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PRO FAB-O-MATIC : a FabLab machine access control with RFID cards

License: MIT License

Participate: OSHWLab Stars

Mode: OSHWLab Stars

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Update time: 2024-06-02 17:37:56
Creation time: 2024-04-01 12:22:25



This project will allow a non-profit FABLAB organization in Bergamo (Italy) to handle the various equipments in the lab. Machine usage is open to FabLab members, makers, hobbyists and students during training courses. Various public events are held during the year to increase "Maker mindset" in the community.

However it is not practical to monitor people and manually register usage of the machines all the time for the FabLab admin staff, or to keep current with maintenance tasks. A dedicated hardware+software solution has been designed to simplify this status.

Project is fully open source with software based on Arduino framework for ESP32 and hardware by EASYEDA/JLCPCB manufacturing.

Our design requirements

- RFID cards will be used to gain access to a specific machine ;

- RFID board will then give power to the machine enabling the usage ;

- RFID board shall be easy to integrate with various machines (230/24V power, free-voltage contacts) ;

- RFID board shall be easy to use for general public of the lab with a color front pannel with instructions ;

- RFID pannel shall include a QR code for instructions for the public ;

- RFID board will report actual usage time of the machines to a backend software ;

- RFID board shall be usable in case the backend server is unavailable ;

- A maintenance plan can be triggered based on actual machine usage ;

- RFID board will announce needed maintenance on LCD ;

- Specific authorized users will be able to register maintenance on the RFID board ;

- FabLab can handle authorizations to the machines (e.g. qualifications of users)


Each board shall be low-cost to manufacture as we have 10 machines to cover (1 CNC drill machine, 2 Laser, 5 3D Printers, 1 Resin printer, 1 automatic sewing machine) and fully open-sourced. 

Components of the project 

- RFID board with ESP32S3 and RFID board ;

- Software running on ESP32 (available in  https://github.com/fablab-bergamo/rfid-arduino ) :

- Backend software running on Raspberry Pi Zero or similar (available in https://github.com/fablab-bergamo/rfid-backend )

Current PCB design


  • In order to integrate the board with the backend over MQTT, an ESP32 chip has been used.
  • To avoid UART chip usage a ESP32S3 with integrated USB has been selected.
  • For user interface, a LCD 16x2 has been selected.
  • RFID module has been integrated with SPI bus.
  • A dedicated relay handles machine interfacing
Design Drawing
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