In order to test the input panel, I had to connect the 14 lines to the test setup on a breadboard. Just using a pin header was too flimsy for me, because I often reuse these test connectors on different breadboards. In this short article, I explain how I made it into a solid connector.
- 14-pin header
- Ribbon cable
- 5 Minute epoxy (+colour)
- Two 3D-printed enclosure parts
Step 1: Start Printing the Enclosure Parts
Start printing the enclosure parts first so you can solder the header while the printer is running.
Have a look at my really simple design. You can download the Fusion360 and the two STL files here:
It is a parametric design, but sadly Fusion360 fails to update a sketch if you change the pin count. So if you require a different pin count, you need to recreate the second part after changing the parameter.
Step 2: Solder the Wires to the Header
Now solder the wires of the ribbon cable to the header. These solder joints aren’t pretty and it is difficult to solder these thin wires to the large pins.
Step 3: Insert the Header into the Enclosure
The prints should be done at this point. So inset the header into the part. It should fit perfectly into the enclosure and holds all the pins in place.
I had to adjust the pins to make sure they have the same length. This is exactly the problem I usually have by just using a header as a connector. The pins tend to slide out of the housing material.
Step 4: Fill the Part with Epoxy
Next, fill the enclosure using 5 minute epoxy to glue the header to the printed part.
I added black colour to the epoxy and tilted the enclosure by 45º to avoid spilling.
Step 5: Glue the Lid on the Enclosure
Now, use some more of the 5 minute epoxy to glue the lid on the enclosure.
It’s a solid connector now, which can easily be inserted and removed from the breadboard. Also, you can glue a label on top of the connector as a quick reference to the different lines.
Creating a connector like this doesn’t take much time. If you start the print of the enclosure parts before you start soldering, the connector is ready in half an hour. Depending on the epoxy you use, it will take a few minutes longer to be fully usable.
If you have any questions, missed information, or simply want to provide feedback, feel free to comment below or contact me on Twitter. 😄