Make Your Own Arduino Header Pins

There are two kinds of people in the world (and, no, this isn’t a binary joke). People who love the Arduino, and people who hate it. If you’ve ever tried to use a standard prototype board to mount on an Arduino, you’ll know what kind of person you are. When you notice the pins aren’t on 0.1 inch centers, you might think, “What the heck were those idiots thinking!” Or, you might say, “How clever! This way the connectors are keyed to prevent mistakes.” From your choice of statement, we can deduce your feelings on the subject.

[Rssalnero] clearly said something different. We weren’t there, but we suspect it was: “Gee. I should 3D print a jig to bend headers to fit.” Actually, he apparently tried to do it by hand (we’ve tried it, too). The results are not usually very good.

He created two simple 3D printed jigs that let you bend an 8-pin header. The first jig bends the correct offset and the second helps you straighten out the ends again. You can see the result in the picture above.

[Rssalnero] notes that the second jig needed reinforcement, so it is made to take 8 pins to use as fulcrums. Probably doesn’t hurt to print the jigs fairly solid and using harder plastic like ABS or PETG, too. Even if you don’t have a 3D printer, this is about a 15 or 30 minute print on any sort of reasonable printer, so make a friend. Worst case, you could have one of the 3D printing vendors make it for you, or buy local.

We love little tool hacks like this. If you are too lazy to snap 8 pins off a 40 pin strip, maybe you’d like some help. If you’d rather go with a custom PC board, you might start here.

61 thoughts on “Make Your Own Arduino Header Pins

    1. Or it might have been to decrease the probability of hooking in a shield “wrong” i.e. off-set by a pin or two.
      I know this could have been done in other, smarter ways. But while annoying when making shields from vero-board, the offset has saved me from hooking in a shield wrong at least once.

      1. If you read the history on Arduino you’ll see that it was simply a mistake.

        There is a third type of person those who neither love or hate Arduino but see it as just another hammer.

        1. I tried using an Arduino as a hammer, it just broke to pieces.

          Then I realized my hammer was being used as a drill, so I swapped it out with the crowbar I was using as a toilet bowl lever that I swapped out with the screw driver I was using as a key for the truck that I swapped out with the plunger I was using as a lamp post that I swapped out… eh… you get the idea.

  1. There are not two kinds of people, even in this case. You’ve forgotten at least two other groups: those who have never heard of arduino, and those who don’t care. I know it’s supposed to be funny, but the older I get, the more tired I am of being compartmentalized.

    1. Hello Random Comment, I think I agree. I really do not like the arduino for how it is used and therefore do not like the arduino itself. For example, the idiots that use an arduino to blink an LED or do something else that could easily be done using a 555. Or people creating all kinds of crappy code and posting that on the internet creating confusion for learning electronic enthausiasts. Sure these problems do exist on all platform but the arduino is such a hype that it’s effect spreads like oil on water.
      While it on one hand ignites the interest in electronics it makes completes noobs (who never heard of colorcodes on resistors) think that they understand electronics just because they made something (using copy and paste from the internet). But when I think more about it, I guess I’m just jealous that this (and the internet) did not exist 30 years ago and that I needed to learn the hard way. So I chose to ignore the arduino for many years and thought of anyone using it as idiots who didn’t now anything about electronics, people who could not solder a microcontroller to a PCB of their own. I often referred to the arduino as “i-don’t-know”. But then… out of the blue, came the ESP8266 (more about that later). And I realized that (for me) it what it all comes down some sort of envy.

      Although the arduino development environment is far from a serious tool it is very usable especially for noobs who never programmed anything, which is great! I personally use the arduino IDE in combination with the ESP8266, which I otherwise could not program as friendly as I do now. The huge amounts of examples (some completely wrong/outdated or confusing) and libraries are a result of the arduino and its community. So therefore I have to admit I am a user of the arduino heritage and therefore cannot deny it’s existence AND impact/importance.

      And despite all it’s pro and cons the arduino is (I think) currently the most successful way to boost the interest of young people for electronics. I guess that Arduino renewed the general publics interest in electronics and it really could use a revival. The last 2 decades electronic-parts related shops were closing everywhere but now internet shops showing arduino based building blocks are popping up everywhere on the internet. And the choice of sensors and parts has increased and its costs have substantially lowered to a level that they are accessible to (everyone). And that my friend is good for all of us and the future of electronics.

      1. Oh my god, you’re wasting a 555 timer on a blinking led, something easily accomplished with a couple resistors and capacitors. Hold on, I’ll lend you the spares off my breadboard built arduino clone led flasher.

          1. Place LED outside. During day, LED will be lit. During night, LED will not be lit. Move closer to or further from equator to adjust timing as desired. No extra parts are required, and it’s solar powered!

      2. It starts with blinking an LED, then playing with varying the frequency, then sequencing multiple LEDs. Sure, simple blinking can be done on the cheap rather simply. The confines of a 555 can be quickly outgrown.

        Look, if someone thinks they’re a genius after they’ve copied/pasted code to an Arduino for simple blinking, you’ve got a point. However, if some uses an Arduino so they’re not limited… well, that’s just being sensible.

    2. [RandomComment]: I think your two additional groups completely characterize the set of all people. So you have now succeeded in expanding the groupings such that it is now possible to put you into a group no matter how you feel about a) Arduinos, or b) being compartmentalized.

      1. Not at all. We’ve also left out the following:

        Those who know it’s just a tool.
        Those who think it’s an SBC and wonder why you’re not just using a RPi.
        Those who have a mild curiosity, and haven’t learned enough to form an opinion.
        Those who find it useful, but are also looking forward to learning about more powerful tools.
        Those who use it because it has become popular.
        Those who want to develop an idea without having to delve into the details of a programming language.
        Those who aren’t aware of alternative platforms.
        Those who are handed one to use in a class assignment and have no choice to use something else.

        I could go on, but I think my point is made.

    3. There are two kinds of people, those who are aware that any division into two categories requires a hidden third entity that defines the distinction between categories – and those who are not.

      > To understand what he was trying to do it’s necessary to see that part of the landscape, inseparable from it, which must be understood, is a figure in the middle of it, sorting sand into piles. To see the landscape without seeing this figure is not to see the landscape at all. To reject that part of the Buddha that attends to the analysis of motorcycles is to miss the Buddha entirely.

    4. Thanks. I’m part of the group that knows about it, but just does not care at all about anything arduino-related, even if some of my 3D printers seem to have it’s guts made from Arduino-related hardware and firmware.
      The view of a lot of people is Black and White enough. Let’s just agree that there are at least 254 shades of gray in between.

  2. So what you are saying is there are two kinds of people: Those who don’t want to be compartmentalized and those who don’t get bent out of shape over a casual comment in a blog. I mean seriously, Do you complain to Mars candy because you never ever feel like a nut?

    1. Not bent out of shape; I just was recognizing that even casual comments intended as a joke have an impact on people. This site is intended to teach and inform, is it not? It’s far more effective when the writing uses intelligent language, and speaking in cliche and stereotype do nothing but detract from that. I think Al actually didn’t do a bad job at all on this article. But strike those first two sentences, and notice how *absolutely nothing* is lost from the article. My comment was to illustrate that, in my opinion, not only is nothing lost by dropping them, but *absolutely nothing* is gained by leaving them, and perhaps even something is lost with those kinds of statements.

      1. You are so right! Why just today a man came on the TV and said that if I wasn’t using his product I was throwing away my money. The nerve! I have never thrown away my money. What business does he have telling everyone that I’m doing something I’m not!

        We are sure lucky to have people like you coming out against this kind of madness. I’m sure you’ve written many more books than Williams. But I would not want to categorize you as an author because uh you know. And I’m sure you would have written a lot more blog posts if you didn’t want to be lumped in with those dirty bloggers. Who could blame you what with their attempts to be interesting and entertaining. We sure don’t need that.

        The shame Hackaday! The shame! Next thing you know they’ll be ingaging in puns and innuendo.

  3. Born crippled at birth… many prosthetics were designed… by many… to compensate. This was and still is the best for this instance. I offer that he-she-you-and I likely all came up with it at one time or another, (and that there are MANY OTHER such tiny things that save tons of $$$. It’s a trademark of the flexible mind that electronics work forces you to rise to, albeit just ONE example. So friggin post, eh!). My kudos to this Author as the first to post it here. Saved the cumulative readers perhaps thousand$.

    1. Arduino Nano (clones) for me. Because sometimes I WANT an 8-bit micro. But in real life, I’ve only bought one Arduino-based board, which I only use for experiments, and as a programmer for other microcontroller-based hardware. Even when building a project on perfboard, there are so few components actually needed to support an Atmel AVR microcontroller, it’s pointless to have it on a separate board.

      But seriously: why is the original Arduino form factor still so poplular? Is it because it’s so BIG, this gives the daughter board makers lots of room? (I refuse to call daughter boards by any of the new cute names.) Because if that’s the case, you can just make your daughter boards any size you want rather than limiting yourself to the mother board outline.

  4. There is really no reason for using the “large” Arduino boards for anything but a paperweight, when you have much smaller, more reasonably designed, and cheaper ATmega boards, such as Pro Mini, Pro Micro, etc.

    1. According to that post, they chose to send it to fab broken rather than accept a 1-week delay. As somebody somewhere else pointed out, a product that’s late is only late until it ships. A product that’s wrong is wrong forever. This error is over ten years old now, and people are still having to deal with it.

  5. “The offset is not really an issue as long as you use an arduino, i recently bought a lcd shield and only realized its not breadboard conpatible after it arrived”
    There’s a Kackstarter sure fire winner right there… Arduino compatible breadboard…

  6. meh, I just had my CNC cut a board to correct for the offset, allow for some simple components to be installed and get me into either a phoenix or terminal strip size for ease of use. I’ve done a couple, and they work fairly well. Did have trouble when I tried to extend bus wiring for a LCD using this method. I’m sure if I bothered to put the time into analyzing why I could fix it, but I just redesigned the form factor for the enclosure and problem fixed.

    But never hurts to have another method for pin bending in the old toolbox.

  7. If you think the offset is a good thing because it only allows the shield to go on one way… Have you never worked on a computer before?

    If you need to key the connector just leave a standard width gap on the male side some place that is not exactly in the middle. Then on the female side no gap. But.. where the gap goes either have a specially manufactured socket where that hole is filled (too custom, probably expensive) or.. just stick a little plastic shim in the hole. Now, if you try to install the shield backwards the shim gets in the way.

    This was common practice on floppy and pata cables. It was also common on the analog cables that connected CD-ROM drives to soundcards. It’s super simple and it doesn’t make things any harder to breadboard!

    See the white thing in this cable? Not that hard is it?

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