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Build It

TIS features a collection of libraries to help you with your CubeSat development.

Adafruit Sensor Library

This is a basic Arduino sensor library needed for the BMP-280 and other sensors from Adafruit. *Adafruit_Sensor

BMP-280 Pressure/Temperature Sensor Library

A modified library that works with the GY-BM280 sensor set, this is configured to run with the I2C standard that is already active.

So, what can you put into a TIS CubeSat frame? The answers are as varied as the sciences. Electronics comprise the bulk of most experiments, even life sciences. They perform monitoring and data collection duties. Here are a few options and source links to get you started.

Arduino Uno

Arduino Uno is the workhorse of the maker-space movement. This micro-controller is perfect for any sort of sensor because it is easy to program and expand. You can find many sources for code, starting with www.arduino.cc.

Adafruit and SparkFun are great sources for the hardware. Additionally, Amazon has some decent deals on them as well.
Data Storage Unit

Data Storage

SparkFun and Adafruit offer good data storage products. They have excellent microSD breakout boards that will do the job.

Weather Monitoring

For a simple sensor setup, you can use the Arduino with a data logger to report basic weather elements. Adafruit and SparkFun offer the DHT22 temperature and humidity sensor.
Weather Monitoring
Location Tracking Unit

Location Tracking

For a great experiment, you can use a sensor board with a 9 degree of freedom. This allows you to track and record the CubeSat’s position, orientation, and magnetic position. It also makes for a great second project.

Parts List

You can find the following parts for assembling your CubeFrame in your kits:

CubeSat Formfactor Frame (Blue or Red)

  • 2 Base Pieces
  • 2 Side Pieces
  • 8 M3 Nuts
  • 8 M3 x 12mm Screws

Battery Plate

  • 1 Black Plate
  • 4 26mm Standoffs
  • 4 M3 Nuts
  • 4 M3 x 12mm Screws

Arduino Plate

  • 1 White Electronics Plate
  • 4 12mm Standoffs
  • 8 M3 x 5mm Screws

Sensor Plate

  • 1 Red or Blue Sensor Plate
  • 4 12mm Standoffs
  • 4 M3 Nuts
  • 4 M3 x 5mm Screws

Download and Print the CubeFrame

You can download and print the components if you haven’t purchased a kit. For the metal parts, you can find them on Amazon or a well-stocked local hardware store.

Prepare the CubeFrame

Do not attach any electronics yet the first time you assemble the frame so you can find out how the parts work together. By doing this, you can also identify issues with the parts, if there are any.

Please note that there may be resistance when assembling the parts. Small drifts in the molten plastic can make first-time assembly a bit more difficult since they were 3D printed. To avoid breakage, just remember to take it slow. Pre-pilot the holes using the provided screws to ensure they fit cleanly.

Step 1 – Attach the 12mm standoffs that should be on the rough side of the plate to the white plate with 5mm screws. Use the screws to pilot through the holes and the Arduino Uno to verify that you have the standoffs on the correct side by checking alignment with the mounting holes. However, you don’t have to worry if they are not exact.


Step 2 – Select one CubeFrame base and attach the black battery plate with the shiny side up using the 12mm screws and the 26mm standoffs.


Step 3 – Connect the Arduino plate to the battery plate and secure it with the four nuts. This is the primary base unit.


Step 4 – Connect the 26mm standoffs with the enclosed 12mm screws using the remaining CubeFrame base. Attach the red sensor plate to the standoffs with the nuts.


Step 5 – Align a CubeFrame side panel to the primary base and attach it with 12mm screws and matching nuts. The nuts should fit snugly inside the CubeFrame base. Repeat the process with the second CubeFrame side panel.


Step 6 – Insert the remaining base sensor side down into the space at the top of the CubeSat. Attach it with the four remaining screw and nut sets.

Your finished CubeFrame should look like the provided illustration. Now that you know the basics of the CubeFrame construction, you can modify the parts as needed for your experiment. You can try relocating the plates to maximize the electronics space to suit your needs if needed.

Remember, the battery plate at the bottom needs the clearance of the base configuration. Contact us before proceeding if you need to change that part of the CubeFrame