This post is my first one as I'm new to Arduino. How are you interfacing external hardware to the Uno? The plug-on pins for stacking shields don't seem very robust for interfacing with the real world. Are there breakout boxes with external screw connections connected by ribbon cables? I found a plug-on screw terminal strip on eBay, and it's helpful, but it's not very durable.
Also, if there is a better forum for hardware questions, please let me know. I tried to determine which forum is best. Thanks.
You can use a screw shield, like this one I offer, with extra power & ground connections.
Available as a kit, or assembled.
The plug-on pins for stacking shields don't seem very robust for interfacing with the real world.
The standard Uno and Mega are usually used for prototyping. I suspect that if you use proper male header pins with the female sockets there would be a reliable connection - but I agree that sticking the ends of copper wires into them is not a long term solution.
Once past the prototyping stage you could build your own PCB or just put an Atmega 328 on some strip board that will allow you to make soldered connections. Or you could use a Nano or Micro which come with male connectors rather than the female connectors on the Uno and Mega.