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Spider in the field


I have had a Spider for two days…

As usual, the mainboard and modules are made beautifuly. Top quality.

I like the new cables much better than the JST cables. With the JST cables I was always breaking a finger nail when removing them. The new cables are a pleasure to work with.

I move the Spider around a lot, so I decided to mount the mainboard, display and client USB/power module on a perforated board. I have included a blurry telephone picture of what I have done.

This weekend I am going to look for a plastic compartmented box to hold the modules.

So far, 100% satisfaction.


@ Mike - Do the holes in your board match the module mount points or did you have to drill them out?

With a few modules attached to the mainboard it is rather tricky to arrange them in some useful layout without having some type of mount. I’m working on some enclosure design templates in the form of a Visio shape library. This should make it easy to crank out a faceplate that can be exported to a format like SVG for lasercutting, etc. I’ll put this up in the Wiki once it’s done. Question to all: is Visio a good format, or would some other tool be better (e.g. OSS)?

I am also thinking some kind of perforated board like you have with correctly sized and spaced holes would be a good way to try out various combinations of modules when prototyping.


I drilled out the holes.

The Gadgeteer modules use 5mm spacing.

For my purposes, a 5mm perforated board would be ideal. I don’t see the need for an enclosure.

Sounds like a good product for someone to build. A perforated board, spacers and nylon screws and nuts.
It can be called the Spider Nest.


I haven’t used Visio for a while, I would use Inkscape - it is free, and one of the tools that Ponoko suggests.


@ Architect - I use Visio as a starting point and then export to a format that InkScape can use, like SVG. I prefer Visio only because I used it for years and can crank out stuff quickly (and have a MSDN license). I’m still on a learning curve with InkScape, but do agree that designing in a (great) free tool is the way to go to reach a broader community.


Funny how everyone was thinking of kind of the same thing :slight_smile: (Including me).

I was thinking that a Letter (or A) sized piece of 1/4" plastic with a grid of holes in it would make a good base. There are a wide variety of plastic standoffs on the market. I’ve been looking at some that would just let you put everything together without even needing screws. Is that something other people would be interested in? If so I’ll order in a few different types to try out.



I used plastic spacers and nylon screws.

While it would nice not to need screws, I am perfectly happy with screws.

If I were changing configuration every few minutes, screwless would be good. But, I tend to setup up a configuration and use it for a time. Also, with screws, nothing is coming loose.

I am interested to see what you can find.

Does anybody know of a source of 5mm perforated 1/4" plastic sheeting?


@ Jeff_Birt - can you put up a link to the screwless standoffs? I’m with Mike on the nylon screws. They’re a little more work to assemble, but once they’re on, nothing budges. Plus I can get them at my local hardware store in various lengths.

I’ll do a quick ‘pegboard’ design with ponoko’s small template, which is 170x170mm, to see how much it would be to lasercut in 3mm acrylic.


ransomhall… looks like you’ll be using the Spider, the USB power supply, and the Display, as your main setup… you can always find or make an small enclosure thats small and protective (no coffee area … nice coffee mug :wink: ), yet acessible to all your needs.


alex - you mean mike?

ponoko lasercut pegboard idea comes in at just under $30 for a 180x180mm size piece, 170x170mm grid of holes. Too expensive :frowning:


yeah… sorry…ransomhall… meant mike … :D… multitasking…


@ Alex

So far, mounting on the perforated board works for me. It is sized such that I can put into a protective bag and into the nice box that came with the Spider.


So, here’s a Ponoko ready design for a “Spider Nest” module mounting board. Useable area is 180x180mm with a roughly 10mm border. It assumes you will always have at least the display mounted (which also leaves room for the cool graphic). It’s about $30-40 on 3mm acrylic, and that will vary slightly based on material and shipping. I currently have the ‘premium’ subscription there, which gets me a break on the rates. I would be happy pass that along to you guys and also check and see at what point they would cut us a break for several. Admittedly kinda pricey, but it is exactly cut to the gadgeteer module spec… lots of colors to choose from too.


Looks nice!


Nice! Although, I would call it the “Spider Web”. Does anyone make custom breadboards? I’d love to have a breadboard designed similar that I could screw down a Panda-II. Sometimes the rubber bands get in the way…


GHI has tinkerer kit for Panda II


Tinkerer has limited appeal to me. I’m thinking of a big solderless breadboard about the size of a tinkerer that would have the holes there to mount all the same devices as the tinkerer except have the Panda turned upright and mounted with standoffs to free up the space where the tinkerer keeps the shields. My current project is about to expand out into a third breadboard. I may have to break out some plywood if it gets any larger.


Spidermen - I’ve found a laser cutter on the east coast who will do small batches of stuff. Would anybody be interested in a “Spider Web” (see above)? If so, what would be a reasonable price? I’m not in it for a profit, just want to know when negotiating price with him. some of his other work: . He pointed me to a good source for bulk mounting hardware (standoffs, bolts, etc).

I’m also open to suggestions on how to improve or change the design. If you know somebody with a lasercutter for hire, speak up.

BTW - you’ll see another post to the forum at large in the near future to see if there is interest in laser cut enclosures for any of the GHI boards.


I would be interested in one of the Spider Webs… The $30 price point seems about right, but less would be better.


Any preference on color? If not, I’ll go w/clear. I also like the matte finishes, particularly if it’s going to be primarily for ‘utilitarian’ use. The high gloss finshes tend to get quickly dinged up.