I’m trying to imagine what you might think a “flashing jig” is if you’re not into electronics… No, it’s not the worst strip tease ever, it’s a frame you put a circuit board on that connects an external programmer device to points on the board so that you can write code (or “flash the firmware”) to the CPU. Previously I’d have a circuit board fabricated with holes in the (hopefully) correct locations and 3D print a frame to hold the board in the right place. If I make a mistake or decide to change the design, the turnaround is hours for the 3D printer, or many days for the PCB fab. With the Glowforge I went from start to finish in about five hours, and a lot of that was learning how Inkscape works.
I did a few iterations on cardboard first to get everything sized just right, then a couple of little drill guides to get the right size for the pogo pins, the spring-loaded contacts that press against the circuit board. It took about five minutes to draw them up, even less to cut them out, and it gave me a totally perfect fit. I didn’t have to do any careful measurement, look up manufacturing tolerances, or dig out data sheets. I’m totally giddy about how the Glowforge enables prototyping with fast iterations. My first cut of the base layer in acrylic had a glitch on it, so I fixed that and had a new one in just a couple of minutes. The hole alignment wasn’t perfect so I made some tweaks and ran off another one. To thoroughly belabor the point: If I had to spin a new PCB for that, I’d be waiting over a week for it or I’d have to spend a bundle on one-day turnaround.
And man, that acrylic sure does look cool.