Arduino 'Rapid Development' Panel.

Hello All, I am rather new to Arduino (and this forum) but not necessarily new to electronics. Anyway, enough about me, I had an idea for a Rapid Development Platform. I came up with this idea when a Danger-shield and Lexan Mounting platform I ordered from Ada arrived. I like aspects of both and thought about expanding both.

Basically this would be a sheet of lexan with an Arduino UNO mounted on it. This sheet of lexan would also include a raised panel/enclosure mounted to it within which would have mounted a large variety of switches, buttons, lights, sensors, etc. This is not a shield, so all Arduino headers would be available for use (or for other shield). All panel items would be ran out to easy-to-access female headers. Also on the sheet of lexan would be a large array of breadboards for adding more to the circuit. I also envision a row of screw terminals ran to header pins in case you wanted to tie in to the outside world for something. The idea behind all this is, if you are just trying to work out something quick in code and you need a switch, or a pot or whatever, you would have quick and easy access to add one in to your circuit without running around trying to find hardware. Another use for this would be for people new to Arduino (such as myself) to have a wide variety of components to jump right in and start playing with, not unlike the old '200 in 1 electronics kits' I had as a kid from Radio Shack

So far off the top of my head, the items I am thinking of putting on the panel would be as follows...

Inputs: 1x Rotary Encoder 1x Positional Enc 3x Pot (10k) 3x Slider Pot (10k) 3x Toggle Switches* 6x Push-button Switches* 1x Rotary Switch* 2x Analog Sticks 1x LDR

Outputs: 3x RGB LED* 4x 7 Segment Displays* 1x Piezo Row of Screw Terminals

*All switches and LED's would have appropriate pull-up/limiting resistors

Other: Array of Breadboards (thinking 4-6 Full Size boards) Row of Screw Terminals

So my questions to the community are as follows... A) Is this project worth doing or has someone else developed something that fits this need, if so, where can I buy one and/or get the plans?

B) Any feedback on the components on the panel (add, delete, change, etc)

C) for the 7-Segment displays should I build in 74595 Shift registers? or leave it basic

I want this to be as full featured as possible, so I am not looking for a 'thin and light' panel.

Source/Inspiration Adafruit Mounting Plate: [Link to Adafruits Plastic Mounting Plate would go here]

Danger Shield: [Link to Sparkfun's Danger Shield would go Here]

Sorry, I can not include active hyperlinks since I am a new user. I promise, these references are in good faith for reference only and are not spam. I have no affiliations with Ada or Sparkfun. Thanks*

Thanks, -Tom

B) Any feedback on the components on the panel (add, delete, change, etc)

Attach small storage bins for parts / jumper wires.

Raised edge to keep the little bits from rolling away.

Rubber feet on the bottom.

I'd use wood (thin plywood) instead of Lexan. This allows you to use glue (like Gorilla), wood screws, machine screws, and maybe even double sided tape to connect things to the panel.

The more features you add to something like this, the more disagreement you get about what those features should be, and the more cost you add for features that some people don't want (even for a the bare PCB.) It is probably to the Arduino's advantage that the standard shield size is too small to put many features on. It keeps the individual shields low in price and focused on a particular function. Your proposed board sounds like the more complex boards from places like mikroelektronika ( )