Introduction: Make Your Own Breadboard

In this instructable I will show you how to make your own breadboard.

If you have read my other instructables you will probably have gathered by now that I'm a bit of a cheapskate :) The method in this instructable was something that I used a lot when I first started in electronics, it shows that very low budget needn't be a handicap.

In this instructable I am recyling some old floppy leads to create something that would be much more useful. (if I didn't already have a big breadboard)

Be forewarned that the quality of this breadboard would be not as good as a real one. these connectors are designed for accepting pins that are thicker than most component leads so there may be a little play in them when inserted, this will vary with connectors, the ones I used appeared to be fine with standard 1/4W resistors.

For this instructable you will need:
> IDC ribbon connectors (Floppy drive cables, old HD cables, SCSI cables)
> Solder (and an iron obviously)
> Glue (superglue or hotglue will work)
> Wire (Old telephone or CAT5 wire will do)
> A small flat screwdriver (for prying open the connectors and ribbon cable)
> Some kind of clamp arrangment (to hold it in place while the glue sets)

Optional:
> Cup of tea
> A good soundtrack to listen to (For this instructable I was listening to Sportfreunde Stiller)
> A small drill bit (to open up the occasional filled hole)

Note: I noticed after publishing that guinness0001 had published something similar which appears to be solderless method of doing this.
My method differs by allowing a little more flexibility in the layout design. The solderless method by guinness0001 seems to be an excellent alternative.


Step 1: Removing Ribbon Cable From Connectors (Part A)

In order to use the method I will explain, we need to remove the ribbon from the connectors.
To remove the ribbon we need to remove the restraining pieces off the back of the connectors.

Note: There are many variations of the way the restraining pieces are clipped on, the one I photographed was very easy to undo, the other wasn't so I just cut off the clips at the side.

Remove both clips from each connector and you will see the ribbon with spikes through it.

Step 2: Removing Ribbon Cable From Connectors (Part B)

This bit is a little fiddly.

You may be tempted to just pull the cable off the spikes, well if you do that you will end up pulling them out of the connector. Pulling them out doesn't damage them, but it's time consuming putting them back in one by one.

I would sugest running your screwdriver under the cable to gently pry the cable off the spikes a little at a time. It works for me.

Step 3: Preparing the Connectors

Most IDC connectors have an orientation notch sticking out the side. This will be a problem when you try and glue the connectors together.

I cut mine off with a sharp knife , then sanded down until it was flat. Don't worry about scuffing up the sides, this is actually what we need to do next.

With a piece of sand-paper, a file or your knife, scratch the heck out of the side of the connectors, this will give a good surface for the glue to adhere to.

You may notice the some holes are filled on the connector, sometimes you can pry out the thing filling it, or if its moulded in you can use a small drill bit or a push-tack.

Step 4: Soldering the Connections

Ok, a breadboard would be pretty useless if it didn't have connections made on it.

At this point you should consider what way the connections will be going on your breadboard, for examples sakes I wanted to to have single strips running up the length of each connector.
You could be more adventurous if you like and have it in pairs running up or something, its completely up to you.

I took a peice of wire and soldered it up each side of the connector making all the odd pins common and all the even pins common.

Step 5: Glueing the Connectors Together

Now for the sticky part.

lay the connectors face down so the solder is point up. then take each one in turn and add glue to the side then stick it to another, place it back on the desk facing down. This will ensure the faces are all level, mine were different sizes so this helped.
Before the glue has had a chance to firm up, allign the connectors with an even edge, use the soldered pins as a guide as some connectors are longer than others. when you are certain they are allighned then clamp them with something.

now we wait for the glue to dry :P

Once the glue is set, you have your very own custom made breadboard!

You could mount it on a board and have connector attachments and use it like a professional breadboard.

Step 6: Testing

I like to show a working example of every instructable I do, so here is the working example of the breadboard.

Its a basic 9V battery, 470R resistor and an orange LED.

When I attach the battery, it lights up. All works great :)

Thanks for reading.

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