How do you finish you projects? (Arduino)

Whenever you want to finish a prototype, what kind of checklist do you go thru?

things like:
How do you decide what case design to use, what materials for that same case,
how to solder everything up,
what makes you decide if you "lock" the Arduino on that project forever by soldering everything around it.

If you decide to make it modular, what techniques do you use.
What kind of material do you use to attach everything together: Hot glue? close everything down with screws, nails, staples (...)?

How would you make it water-proof or make the project resistant to the weather (if it was something to be outside for a long time).

If you have to use a lot of cable, is there any good pratice you would suggest?

When do you use connectors and what kind of connectors do you use?

I would love to see a video tutorial on how to properly finish up a project, and make it look beautiful inside a case. :)
Thank you all.

PKM6 years ago
Personally? I never finish an Arduino project :)

Let me clarify that- I tend to make Arduino projects because I think "this would be cool to make" rather than "I have a specific need that the Arduino can address".  Because making a specification for a project and then building it to that is efficient but also hella boring, I don't do it for hacks done for fun- iterative development lets you be influenced by the materials you have to hand rather than thinking "I don't have the exact size of box I need- better go and buy one".  A lot of hacks are never truly finished, so remain in a state where I could think of more things to add until I want the arduino for something else.

The Arduino is intended to be for prototyping- if you want to leave a microcontrolled in your project for good it is a lot cheaper (and less bulky) to program a uC chip with a regular programmer and solder that into your circuit than to commit the entire arduino dev board to it.

As for enclosures, attachments, cables, connectors- for hacks done for fun or to test out an idea I use whatever I have to hand or can get cheaply from the local hardware store.  This usually means plastic lunchboxes, duct tape, hot glue, string, paperclips and the rest of those sort of versatile everyday materials.  If you have a specific project in mind that you want a more sturdy enclosure for, you should think about:

- impact/vibration
- temperature
- water
- size
- what it will be attached to
- sensitivity of the workings to water, dust, vibration, acceleration, heat, cold, etc.

to determine what the enclosure needs to protect against, and then find materials that provide that protection within your budget.  Making a project "look beautiful inside a case" depends almost entirely on the project- will it live in your bedroom, on your bike or on your boat?  I'm sure you can find some good examples of plastic, wood and metal work on this site though.