Building CANtact Pro: An Open Source CAN Bus Tool

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Ever wanted to build your own hardware tool? In this talk, we'll discuss the design and release process for the CANtact Pro device. From PCB design to driver development, there's a lot of steps that go into bringing a hardware idea to market. This talk will give you a better understanding of this process and how you can launch your own hardware product. We'll talk about open source tools for designing PCBs, writing cross-platform drivers using Rust, the economics of releasing a device, and the unavoidable logistical headaches of building hardware.

Back in 2014, I launched an open source CAN bus tool called CANtact. This was one of the first widely available CAN bus tools that was open source and low cost. Since then CANtacts have found their way into many automotive companies, government agencies, and hobbyist's tool boxes.

CANtact Pro is the successor to the CANtact device. It adds isolation, high speed USB, CAN-FD support, and a case. This project was launched through Crowd Supply and shipped to backers in late 2020.

This talk will discuss the process of developing, releasing, and selling an open source hardware device. We'll cover the device design process and the logistics of bringing it to market. If you've ever wanted to release your own hardware tools, this talk will give you an understanding of how to do it.