Solderless Breadboards are really nice to quickly prototype a circuit, they are inexpensive and can be used almost indefinitely. I gave some thought as to what I could do to improve on the basic breadboard and this is what I came up with.
My design requirements were as follows
1) small foot print
2) heavy enough to keep it from moving around while in use
3) Capable of handling 2 16 pin IC's and support components
4) Single built in power supply
5) Additional storage space for jumper wires
6) less than $10 dollars to build
7) Catchy product name ( Extra points for Cool Acronym )
Submitted for your approval is the Altoids Pocket Super Solderless Breadboard Junior
Step 1: BOM (Bill of Materials)
The Bill of Materials and assorted links to them. Just a note I've chosen Radio Shack P/N's not because they great but more because they are handy. If you do a little searching you'll find better pricing and quality on the Internet or maybe even in your own stash. (Which is all the better!)
1) Altoids tin
2) 4 AA battery holder (Radio Shack AA Holder)
3) Solderless Breadboard (Radio Shack Breadboard)
4) (Optional) Single Pole Single Throw SPST Switch)
5) (Maybe) Double Sided Sticky tape or Servo Tape (see my other instructable if you haven't used Servo Tape)
Please forgive the unnecessary picture I thought something should be there
Step 2: Drill Some Holes
Lets drill some holes!
Depending on whether you add the SPST switch you might need to drill 2 or 3 .250" holes. 2 holes for the supply wires and one hole for the switch.
My breadboard was purchased from Electronics Goldmine a couple of years ago, the model number is WB-100 and it has 4 mounting holes which I used to run the power supply wires thru. The down side to this breadboard is it only has 270 holes, however it did come with doublesided sticky tape attached so depending on how your breadboard is layed out, you may have to make adjustments when drilling the holes.
I use this method whenever I put holes in Altoid tins
First measure the location and mark using a combination square and sharpie
Next cut a small piece of wood that will fit inside the tin to provide support while drilling
Now with the wood supporting the tin, take an automatic punch (the tool in my hand) and locate the mark and push, a spring in the punch puts a nice dent in the location to drill. Without this step the drill may wander
Taking the tin and the wood support over to the drill press (or hand drill) chuck up the best drill bit ever made for weird materials that you want to put a round hole in. There is no other drill bit I've ever used that makes round holes. If you don't have a UNI-BIT in your tool box go get one they are great!
Get one of these
If you used a regular drill bit you'll have a little more cleaning up to do but the most important part is to make sure you have no sharp edges to abrade the wire.
Once you've done that your ready to move on to the next step
Step 3: Wire It Up
I chose to use 4 AA batteries in my breadboard, depending on your needs, you could choose a 9 volt battery or even a couple of CR123 batteries. With a 9 volt battery you'll have room to add a regulator circuit. My logic with the AA batteries had more to do with the fact, I've got a ton of rechargeable AA batteries so I won't be spending too much time looking for them or money when it comes time to replace them. And as a side benefit, 4 rechargeable batteries make approximately 5 volts and Alkaline batteries about 6 volts so I have an option.
Lets get on to putting this together. The battery box I used (Same as in the previous link) came with 6 inches of wire attached. We'll use that extra wire to connect the positive lead (Red) to the switch and then to the positive bus. On the negative side it will just connect the negative lead (Black) directly to the to the negative bus on the breadboard.
That's all there is to it wiring it up
Step 4: Finishing Up
If you haven't installed the switch (If you have chosen to use it) do so now. Mark the box with a sharpie or a lettering machine for on / off.
Next if you've chosen the same battery box you'll note it is really close to the same size as the Altoids tin. Slip the side with the leads into the box and apply pressure on the opposite side, you'll distort the box slightly but it should go in, On my box the battery contacts were recessed so there was little chance of shorting out the wires.
Now put your batteries in and close your box, you're ready to enjoy your Altoids Pocket Super Solderless Breadboard Junior.
Thanks for checking out my second instructable.