Introduction: Basics - Organizing Breadboard Jumper Cables
It got to be a mess. I like to use solderless breadboards for prototyping, and I bought a bunch of jumper cables of varying lengths and sizes. During a project, I would dump the mess on my work table and try to find the size and color I needed. This instructable may not be the best answer, but it has been a workable idea for me. Basically, I used plastic peanut jars and drilled holes and slits in the tops. Any kind of plastic jar could be used. Coffee jars come to mind. I didn't like glass jars, because they are too heavy, but then again they may be more stable. The main thing is to have a jar with a plastic cover in which you can drill holes and melt slots.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
empty peanut jar(s)
3/16" drill bit and drill
soldering iron capable of having a replaceable tip
homemade soldering tip for melting slots in jar cap
jumper wires that you want to store
Step 2: The Homemade Soldering Tip
I didn't want to use my regular soldering tip to melt the plastic. For one thing, it would make a slot that was far too big for my purpose. To make the tip I took a small 3/16 bolt and cut it to about a 1 1/2" length. I used a grinder to grind the tip to a little less than 1/16". The ground part of the tip is about 1/4" long. If you don't have a grinder, you may want to use a file; it'll just take longer to do. +
Step 3: Marking the Bottle Cap
I used a simple marking pen and marked four holes as shown in the picture. If you want to maximize the space, you can used a different design with more holes and grooves.
Using the 3/16" drill bit, I drilled holes where I had marked them previously. The hole is big enough for the thickened end of the leads to drop through for storage and remove for use.
Step 5: Melt the Slots
Using my soldering iron and 3/16" homemade tip, I carefully melted slots leading from the holes as shown in the picture. By now, you get the idea. The cable is dropped through the hole and then slid into place in the slot. Each slot can hold multiple cables. You can see I tried using a different pattern of slots. I don't recommend the second one, though. It gets messy to keep cables in the middle cross slots and to extricate them without having the others fall into the jar.
Step 6: Finished Storage Jar
As you accumulate more and more jars, you can organized your jumper cables better and better.
Step 7: Five Jars for Storing Breadboard Jumper Cables
Again, there may be much better ways of doing this job than I have done, but so far, it works well for me.
Step 8: Stop the Presses!
Best idea yet is to use an old (or new) comb. This idea came from charlesd.parker.33 in the comments below. If I had a comb, I would do it right now and take a picture to show you. The picture I have is from the web, no comb in my house at this point. If anyone can provide a picture with jumper wires hanging from it, I'd appreciate it. Put it with the comments.