Machine pin sockets like these do a good job of holding solid hookup wire, and are about half the height of a standard square pin header. I like these much better for applications where I'm using hookup wire (e.g. my homebrew breadboard shield uses wirewrap style machine pin sockets).
Square pins will not fit into a machine pin socket, though. Not much of anything other than a solid wire or a component lead (which is a sold wire) will fit.
These turned pin sockets are nice, but the male pins that are normally used with them are quite delicate & will not take a lot of plugging/unplugging before they break. The sockets are fine for wire connections though.
You can try cutting apart some IC sockets. They're lower profile than the female headers, but also corospondingly less secure when it comes to plugging in wires/etc. I used cut-apart machine-pin IC sockets on my first BBB:
Yeah I went that route originally on the first designs, I had a hand full of 28 pin wides that I had misordered, grabbed the dremel and sheared out the center structures, which worked fine for my personal boards and early prototypes, but I didn't like the way the shear points looked, matte vs polished finish, it was obvious I cut them. If I was going to share them it just didn't look complete so thats what started me on the hunt.
As it stands it looks like the solution is Ill just grab the dremel again and drop and channel the project box to countersink the regular sized headers instead.
speaking of the connectors, does anyone manufacture connectors in a similar form factor that are DESIGNED to have random wires inserted? The connectors actually used are intended for 0.025inch square posts ("standard"), and common wire sizes generally work ok, but ... something like the connectors used in a protoboard might be more reliable...
Thats a pretty good collection. What they need for flexible connections or other offboard connections is male terminated wires in housings that pololu.com sells. Can make up whatever size you want, from single wire to 2-3-5-6-8-10, etc. and they plug right into the female headers just as if you'd soldered 0.025" square pins on the end of wires to stick in the female headers.
Of femae terminated wires in housings to go onto male pins.
I have an enclsosure with a pro-mini with 2 female 6-pin headers and 2 custom LED boards with 10 pin female headers. I have 2 cables with 10-pin male housing that breaks out into 6 pins to plug into the pro-mini and 4 that go to a dusub connector for power/ground and 2 signals. Soldering the headers went quick, then popping all the terminated wires into housings and popping them onto the boards went fast. Sure, could have gone board-to-board (and did for the first pair of enclosures), but we were making a half dozen and this way one person could solder the headers on the boards while a second made cables, the result is something more modular and I didn't have to try and clean flux off a bundle of 3 boards all connected together.
I have another project where I use 2, 5, 8, and 10 pin cables & headers to connect 6 different wirewrap boards together for different LED display panels to one control board.
And its so much easier to buy from pololu.com also. I was just trying to find single row male interconnect pins at Major League, you have to find what you want, then try and find a distributor that actually carries it and wade thru their website trying to find it. Pololu is just set up to sell stuff in decent quantities, and its easy to bring up a screen showing ALL the header options instead of 10 at a time with no picture and a "call for quote" for a price.
The one thing they don't seem to carry is long-tail female headers, useful for shields - but I wanted to use as wirewrap sockets.