Announcing the Open Toolchain Hackathon 2023

Hi everyone,

As we start to ramp up as a foundation it is really exciting to be announcing our first in person event since our Kick Off event in July 2022. On the 6th and 7th of March we will be hosting a mixed hardware & software hackathon in Hamburg, Germany!

More details are available on the OpenToolchain website

We even have some funding to help participants attend. You can register here.

Feel free to ask any questions below


Hi @julianstirling ,
this sounds really interesting!

However, I’m not involved in the Nimble project and I’m not a developer for one of the open toolchain software projects. Does it still make sense to apply?
I’m a professional software developer by training, but was leading/working on open source hardware projects in the last couple of years (FabMX, Laser4DIY, StereoNinja). I have come across a couple of issues while working on these projects and it’s very nice to see some are getting attention with the Open Toolchain and the Interfacer project, e.g. automated documentation. I was thinking about getting involved and would love to discuss these topics with the people behind these projects.
The hackathon might be a good opportunity for this. What do you think?



Yeah, please do! We need hardware people who are not already in the nimble project because we all have different workflows for designing our hardware and so this is one thing we want to learn about in the hackathon.

The fact you have background as a professional software dev is also really helpful, even if you don’t work on tools in the toolchain, you’ll “speak their language”. Really great to have people with feet in both camps.

Always happy to discuss automated documentation with everyone. I’d love to do some automated documentation at the hackathon. Also @pieterhijma and I should start a forum thread talking about our different approaches to this.

Awesome! I have to reschedule some appointments, but I think I’ll apply!

I got in touch with @pieterhijma and JC already, great work! My intended approach would be a bit different: I’d like to describe CAD assemblies with code, a bit like you did with OpenFlexture, but with cadquery (or something similar based on Python and OpenCascade). That could probably be connected to gitbuilding and/or used to generate 3D previews for assembly. Maybe I can hack something together at the hackathon :slight_smile:
Anyway, I’d love to discuss the different approaches with you, ideally in person!



:mega: Hey lovely people @ the OTFN Hackathon. :star_struck:Amazing Hacking Unit Hosts - thank you for taking matters into your hands. Please share your Updates on you Hacking Unit in this Forum. What are you working on? What do you want to achieve and is there anything that you still need from the group. :rocket: @channel

Hey, we are initializing a clean version of the repo of the nimble hardware according to OSH best practice (according to us), here:

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Hej Hackateers!

I’m conducting an exercise with the Danish Design Center’s Open-Source Ecosystem Toolkit. You can find the link here, 06 - Hackathon-Unit-Title - HedgeDoc

If you’re interested in learning more about it and helping me, please feel free to grab me!

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It’s working! Come on by and help me and the OTFN create the best organisation in the world, probably :wink:


Hey there,

we are working on an automated workflow to create a user-defined rack for Nimble, generating STL/STEP files, BOM and assembly manually. We want to use cadquery, gitbuilding and osh-autodoc for this task.
You can find details on 02 - Parametric enclosure Workflow - HedgeDoc

Open Toolchain Hackathon 2023: Documenting and Continuing the Dialog

It is amazing to be a part of the incredible energy here in the OTFN Hackathon, and there is so much happening! To ensure that we capture and communicate all of this incredible work, we ask that each hacking unit please be sure to document their progress on the work by the end of the day today, using the following guidelines:

  1. Translate the physical printout (the printed sheets on the bulletin boards in the Mexico room) of your hacking unit proposition into an actionable plan, mapping it to the corresponding Hedgedoc pad in the Open Toolchain Hackathon - Collaboration Tools list: Open Toolchain Hackathon - Collaboration Tools - HedgeDoc

  2. Each Hedgedoc pad has a shared template (including Goals; Action Items; People and their roles, etc.) - please complete the template to the best of your ability, including all external reference links as available/applicable to document your ongoing work. Example: 05 - FreeCAD Doc Squad - HedgeDoc

  3. Publish a post on your progress to the OTFN Community Forum (and good news - if you’re reading this, you’re already here on the right forum thread! :smiley:), using the following process:

And if you haven’t done so already, please be sure you’ve introduced yourself: Introduce yourself!


I’m getting ready to print anything so if you have something that might work with Nimble let me know, I can grab it with a USB stick.

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There has been much more achieved and documented during the #hackathon so feel free to check it out here:



@Thams I didn’t participate, but I paid attention and have thought about this activity. When I was looking at the stakeholders list, “Parents” kept coming to mind as an addition, but I couldn’t define why and it didn’t seem like it fit with the other stakeholders. However, it finally struck me this morning why Parents might be interesting stakeholders. There are three aspects to this that I can think of.

  1. OER resources for homeschooling parents and smaller schools.
  2. STEAM kits for children (with OER resources that tie in with #1)
  3. Parents and children as advocates for the open toolchain.

On #1, in the US there is a significant market for homeschool resources, enough that there are companies dedicated to creating resources for just this market. It’s possible that these OER resources could be created in such a way that they work for public school systems as well, or at least overlap, depending on certification requirements.

The reason I thought of #2 is that there are companies such as KiwiCo that offer STEAM kits for kids on a subscription basis, and our family has a subscription. YouTuber Mark Rober has launched a maker kit subscription service that uses Arduino, but I’m not sure how focused it is on being open. Another example might be the littleBits kits from Ayah Bedir.

Just to maybe spark some ideas, I’ll now switch into hypothetical mode. Maybe a partner of OTFN could create an open toolchain focused maker kit service, or an existing service could be convinced to carry a few open toolchain related kits throughout the year. There would be an activity in each kit designed using open tools, with the source available online. The guided activities in it could include things such as:

  • Use Inkscape or FreeCAD to create 2D decorations that can be printed on paper and used to enhance what the child is making.
  • Use open textile software (or a parametric FreeCAD model if there are not any) to print a customized pattern to make something like stuffed animal clothes (for toy stuffed animals, not real animals that are stuffed). Sorry if the terminology is not right here, it’s not an area of expertise for me.
  • Use Inkscape or FreeCAD to create printed paper templates for a 3D printer pen (I’ve done this and they can be really cool).

Each kit could have a Maker Stick included so that no installation or configuration of tools would be needed. Kids could use their parents’ computer without changing anything, or claim and reuse an old laptop/desktop. Then they would have all the tools needed for the activities easily accessible, with access to a bunch of other tools if they wanted to experiment. All the source would be available as well, so modification of the core activity could be done by a child, parent or educator.

Having something like this would help introduce children to using open tools early, and might help make parents into advocates when trying to work with educators and lawmakers.

It seems like development of the first few kits and the related OER materials could be a Hackathon of its own, which might help with testing the assumptions.

Not sure if this is helpful in this context, but the thoughts clicked into place for me today and I thought I’d post them.