Introduction: Portable Arduino Project Valise

About: "Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it."

I spend an inordinate amount of time for any of my projects searching for tools scattered throughout the house that I never put away after the last dozen projects were done. This project aims to reduce that time when it comes to enjoying one of my hobbies.

For this project I used:
1 Metal Suitcase/Tool case
2 breadboards
1 Plastic sheet (approximately 1-1/2' x 1-1/2')
3 Plano Plastic Lure Cases
1 Arduino
1 Sheet of Antistatic foam (gleaned from an old piece of electronics)
Several strips of double back foam tape.

I had all these items on hand and spent nothing on this project. The plastic sheet was cut from a larger sheet and has been cluttering the garage for years. I already owned the Arduino.

Step 1: The Inspiration

I bought this Heathkit "Digital Design Experimenter ET 3200" at a yard sale and it was the inspiration for this project. It would be nice to eventually incorporate the on-board 12V/5V power supply as well as one or two more of these breadboard connections in my own project enclosure.

Step 2: Finding a Suitable Enclosure

I had a metal project case laying around from when I was in school. I purchased a piece of plastic from a local plastics supply house, cut it on my table saw to fit snugly inside the metal case, then using a large bit drilled a hole on one side of the plastic big enough for one of my fingers to fit in. This hole is how I extract the plastic sheet from the case.

Step 3: Breadboard Disassembly

I had a couple of these breadboards laying around, and they never seemed to be in the same place at the same time. My projects were always crammed onto one board.

I unscrewed the screws under the aluminum sheet and liberated the actual breadboard strips.

Step 4: Find the Right Fishing Lure Cases to Fit Within the Project Enclosure

Find some cases that fit nicely in the the main project case. They can't be too tall because the 1/4" plastic sheet I cut earlier needs to sit on these cases. 

Step 5: Check Gap/clearance

Test fit the plastic sheet.

Step 6: Put It All Together

The breadboards all had this peel and stick foam on the back. The protective cover had never been removed so I can reuse the foam once I figure out optimal positioning.

In retrospect I should have used a sheet of 1/8" or 1/16" 6061Aluminum. It does not flex and gives a shield mounted on the Arduino a little more headroom when the case is closed. 

This project is not 100% complete. I will be adding power supplies to the boards as well as some other accouterments. I have several other cases with soldering irons, helping hands etc. I'm going to need to mark them on the outside for easy identification.

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