Frame wood (A): 4' of 1x4 (nominal dimensions) or similar sized board, or double that length of 3/4” x 1 5/8” stock
Eight wood screws (B): #8, 1 ¼” long
Three 8x32 dot matrix LED displays from Sure Electronics (C). $12.90 ea. http://www.sureelectronics.net/goods.php?id=1118
DC power jack to match your adapter (E). Here is a standard 2.1mm one from Sparkfun for $1.25 http://www.sparkfun.com/products/119
SPDT (on-off-on) power switch (D). Digikey part#: 450-1527-ND
PS/2 port from an old computer motherboard (F) (ask a local computer shop and they will likely give you a defunct motherboard for free).
A 21” x 4” piece of 1/8” or 1/4” Lexan or Plexiglass (G) (try your local auto glass shop). I used this to make a clear back for the frame, so that you could still see the stuff going on inside. Wood paneling or plastic would work too.
2 AA battery holder (I) http://www.sparkfun.com/products/551
4 AA battery holder in a long, flat configuration (H) http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9547
A few feet of 22 AWG stranded wire (J).
Flexible breadboard jumpers (K). $6.00 at Solarbotics: http://www.solarbotics.com/products/21035/
You can use solid 22 AWG wire for this, but purpose-built breadboard jumpers are more flexible and much easier to use – well worth the expense.
Electrical tape or heat shrink tubing (L).
Mini self-adhesive breadboard (M): $3.95 at Sparkfun: http://www.sparkfun.com/products/8802
or $4.00 at MakerShed: http://www.makershed.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=MKKN1
Ardweeny microcontroller (N), from MakerShed ($9.95) http://www.makershed.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=MKSB012
or Solarbotics ($9.99) http://www.solarbotics.com/products/kardw/
The Ardweeny is an Arduino-compatible microcontroller with a tiny footprint -- just the size of the Atmega chip itself. This (and its equally diminutive cost) make it a great choice for breadboard-based projects that need to fit into small places. Unlike the Arduino, Ardweenies requires an external USB/serial programming adapter. They're pretty cheap too though: $15 from MakerShed ( http://www.makershed.com/FTDI_Friend_v1_0_p/mkad22.htm
) or Sparkfun ( http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9716
5v regulator (O). 7805 series regulators are cheap and plentiful ($0.29 from MakerShed: http://www.makershed.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=JM51263
) but a low dropout model like the lm2937 will give you more run time on batteries, especially if you're using lower-voltage NiMH AAs ($1.50 at Solarbotics: http://www.solarbotics.com/products/lm2937/
0.1 μF (104) ceramic capacitor (P)
10 μF electrolytic capacitor (Q)
Six small pan head screws (R) (for holding on the back cover)
9 – 12v AC/DC adaptor (S). The best place I've found to get adaptors is a Salvation Army thrift store. They usually have a large selection for about $1 a piece. If you haven't got a thrift store handy, there's one for $5.95 at Sparkfun (http://www.sparkfun.com/products/298
) or $6.50 at MakerShed (http://www.makershed.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=MKSF3
Standard PS/2 computer keyboard (T), or USB keyboard with PS/2 adapter.
For reduced hassle and time input, a kit containing the collected materials to build this project can be purchased at the Maker Shed Store: http://www.makershed.com/PS_2_You_Parts_Kit_p/msps2u.htm
Hand saw or chop saw
Table saw (optional)
Drill and bits
Soldering iron and solder
Pliers and cutters
FTDI serial programmer (available from sparkfun for $14.95 -- http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9716