When I started building my arcade cabinet I didn’t have any wires, but that soon changed as I added the buttons to it, which meant 3 outgoing wires from the breadboard (2 to the button, 1 to the pi), and 2 for the voltage supply to the buttons. After that came the sound system, which used even more wires, then I added the LED-strip, and the central power supply and…, Well, you get the point. I kept on adding those wires without any rhyme or reason and it all just became one big jumbled mess.
So, it was time to unjumble that mess. The easy way would be to just take one big sheet of wood and screw everything onto it, but as I’m making a mini arcade cabinet, that wasn’t an option, so I had to expand in another dimension. I did this by making a leveled system with three smaller sheets of MDF, connected with four threaded rods. The upper level contains the breadboard, and has a hole to the middle level, which contains all circuit boards.
And then I found a problem, namely the fact that if I would mount the display driver on the lowest level, due to the way the display is connected to the driver, the display would end up upside down, so I had to mount the display driver upside down, with a little space between the lowest and middle level to accomodate for the power supply. So, following are some things I learnt from this.
1. Dont use threaded rods
Threaded rods are one big pain in the *ss to saw, as your saw will have the tendency to jump between the threads in the rod. The solution is quite easy though, just wrap some masking tape just before and after the place you want to saw the rod, and make sure it is wrapped around thick enough, and your saw won’t jump between those threads. Another problem however, is the fact that when you saw threaded rod, it’s highly probable that you’ll damage the threads which will make it more difficult to screw on the nuts.
2. Make sure to document how everything was connected
Luckily I did this, but when you’re reconnecting all the wires to your breadboard you’re bound to make mistakes, even when you have carefully documented how everything was connected. Also make sure you’ve got all the components in place already, as it’s quite difficult to add another component after you’ve mounted everything in a structure like this (you’ll have to remove all nuts from the threaded rod, unmount all circuits, drill new holes, sand everything, mount all…, you get it )
3. Think about the order of the platforms
And an extension of that, think about whether certain parts have to be mounted upside down for some reason (as my display driver). I deliberately mounted the display driver on the bottom as it doesn’t need to be directly connected to the breadboard, and I put the breadboard on top as it didn’t need a direct connection to the power supply. Of course, you mostly can’t perfectly plan it, there mostly is a best option.