Cheap Custom Arduino Shield


Introduction: Cheap Custom Arduino Shield

About: I'm a grad student at the Center for Bits and Atoms at MIT Media Lab. Before that I worked at Instructables, writing code for the website and iOS apps and making stuff in our shop. I post new stuff on twit...

Creating an arduino shield from a piece of copper plated protoboard is easy and saves you about 15 bucks.  The end product will snap directly to the arduino board, creating a reliable electrical connection between your circuit and the arduino pins.

As shown in the images above, solder header pins to the protoboard so that the arduino fits nicely onto the board.  Unfortunately, the spacing between digital pins 7 and 8 on the arduino is not the same standard 2.54mm as the protoboard, this means you may have to use longer header pins and bend them into the correct position if you want to get a good fit with these pins (fig 4).  I usually getting around this problem by designing projects that do not use pins 8-13 if possible.

As shown in the last two images, other components can be soldered to the protoboard and connected directly to the header pins.

protoboard with copper Radioshack 276-147
male header pins Jameco 103393
extra long male header pins Digikey 929834E-04-36-ND



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    If the etched side of the perfboard is facing up, how do you add components to the shield?

    4 replies

    yeah, you have to add them to the same side as the arduino, if you look at some of the pics you can see where I added components. I usually get a big piece of perfboard so I have a lot of extra room.

    How are you bending the header pins. When I try, the plastic around the pin breaks.

    I got some extra long header pins and bent them with some needle nosed pliers so that they looked like fig 4. The link for the part is listed above.

    I tried the same, thats when the plastic broke.I got my part off a chinese company on ebay. Maybe thats the reason.

    Nice instructable btw.