Breadboarding Console Has The Power

It is hard to remember how expensive an electronic hobby used to be. It wasn’t long ago, for example, that a solderless breadboard was reasonably expensive and was likely to have some sort of baseboard. The nicer ones even had a power supply or some simple test instruments. While you can still buy that sort of thing today, the low cost of bare breadboards have made them much more common. [Sebastian] decided to use his 3D printer to give those cheap breadboards a nice home.

The design looks great, and frankly isn’t much of a technical triumph, but it is useful and clean looking. The build uses some banana jacks, a switch, an LED, a 9V battery, and a common small power supply module. Of course, you also need a few breadboards.

The 9V battery fits snug inside, although we might have added an optional AC adapter jack. [Sebastian] left a lot of space inside, so we thought about how feasible it would be to make a mating storage box that would fit underneath and keep parts away from the electronics.

There are actually a lot of quick mods you could do on this design. A cheap meter module would let you measure the current draw, for example. You could put a few pots in that blank spot, also. We might add a mating dock to the top so you could plug in option boards that had, for example, an Arduino, an ESP8266, or a Raspberry Pi for different projects.

We always keep a stock of 5V LEDs to reduce the number of parts we need on the breadboard, but you could make your own if you prefer. If you don’t mount pots in the enclosure, this little board is handy enough.

18 thoughts on “Breadboarding Console Has The Power

    1. PLA and ABS plastic is, well, plastic. No conductivity but tends to attract static charge.

      There is ESD safe filament but… it’s not fun to use, to put it mildly. It’s made by impregnating the plastic with a very fine powdered metal. If you ever get some to try, you’ll want to dedicate a nozzle to it because you’ll never get that stuff completely flushed out.

    2. I would think it’s no worse than the plastic on the breadboard which is probably ABS. There is conductive PLA but as someone else said it’s not fun to use and I think you’re probably okay with this. I guess you can’t rub the IC against the body of it but you probably shouldn’t be doing that with the breadboards anyway.

    3. Since I was reliably informed by this very institution, that there are some hackerspaces with mountains of superannuated and superseded 3D printers, maybe someone could commandeer one for an experiment…. give a (expendable) reel of filament a good hosing with some of that graphite lubricant spray, and see if it blends in and renders it more conductive, or whether it just sits on top and makes the print fall apart…. and if successful how long it takes to flush out the hot end etc.

      1. There’s a percolation threshold concentration, below which a conductive additive is quite ineffective at making the bulk material conductive. It takes a lot of conductive filler to cross that threshold and get macroscopic conductivity instead of microscopic conductive islands insulated from each other, and the plastic’s mechanical properties are usually severely compromised by that point. And given graphite’s tendency to resist adhesion, it’s probably the worst kind of carbon to use. You might get somewhere with short carbon fibers, though.

      2. It’s not the printers you want, it’s a filament extruder. The auger in them mixes the materials very well, so then you can go from plastic ABS pellets and add the conductive carbon at varying concentrations. I have some that was made with ABS, works great, didn’t ruin my nozzle. I use them for conductive touch-off probes in a CNC. It’s just a low-current, low-voltage conductivity detection, so the ~3K ohms for the part wasn’t an issue.

        The graphite powder, however, will likely not make it into the extruder, and will instead get in the gears and cause problems…like dropping down onto the print and killing layer adhesion at those points.

    1. Local FreeCycle got ruined here by a load of choosy beggars who scream blue murder and insult people if anything offered isn’t brand new and pristine. A decade back it was awesome to find cool old kit that people didn’t know what else to do with. I was into it to grab the odd thing I might need to keep it out of a landfill and not waste energy and resources on a new one, I wouldn’t give a crap if it needed wiped off or had a missing knob or something. I think a lot of people were “coming from there” when it started. Then it got swamped by a load of people begging stuff for resale and bullying posters to get every other thing posted, and people who felt they had a right to demand perfect stuff.

      1. I used to love Freecycle. Then I moved and I didn’t get around to joining the local group for a couple of years. I don’t know if there was a change in all of Freecycle during that time or if it’s just the local admins in my new city but they are a bunch of jerks. The Freecycle I remembered was all about re-use and making it as easy as possible to save resources from the landfill. Now or here they make it so much work that it is easier to just drive things to the local thrift store. If it’s not worth that effort then I guess it just goes out the trash.

        Before, if you wanted set up an appointment and meet people in person to give them your stuff that was an option. But you didn’t have to. In my old Freecycle group it was just as common to simply announce that you were leaving an item on your porch or by the curb and that it was free for the first person to take it. Courtesy of course dictated that as soon as you notice it’s gone you post such so that people stop wasting the trip.

        There were even people posting that they noticed items in trash piles so people could rescue them before the garbage truck arrives.

        I tried to give away an item this way on the Freecycle list of my new home city. My message was blocked and an admin threatened to remove me for giving away something that isn’t mine. I didn’t say it wasn’t mine, I said it was by the curb. It was the curb in front of my house and I put it there!

        This was after I had already received friction from other posts for not following some specific format or including exact hours I would be home or some nonsense like that. It was the last straw for me. I can drop my unwanted stuff off at the nearest thrift store or give it away on Craigslist much easier.

  1. Cheapo foam glue backs solderless proto boards are intended to be used on a flat surface. Edge only supports not a great idea. Conductor strips will eventually push out with use and heat. The bigger the gauge of wire the more so.
    Angled work plane not as useful as would be assumed.
    Proto board push in linear regulator supplies like shown tend to have insufficient copper plane for proper heat dissipation. Expect overheating and related issues when attempting to use anywhere near regulators max datasheet amperage.
    9VDC 2A or better wall wart far better than a 9V transistor radio battery. Use the barrel connector. I do like battery mount for portable projects.
    Label bananna females damnit. Wire Screw downs probably more useful there.

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