…introducing the Arduino FlipShield

by Stephen Hobley on February 16, 2011

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Even if I do say it myself, I’m getting pretty good at making printed circuit boards at home. Even down to adding a silk screen layer on top. Nearly everything I do is single sided though – and this can present a problem when it comes to docking with an Arduino.

Since the solder side is always on the back, you can’t use the standard shield trick of stacking upwards with the Arduino on the bottom, because the pins are going the wrong way.

So I came up with the…

…idea (with a capital ‘F’ and ‘S’ – that’s branding, that is…)

I used the Arduino layout in the Adafruit Eagle library, and wired the pins as normal. Then when I switched to board layout I mirrored the Arduino component and completed the board.

After assembly you just flip the Arduino over and dock it upside down. Also you can mount the PCB to the case, so you’re not really limited to a standard shield size – you can make them as big as you need. As an added bonus you can just switch out one Arduino from project to project.

The only caveat is that if you use the space under the Arduino and install socketed chips, (or potentiometers, like I did) then you need to solder some double height pin headers to provide enough clearance.

I had a quick look around the web, and I haven’t seen anyone else doing this – so in the international patenting system of DIBS – I claim first dibs on it (or call “shotgun” if you’re living over here).

..till someone else can show me prior art. :D

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

housefly February 16, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Nice one, I like the clean look.

PA February 16, 2011 at 2:23 pm

good job Steve !!! ;)
I’m fan :D
P.A

IARD February 16, 2011 at 5:56 pm

Nice! Maybe you can build some sort of a cube next, with shields on all sides and an Arduino on top… sort of Freescale’s Tower, but more compact in design :)

Remco February 17, 2011 at 4:13 am

Hi Steve,

I hate to burst your bubble….

But:

https://sites.google.com/site/andrewmontag/personal-projects/led-cube

I think he was first….. ;)

Stephen Hobley February 17, 2011 at 9:36 am

Remco – yeah, but I’ve got a logo… :D

Actually I’m told that there was a guy who made a drum machine that did it several years ago – not sure if this is him:

http://microdrum.altervista.org/blog/category/microdrum/

That’s the problem with the internet – everything has already been thought of, and now we have a record of it :D

Rich February 17, 2011 at 4:58 pm

So what does the board itself do?

Stephen Hobley February 17, 2011 at 5:59 pm

It controls laser display systems.

Tim February 18, 2011 at 11:37 pm

When I started in electronics over 30 years ago, daughter board configurations like this were already common (and they still are.) If you want to go fully retro, try a cordwood design.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Printed_circuit_board#.22Cordwood.22_construction

Kevin Pepperman February 20, 2011 at 9:00 pm

You could also just cut off the short headers from the Arduino then add the long pin headers like the ones used on the shields.
–this is still cool, very creative.

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