Introduction: Acrylic Arduino Prototyping Stand

I do a lot of projects with Arduino's and breadboards.  Often as I work on a messy workbench, the Arduino or breadboard get jostled and the wires pop out of the headers or the breadboard. To solve this problem, I decided to make a simple acrylic stand for mounting an Arduino and a breadboard that would prevent them from moving around.

I used a laser cutter to cut the acrylic to size, to cut the holes for mounting the Arduino and to engrave a rectangle on the base to help align the breadboard.  Don't despair if you don't have access to a laser cutter: you could use a saw to cut the acrylic and a drill press to drill the holes.

There are two versions of the stands: one for the Arduino Duemilanove and Diecimila and one for the Arduino Uno. 

The photos show two views of an Uno stand made out of clear acrylic and a Duemilanova stand made out of blue acrylic

I made this at TechShop in Menlo Park.

Step 1: Parts

You will need the following materials for the Arduino prototyping stands:
  • One 1/4" acrylic sheet (color of your choice) at least 4.5" x 6.5" (the stand when cut out is 3.8" x 5.7")
  • Four 19mm vinyl bumpers (available at any hardware store)
  • One mini breadboard (approx 3.3" x 2.2") (Radio Shack 276-003 or Jameco #20601 or similar)
For an Arduino Diecimila or Duemilanove prototyping stand you will also need:
  • Three 1/4" #6 nylon spacers
  • One M2 x 20 machine screw
  • One M2 hex nut
  • One M2 washer
  • Two M3 x 20 machine screws (you can substitute #4-40 x 3/4" machine screws)
  • Two M3 hex nuts (or #4-40 hex nut if you use the the #4-40 screw)
  • Two M3 or M4 washers (or #4-40 washer if you use the #4-40 screw)
For an Arduino Uno prototyping stand you will also need:
  • Three or four 1/4" #6 nylon spacers
  • Three or four M3 x 20 machine screws (you can substitute #4-40 x 3/4" machine screws)
  • Three or four M3 hex nuts (or #4-40 hex nut if you use the the #4-40 screw)
  • Three or four M3 or M4 washers (or #4-40 washer if you use the #4-40 screw)
One of the holes on the Uno circuit board is very close to a connector.  Depending on the size of the machine screw head you use, you may not be able to use the fourth hole to mount the board.  Don't worry if that's the case, the Uno is securely held with only three screws.

Step 2: Cut Out the Stand

If you are using a laser cutter, you can use the attached CorelDraw files to cut the acrylic to the precise dimensions, cut out the holes for the machine screws and engrave the guide lines for mounting the breadboard.  The cut pieces with the protective paper left on will look the first and second photos.  The third photo shows the paper removed.  The first is for an Arduino Uno and the second and third are for an Arduino Diecimila or Duemilanove.

I used a 45 watt Epilog Helix laser cutter and used the following settings for the laser.  You may need to use different settings depending on what model laser cutter you use.
  • 1/4" acrylic:
    • Raster: Speed 50, Power 80
    • Vector: Speed 6, Power 90, Frequency 5000
If you don't have a laser cutter, you can print out the CorelDraw files and use them as a template for cutting and drilling the acrylic.

Step 3: Assemble the Stand

The stands are very easy to assemble. 
  1. Assemble each of the machine screws as shown in the first diagram.  For Arduino Duemilanove's and Diecimila's use the M2 screw for the smaller hole.  Don't over tighten the screws. 
  2. Remove the self adhesive from the back of the mini breadboard and use the engraved lines as a guide to adhere to the acrylic stand.  If your breadboard doesn't have self adhesive on the back you can use double faced tape to mount it. Using the engraved lines will ensure you get the board on straight.
  3. Turn the stand over and stick the vinyl bumpers on the back as shown in the second and third photos.  If you use clear acrylic, like I did for the Uno, make sure to place the bumpers under the Arduino circuit board and under where the breadboard goes so you don't see the bumpers from the top of the stand.
The finished stands are shown in the fourth through ninth photos.

Voila! You now have a sturdy prototyping stand for your Arduino projects.
Go forth and make cool stuff!
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