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This Instructable is designed for educators and tinkerers and details how to create a prototyping base, which contains both an Arduino Uno and a breadboard. You can use this for yourself or make a set for a classroom environment.

I use these for the curriculum at the Pier 9 Creative Workshops to teach Arduino fundamentals. With a portable Arudino and breadboard as a single unit, you can reduce the mess of wires everywhere and prevent accidental disconnections from the breadboard

I've seen many flavors of acrylic Arduino stands, such as this one (Instructables) and this one (Adafruit). So I certainly didn't come up with this idea, but this version is a clean and elegant implementation.

Mine has no nuts-and-bolts and a minimum of parts. The Arduino and breadboard spacing is just the right distance for clean-looking jumper wires. There is plenty of room on the lip of the base for your hands or overhanging parts. I have included Illustrator files are for you to use and modify.

You can knock out a set of 20 in a few hours for your students.

Tools Needed
Laser-cutter
Drill Press (hand drill will be okay) with standard drills
Metric Tap and die set
Metric Allen key set
Standard transfer punch set

Step 1: Get Materials

You will need some acrylic for the base and some thin plywood for a drilling template. Each Breadino has a footprint of 8" x 6", so you can calculate how much acrylic you will need using basic math. We will cut out just one drilling template, so the plywood needed is minimal.

For hardware, we have just two items: spacers to go between the Arduino and the acrylic base and socket head cap screws (allen bolts) to attach the Arduino to the acrylic.

Flat Materials, order wherever
1/4" clear acrylic, to fit the number of Breadinos that you want
1/8" plywood, 12" x 12". You can use larger ply or another material if you don't have this accessible


Hardware, Order from McMaster

M2.5 12mm socket head cap screws (set of 4 for each Breadino)
Screw Size #4: Nylon Spacer, 1/4" OD, 1/4" Length (set of 4 for each Breadino)


Electronics
Arudino Unos
400-tie point breadboards

Step 2: Laser-cut Acrylic Bases

I'd suggest doing one Breadino before running out all a set of 20. Prototype once then do your production run, in case there are any glitches.

I've included the Illustrator file for etching. This will etch 4 circles that match the screw holes for the Arduino Uno. We will drill and tap these in subsequent steps. It will also etch a footprint for the breadboard itself and the title "Breadino". You can change this to be the names of your students, the class name, your institution, your favorite #hashtag or anything else that fits.

Finally, this file will cut the acrylic itself. You'll want to run some tests on raster-etching and vector-cutting settings, since each laser-cutter varies.

Leave the protective paper on the acrylic for the time being.

Step 3: Laser-cut the Drill Template

We use the drill template so that we can do some accurate drilling.

In theory, you could laser-cut the holes in the acrylic itself, but in practice, the kerf can be tricky and tapping of the laser-cut holes can cause problems since laser-cutting will produce different effects on the acrylic, deforming it or otherwise weakening the structure.

I've also included the Illustrator file for the drilling template.

You will only need to cut one drilling template.

Step 4: Use Transfer Punch to Mark Holes

Bring out the Drill Template*

Place the drill template over each acrylic base, aligning the drill template holes over the acrylic etched holes.

Use a 1/8" transfer punch to mark the 4 holes for each Breadino.

* technically, this should be called a "Transfer Punch Template", but that just sounds weird...

Step 5: Drill Out the Holes

Use a 5/64 standard bit for drilling out the holes, or if you have a metric set, a 2.05mm bit.

If you have a drill press, it will be a lot easier, though a hand drill will also work.

Step 6: Tap Holes

Peel of the adhesive backing for the acrylic at this point.

Use an M2.5 tap to tap the 4 holes on each of the Breadinos. This will be a cinch with the soft acrylic.

Step 7: Assemble the Arduino & Breadboard

Peel off the adhesive protection on the acrylic at this point.

Use a #2 allen key to wind the screws onto the Arduino with the spacers in-between the Uno and the acrylic. The trick is to drop all the screws into the spacers first, then screw each one down. You'll figure it out.

Peel off the adhesive backing on the breadboard and place it onto the alignment outlines.

You are done!

One option you can add is adhesive rubber feet to the bottom of the stand, if you want to give it a little more standoff or prevent table-scuffing.

I hope this was helpful!

Scott Kildall

For more on electronics and other projects, you can find me here:@kildall or www.kildall.com/blog

About This Instructable

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Bio: Scott Kildall is an new media artist and researcher. He works at Autodesk, Pier 9 and is an artist-in-residence with the SETI Institute
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