Building a clone isn't always a bad thing. Sometimes it is a fulfilling and fun project.
Inspiration for our DIY projects can come from anywhere. Sometimes we could have easily purchased the thing we built, but we'd miss out on all the fun of building it. All the fun of some projects is in building in them. That's the case with Shrinket, the DIY Trinket clone.
The Trinket, which we discussed at its launch last fall, is a tiny, cheap, and Arduino-compatible development board put out by Adafruit. In fact, it is so cheap that it might be difficult to understand why people would bother making their own instead of buying one for their project. Just keep in mind that making the clone is the project itself.
Since Adafruit is proudly open-source, it publishes the schematics for all its products. This means that planning out a clone is fairly simple. However, as you probably noticed in the picture above, the board is constructed from perfboard. This means that the main challenge is simply assembling this tiny board in a similar form factor to the Trinket.
As you read the construction blog, you'll see that everything had to be assembled in a very specific order. Each step had to be pre-planned to ensure that the wires would be in the correct place and pre-tinned. There wasn't much space for impromptu soldering. The total assembly time was around 60 minutes after the first one. All that was left after assembly was to burn on the bootloader using an Arduino.
— Caleb Kraft, Chief Community Editor, EE Times