Build | Fix | Re-use

Build a Cheap and Easy No-Solder Prototyping Board

Here is a great little tutorial I found over at Makezine courtesy of Casey Shea for all you prototyping enthusiasts. Here is a quick guide on how to create a cheap and easy prototyping circuit board from a piece of wood, some screws and some springs.


Step #1: Design your board


  • Set the springs down (while not under tension) and mark where you want to attach them to the board.
  • The number of springs you use depends on the complexity of the circuits you plan to build. The most basic design has the two 2″ springs as vertical rails on the left and right sides, with two columns of the 1/2″ springs running horizontally between them with two or three springs in each column. More complicated circuits might require the addition of more rows. For younger makers and beginners, space the springs so that the legs of an LED can easily span two of them (about 3/4″ apart). Springs need to be closer together if the circuit calls for smaller components, such as transistors.


Step #2: Screw down the springs



You don’t want any of the springs touching each other, so smaller-headed screws or even finish nails are best for boards with closer spacing. Screw them down with your power drill.


Step #3: Energize



  • The board is powered using a battery with a snap connector or repurposed 5–12 volt wall wart with the tip removed and the wires stripped and tinned. Connect the positive wire to one of the 2″ vertical springs by spreading the spring with a pointed object (such as the probe of a multimeter) and inserting the wire. Connect the negative wire to the other vertical spring. Complete the circuit by connecting individual components from spring to spring, using jumper wires when needed.
  • In addition to expressing the connected circuit visually, this setup makes it much easier to practice using a multimeter at various locations. By the time students reach the limitations of the springboard, they’ll be ready to move onto a breadboard and expand their repertoire.


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