My most recent use for them was to create a "shield" like the Wingshield. I don't really want the screw terminals, so instead I wanted something that I could still use regular jumper wires for quick prototyping. I figured I could cut up some perf board and make something that would allow me to split the input and output headers.
Step 1: Parts
I trimmed 4 pieces of perf board that gave me a nice little handle on one side, but nothing on the opposite side so each header wouldn't interfere with the next one. I had to make them 4 separate pieces because the space between each bank of headers is less than the width of one pin on a standard perf board. I thought of taking a standard Arduino Protoshield and cutting the outer edges off with a Dremel, and while it would have been easier, it would have been a waste of a good Protoshield. This way, I was able to spread the additional female headers out 2 pins, where the protoshield would have had the new headers right next to the old ones.
Step 2: Cutting Headers
I already had the stacking header pins, so I just needed to make matching female headers. I snapped each piece in a row and cleaned up the ends by shaving it down more with the X-acto knife.
Step 3: Lining up the Pins
I soldered both headers in place with this method and made sure they were parallel and square.
Step 4: Soldering
I use UTP wires from old CAT5 cables for hookup wires for breadboarding. I stripped the insulation off a long piece of one UTP wire and made a bunch of little U's by wrapping it around the end of my needle-nose pliers. I then clipped each U off the wire and dropped it into the 2 holes between the female headers and the stackable headers.
I soldered each U in place, then put an excessive amount of solder to bridge the gap to the headers on either side. I used my multimeter's continuity setting to make sure I had no connection to the neighboring pins but that I did have the related headers connected.
Step 5: Finish
The finished product is exactly what I wanted it to be. I can now make connections to all of the pins even with a "top shield", like an LCD screen, that doesn't have female headers.
Overall, I like the way these came out but there are a few things I would do differently:
- Use R3 headers instead of the standard ones.
- Use 90 degree female headers instead of the standard ones.
- Use bigger pieces of perf board and wires to eliminate the blobs of solder.