Taking Personal Project from Prototype to Final


I'm a newbie trying to take my personal project from breadboard prototype to final product. I'm not looking to mass produce my project. It's just for my home use. That being said I've seen that my choices seem to be:

  • Getting a custom PCB made - This seems to be expensive compared to the cost of an Arduino clone or even original. Plus then you need to tack on the price of the chips, resistors, etc. You can correct me if I'm wrong.
  • Using the Arduino with a prototype shield and calling it a day but then I'm not sure what kind of wiring to replace my jumpers with. Is it just any 20 AWG wire? For connecting the LCD screen am I better off getting some ribbon cable?

Any advice or pointers would help. I read some previous posts but I'm still not 100% clear.


I use OSHPark all the time for PCBs. Anytime I need to do more than putting one chip on a breadboard then I’ll get a PCB made for the project. I usually pay between $5 and $30 for a set of 3 boards (they don’t do singles) depending on the size of the board.

Learn how to design for SMD parts and get a stencil made for solder paste, For any more than 10 components on a board, it’s much easier to do SMD.

For a personal project which is only ever going to have one made, then keep the Arduino board and make a shield.