce yourself? Many other PCBWayers in the community want to know more about you.”

Christian Graefe:” I’m a software engineer from Germany and I’m developing software projects of various sizes for a day job. Then I’m currently dabbling a little in electronics for a hobby.  As for many others of my generation, my first “real” computer was a Commodore 64. Recently, I’ve rediscovered my soft spot for those old machines.”


PCBWay Team: “When did you start making and how did you learn?”

Christian Graefe:” I can’t recall precisely, but I’d say that I started making as a kid. I was fascinated by electronics back then but I was lacking the means and contacts to dig deeper. Then I abandoned making for many years in favor of software development and computer science. The emergence of modern, easy-to-learn microcontrollers and the abundance of information on today’s internet brought me back to making about 10 years ago. It is much easier to teach yourself today.”


PCBWay Team: “Can you recall how or why you became a maker?”

Christian Graefe:” I think my main drive is curiosity and the desire to learn. I’ve always been interested in electronics and picking a project to make yourself and then see it through is the best and most fun way to learn.”


PCBWay Team: “How did you know about our 2nd PCB Design Contest? And what drove you to attend this competition?”

Christian Graefe:” Actually, I learned about the contest by chance. I had created the Pi1541io layout and wanted to share it with the retro computing community. PCBWay offered the best deal for making the board and I could also share it directly with others. Only after I shared the project I noticed that I could enter the design contest.”


Pi1541 IO Adapter, Rev.4.png

PCBWay Team: “About your award-winning work, Pi1541 IO Adapter, Rev.4, please tell us more details about it? And why did you choose it as your entry?” 

Christian Graefe:” Pi1541 is an awesome piece of software developed by Steve White and released as open source in May, 2018. Its’ a real-time, cycle exact, Commodore 1541 disk drive emulator that can run on a Raspberry Pi 3. The Pi1541 IO adapter board is designed to sit on top of the Raspberry Pi running the emulation. Currently, it has support for all the different hardware options of the Pi1541.”


PCBWay Team: “ What part of the project process excites you the most?”

Christian Graefe:” At first, the project was just a way for me to comfortably evaluate and use the Pi1541 software. Then I felt it might be a great way to contribute to the project as a whole to share the design. This should allow cheap and easy access to the project to as many people as possible.”


PCBWay Team: “ In your opinion, what comes first - the existing technology or the design idea?”

Christian Graefe:” As hinted above, to me it’s always the technology first that inspires new projects. But maybe I’m just not creative enough to come up with design ideas without such inspiration.”


PCBWay Team: “ What makes you different/ unique from other makers?”

Christian Graefe:” I don’t think that I’m different or unique. Only to the extend that every maker out there who is creating stuff is unique and no two are exactly alike.”


PCBWay Team: “How did you feel when you found that you were one of the winners?”

Christian Graefe:” I was excited and genuinely surprised. I didn’t really expect to win when I entered.”


PCBWay Team: “What do you think is the most important inner traits to be a good PCB designer?”

Christian Graefe:” The right mixture of curiosity, patience, and the drive to learn.”


PCBWay Team: “What do you think of Open Source Hardware? And how do you look at the future of open source community?”

Christian Graefe:” I’ve always been a huge fan and advocate of open source software. Open source hardware is the next logical step. In the last decades, OS software has revolutionized the world and OS hardware has similar potential.”


PCBWay Team: “What do you think of our website  and the community page? PCBWay will contribute to the open source community more. Do you have any suggestions for improvement?”

Christian Graefe:” The PCBWay website is great for makers requiring PCB prototypes. And the community pages are an outstanding feature that made the difference for me! An improvement I would like to see is a better preview of the uploaded Gerber files. Also, thumbnails of those previews would help me to navigate my order history.”


PCBWay Team: “What are ingredients of a good maker space? If you were to create and equip a new maker space for a school or library, how would your ideal solution look like?”

Christian Graefe:” Unfortunately, I haven’t even been to a maker space myself yet so I’m not really qualified to answer. Besides some basics, I think the focus should be on large or expensive equipment like 3D printers, CNC machines, laser cutters, and machines that very few people can afford on their own.”


PCBWay Team: “ What do you know about Assistive Technology(AT)? It is useful for people with severe physical and cognitive challenges. How do you think the makers can be more conducive to AT community?”


Christian Graefe:” I admit I haven’t given this much thought yet.”



PCBWay Team: “The 3rd PCB Design Contest has been in our New Year schedule, will you join in again? And would you like to suggest your friends to attend as well?”

Christian Graefe:” We’ll see. I would need a new project first that I’m convinced of. If I find that in time, I will certainly join in again. And I would recommend doing so to anyone who has an interesting project to share.”


PCBWay Team: “ What’s your New Year’s resolution for 2019?”

Christian Graefe:” I don’t do those. Out of conviction.”


PCBWay Team: “ Any words to PCBWay or to all PCBWayers around the world?”

Christian Graefe:” A great thanks to PCBWay for the opportunity to join in the contest and to everyone who is sharing their projects. The PCB for one of the other winning designs has just been manufactured by PCBWay an is on its way to me. I’m looking forward to building it and I’m excited to see what the next design contest will bring us!”


PCBWay Team: “ Thanks again for accepting my interview. Wish you a better 2019.”

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