Originally, according to Wikipedia and other articles I’ve read wooden kitchen breadboards were used for electronics, which is where the term started. I’ve started using them too. I had a couple of accidents where they magic smoke was released from a couple of Arduino boards when an Arduino module was bumped and moved over a screwdriver in one case and a piece of metal in another. That smoke can escape pretty quickly. I also got tired of connections coming loose when moving the project between sessions. I thought I would share some of my results as they may help someone.
I started by trying to make my own boards, but found I didn’t really have any suitable timber, but I may come back and look at options later.
I found our local Kmart had suitable items. The first is a beautiful acacia serving board. Originally it had a timber handle. I cut that off as it made it a bit long and awkward. It’s not the easiest timber to cut, but I do have some good tools for that and the results were ok. For this one I attached a 20×4 LCD display, battery holder, rotary encoder and joystick. I tried to include items that wouldn’t plug into the solderless breadboard, but adding all these may have been a mistake. I doubt I will use the joystick, but that’s ok. The dark timber looks great. What I hadn’t expected was how much more pleasing it made working on a project when everything is held together on such a beautiful piece of timber.
Kmart no longer have the exact same board but they did get these Anko bamboo serving boards. They came in a pack of 3 boards for $6, so the price was right. They are not as beautiful as the first board and they are smaller, but they are made of bamboo which I presume is more environmentally friendly and their size and thickness make them ideal for smaller projects. I made up several with solderless breadboards attached. This one includes a 16×2 LCD display.
I like these LCD displays a lot so I included one on this board. I bought the I2C board and LCDs separately as I didn’t want them pre-soldered together. This allowed me to solder them together with greater distance between the LCD and backpack module. I could then carefully bend the pins so that the LCD sat at a useful angle and the I2 C board was easily accessible for adjusting the contrast and reading the pin connections.
To mount modules to the board I’ve found a couple of different sized plastic tubing. It’s easy to cut to different lengths. There are probably lots of tools to cut it with but I usually use a pair of heavy duty wire strippers, not because it requires a lot of force, but as it has just the right sized cutter that makes it easy to do a neat cut. The tubing can squash a bit so if their lengths are not identical it doesn’t really matter.
Overall, this has made tinkering much more enjoyable. I’m still looking out for improvements.