Thursday, 20 October 2016

Making a custom breadboard for the Wemos D1 Mini.

The Wemos D1 mini is a great development board for the ESP8266 Wifi microcontroller. (For more details, see my post IoT for Absolute Beginners). The main drawback of the D1 Mini over other development boards is that it comes with the pins separate and you must solder them in yourself.

Once you've done this you will need a breadboard on which to mount your module. The D1 Mini is relatively wide, and only leaves
one column usable on the common 5-column breadboards. A better solution is to use two separate breadboards spaced
the correct distance apart.

You can do this with the small breadboards designed to mount on a lego-like base-board.
(But note, this board while it resembles Lego has a smaller bump pitch, and does not work with Lego bricks).

You can find links to a supplier of the parts on this post.


Breadboard sled for WeMos D1 mini

Breadboard sled for WeMos D1 mini

I have designed and made this custom baseboard on a CNC mill. You will need two of the 5x11 breadboards, and this gives you four usable columns instead of one.

I made my sled by milling the outline with a 2mm endmill, drilling the locating holes with a 4mm drill, and drilling the corner fixing holes with a 3mm drill.
The G-code and OpenSCAD files are here.

If you use my G-code, you will need to start out with a 2mm endmill, then change to a 4mm drill then a 3mm drill at the tool change points.

If you use the OpenSCAD file, you can import it into your CNC software and cut the whole board with one tool.

Breadboard sled in OpenSCAD

If you don't have a CNC mill, you can simply use a saw and drill press or hand drill:

  1. Cut a piece of board 60mm x 40mm. I used white acrylic.
  2. Drill 4mm dia holes spaced 10mm apart vertically, and 32.5mm apart horizontally. That is each breadboard needs two holes 10mm apart, and the pairs of holes are placed 32.5mm apart measuring center-to-center.
  3. Drill 3mm mounting holes in the corners of your board (or to suit however you want to mount it)

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