Arduino notebook cover makes it easy to tinker anywhere


[Erv] was putting his holiday shopping list together and decided that instead of buying his friends something from the store, he would give them something a bit more useful. A former Electrical Engineer by trade, [Erv] typically prefers PIC microcontrollers, but he says that Arduinos are just so convenient to use for prototyping that he likes to always have one on hand.

He figured that his friends might enjoy having easy access to an Arduino as well, so he made them some slick ZapBook covers which enable them to have a prototyping platform on hand at all times. The cover is made from a PCB and includes a socket for an Arduino Pro Mini, along with a handful of built-in LEDs. He has extended a few other I/O pins from the Arduino as well, but he says that the small solder bridges connecting the LEDs can be removed in a pinch, freeing up 8 additional pins with ease. We are pretty keen on the idea of an easily portable prototyping setup, though it doesn’t hurt that [Erv] incorporated a Hack a Day skull with light up eyes into his design either!

We’re not sure if he’s planning on releasing the schematics for the board, but the notebooks would be pretty useful for any hackerspaces hosting beginner Arduino programming classes.


  1. holy moly, this is awesome! you could make a great arduino pro mini ‘prototyping shield’ notebook this way, with all the components needed for an arduino workshop embedded on the board

  2. gman says:

    it would be cool to see this with, instead of pages, multiple differrent breakout boards and shields.

  3. towely says:

    You’re a towel

  4. zigzagjoe says:

    This is actually a neat idea. Kinda like the defcon badges on a larger scale.

  5. Tim says:

    Wow what a cool idea.. This could actually be a book about arduinos and the like, with pcb “pages” to go with each chapter..

  6. Steve-O-Rama says:

    What a brilliant, non-homophobic comment. Grow up.

  7. Steve-O-Rama says:

    Great work, especially for a custom, one-off type of product. I wish I’d had the time & talent to come up with this type (and level) of gift. Sadly, I don’t think any of my friends or family would truly be able to enjoy it. I need new friends…. ;___;

    [Erv] typically prefers PIC microcontrollers, but he says that Arduinos are just so convenient to use for prototyping that he likes to always have one on hand.

    Mwahaha, another one falls to the Dark Side! j/k I think Erv nailed it with that comment: convenient to use for prototyping. Even though many of us find the Arduino platform annoying, aggravating, limited, etc., it is still damn convenient for quick & dirty operations.

  8. Alex Rossie says:

    mhmmmm, it’s cool, but just doesn’t do it for me for some reason… Maybe it’d be better if it were a PIC. What’s missing here? IDK.

    Wouldn’t it be cool if you could program it on the go?

  9. Totally cool idea! A+++ on the creativity. This needs less logos and more prototyping area. And the PCB is so large it would cost quite a bit unfortunately to produce, or to even make your own.

  10. Hack The World? No no no… more like “Hack The Planet!”

  11. Aeros says:

    Amen Steve-O-Rama. This is a kewl idea.

    Alex If this doesn’t do it for you then come up with something that expand on your idea.

  12. dhon says:

    suggestion for v2: standard arduino expansion headers that disappear into holes in the notebook pages when you close the book

  13. Malikaii says:

    Damn genius! I especially like the inclusion of both the HaD logo, and the SparkFun flame.

    I also definitely agree that this would make a great cover for a book about beginning with Arduinos, or microcontrollers in general. It could be a series, each with a different, more advanced cover, until the last one is an SMD uC solder pad, with SMD solder pads all over it, fully customizable.

    “That’s a million-dollar idea right there!”

  14. Susi says:

    Argh it is so cool. My nerdy heart need it.

  15. Erv' says:

    thanks guys. I passed the idea to sparkfun as I would love to see an official SFE arduino notebook, but I didn’t get any reply. I’m sure this idea has some potential, especially with shields. It could really be the grownup kid version of the secret agent note book (shields / accessories with magnets a carbon rubber connections stored elsewhere, like in the 3th cover !)

  16. andyh says:

    … only addition I can think of is a built in LiPo battery (with USB charger socket of course), plug your notepad in to your err… notepad and charge it up for hours (or possibly minutes depending in the LiPo and the application) of standalone fun.

  17. Brian Tkatch says:

    So that’s how Penny did it!

  18. F4r4d4y.dc414 says:

    Er…whats a “zapbook”? Googling confused me.

    Oh, found it. Seller’s site blocked from work lol
    “This was another delightful find, Zap Book from Clairefontaine, a French stationary brand. If you’re looking to hand-write your own book, make a mini scrapbook, have too many random thoughts that you want to put into paper, etc. then this is the notebook for you.”

  19. Tom the Brat says:

    Love it!

    I don’t think I have a scrap of copperclad that big.

  20. Halit says:

    Very good design.

  21. lpxav says:

    Nice work!!!! Would be interesting as a great starter kit !

    Maybe it will be easier with a prototyping shield
    Nice idea I will do one and post it !!!

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