Layout components question.

I have reached the point of frustration keeping everything compact in a small electrical box. I bought for the purpose of keeping everything compact.

I’d like to yank everything out and mount it to a piece of plywood.

Regarding components to connect similar items, like 4 ground wires. I have been doing what I call pigtails, should I just get a breadboard and use that? How would someone with experience and wisdom layout this mess on a piece of plywood?


Google Image URL below.

Google Photos

Don’t use a piece of plywood that is not professional, you can get double width bread boards that also join together side by side. They also have an adhesive stick back so you can mount them.

I would stack those 3 models on top of each other with a extended standoff between each mounting point too.

And don’t use a random collection of jumpers, instead get a nice colour assortment of prototype cables, they are solid core and keep their shape when bent and they plug directly into the breadboard so you can make lovely 2d routes instead of a 3d wire birds nest.

Here’s some links, that i personally use for my projects.


Breadboard Solderless x3

6mm-M3-Male-to-Female-Screw-Brass-Pillars-Standoff ← needs m3 screws, but check your pcb’s hole widths as they may be smaller than M3.

ZachInAZ’s picture
That looks pretty nice.

It’s hard to see exactly what’s going on with the “pigtails”. Are you using crimp connectors to splice two wires to one wire?

I would very much recommend against using solderless breadboards in a finished project. Breadboards are for prototyping circuits. You really can’t trust them to have reliable connections for the long term.

I am also not a fan of having individual dupont cables poked into the headers on the Arduino for finished projects because they really don’t have a very solid connection. Multiple connected dupont connectors is more stable because it constrains movement to one axis only and the force required to pull the connection loose is the sum of the friction of each connection.

You can get a screw terminal shield for the Uno or use a Nano on a piece of stripboard, which will be more compact.

It would be a shame to trade your neat enclosure for a piece of plywood. If you can’t fit everything in that enclosure, you might consider getting one that is better suited to your project and save that one for a future project. I’m guessing that power supply has exposed mains voltage on the power input terminal and you definitely don’t want that sort of dangerous voltage exposed!

Don't use a piece of plywood that is not professional, you can get double width bread boards that also join together side by side.

Plywood is not professional but bread board is!
That is a ridiculous statement.

It is like saying don't drive to work on a motorbike it is not professional, ride a horse instead.

A Big Wheel tricycle would be a better analogy than a horse.

The only important question is: does it work the way you want?

You have learned from this project, don't destroy it, but use your knowledge on the NEXT version.


Are you driving a CNC machine of some kind? Or a 3D Printer? There are fairly small and cheap solutions for both: Arduino UNO with "GRBL Shield"
Arduino MEGA + RAMPS Shield

Ever hear about wire cutters? Ever hear about wire ties or wire looms?
Looks like you made a mess on purpose.

If you find yourself wantingbreadboard, I suggest protoboard, aka solderable breadboard (pcb with holes in it connected together like breadboard) and female Dupont cables connected to male pin header (this works better than the other way around). Instead of single jumpers, get the Dupont line without the headers (from ebay for cheap in rainbow colors, or single strands at eyewatering prices from pololu) and put them into appropriately sized headers.

Coincidentally, I happen to sell some very nice solderable breadboard type prototyping board

IMHO the enclosure is too deep. This makes it difficult to route wiring and mount stuff. A shallower enclosure with enough room to mount 95% of the components on one plane would allow for a much neater arrangement. An example.

I'm wondering if you chose the type you did because you don't have a knockout punch?

p.s. If it's going to be permanent you should have proper cable fittings.

Did you make your project in the box as you built it.

Make you prototype so you can access it and get test gear to measure circuit parameters.

Looking at your picture, YES take it all out and attach it to a board so you can work on it and refine it.
A piece of plywood is what I use too.

Tom... :slight_smile:

Nothing wrong with ply .. I’ve used that. As said cut the board to fit the box then mount everything up .
Cable trunking is cheap and with keep stuff tidy.

It’s a good idea to keep
Power at one end of the board and signals down the other . Earth the case and fuse the power supplies:

And ...

Thank you for all the meaningful replies.

I am going to lay it out on plywood and then mount that back into the box.
I found some hardware online that will help, expecting delivery today. Terminal blocks, single core wire for small jumps.

Yes it was built as I went along over the past 10 months or so.

Yes it is for controlling a small harbor freight x2 minimill converted into a cnc.

It's arduino with grbl sketch, tb6560, recently added tb6600 for z-axis issues and some optocouplers for limit switches and edge finder.

Waiting on new powersupply since current one lacks amps for new tb6600 driver and z-axis motor.