Train/bus display prototype. What next after the breadboard?

I am a developer, but a newbie in practical electronic. I made a prototype for a display of real time train and bus schedule for my personal use.
I use a ESP32 connected to a 20x4 LCD display via i2c. It also has a resistance and a photoresistance to dim the display.
Here is my prototype:


It works well, but the idea is to put the whole thinks in a self-made lego box (my children did consent to give me some) like this

So my questions:

  1. Whats is the best way to put the whole thinks together (remove the breadboard) and keep it compact?
  2. Is it possible to do it without investing money and time in a soldering station and learning to use it?
  3. Which and how much connector, cable, screw... should I use and where to find them ?

It should not be professional quality, but relatively good looking and discrete for an home interior (not too many cables laying around).
Thank you for your responses

Perfboard or stripboard, soldering everything firmly in place.

  1. Has multiple answers depending on how much time you want to invest and how much you want to learn. You could design a PCB and have it made. I use KiCAD and OSH Park for PCB manufacture. A lot of people prefer Eagle, I don't know anything about it but someone will be along soon to tell you...
    However, your circuit looks to me like it doesn't really need the breadboard, I would have thought you could link the ESP32 directly to everything without the breadboard and without a PCB.

  2. You are not going to get far in electronics without learning to solder. I am very happy with a Weller soldering iron, no temperature adjustment. I'm sure others will recommend their favourite.

  3. I don't know how to answer that, what you have already looks like it is doing the job.

++Karma; // For posting correctly on your first post and for what you have achieved! Well done.

That looks a very useful project and I guess the programming took a lot of effort. You could afterwards publish it here in the Exhibition Gallery so others could build a copy of it: Exhibition / Gallery - Arduino Forum

Since it is a display with an I2C backpack, you only need 4 female/female Dupont connectors between the ESP32 and the display. That would eliminate the breadboard (apart from the LDR/resistor network which you are using for the back light in place of the jumper).
Unless you are sure you are not going to use the main components for another project, it is probably better not to solder directly to their pins.

I like these project boxes. You don't have to cut a window for the display.

or from Amazon . . .

I am in a very similar situation with a couple of small one-off projects underway that will eventually move from breadboard/prototype to permanent for use in home. After looking at many options I am most likely going to go with home-made wood boxes. I feel they give a lot of versatility in terms of customizing size and also drilling holes where needed to allow cutouts for wires or even power supply. Don’t forget about power supply. Right now my thoughts there are to have either barrel jack or usb female jack mounted to wood so I can just plug in. Also with wood you can make it look nice by staining, painting, using brass screws, etc - whatever look you’re going for. It’s also not too tough to then mount components on the interior of the wood box. You also have the option to add plastic windows to reveal electronics or keep it all sealed up. I’ve been prototyping component placement with a cardboard box as an easy way to see how things could layout. Depending on your circuit you may or may not need protoboard. I’m using barrier strips to manage power and common ground, basic wire, and DuPont wires for connections. Always good to have a soldering iron, though!