A nice way to make a secure fit for Littlebits

I use the Littlebits parts for modular synthbuilding. Experimenting with long blockchains of Littlebits is fun. In the beginning i used the special “mounting boards” to keep everything in place. But when connecting and changing Littlebits often, the somewhat stubborn way of inserting your Littlebits on an official mounting board, can bend & break the fragile components when you push too hard. Less fun. The mountingboards are also quickly becoming too small for larger growing projects. Could there be a more flexible way to work/play with these Littlebits without hissing between my teeth?

I wanted a way to be able to regularly change a complicated chain (happy experimenting), but that in the meantime, a Littlebits-chain would stay in place on a portable surface (for a longer time). So you can carry around a board sideways, put it away for a day or two, even upside down. And all that without dropping all sorts of parts of that board.

My solution is using a simple cork pinboard with round-headed maptacks/pushpins. The best length for a pin is around 16 mm. Not shorter, or much longer. You insert a couple of pins on strategic places along the white sides of your Littlebits. There are no rules how many and where. It depends on the chain you’re building. But always be very careful not to accidentally poke the metal pins somewhere on the circuits, and that they not scatter around all over your project.

I therefore do not recommend, and will not take responsibility, for this method for little children or impatient adults. There is a risk of damaging or causing a short circuit in a chain. The metal pins are a potential unhappy combination with the delicate magnetic and electrical parts of the Littlebits. So when you know what you are doing, it can work well.

More about the pins:
Shorter than 16 mm is a less secure fit in the cork-surface, and will come off. Much longer pins are cumbersome, because the round ball-end must not only keep the Littlebits in place sideways, but also must prevent up/down movements. Longer pins must pushed very deep for that, because the plastic ball-end as to tough the sides lightly.

In the end, this method works for me. I am very happy. Things are still looking loosely, but the fit is really surprisingly good. And you can freely expand your project in all directions, with no tear and wear… It also gives a more pleasing aesthetic appearance. The visualization of an electronic circuit-flow. You can hang it on the wall just for what it represents.

See my photo’s how it looks like. The chain itself is just a non working nonsense demo/fantasy, only for demonstrating my way of securing the Littlebits on a surface.

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Hi @tekenvis,
What a great idea, you could also hang the cork surface on the wall and start building the circuit…
And what about this ?
Adding small magnets underneath the feat of the Littlebits modules so they could stick on a metal surface (like a refrigerator) ?
Greetings
Frank

It’s indeed a nice concept to add little magnets underneath the sides of the bits. It differs from the use of maptack-pins, in that you can freely alter combinations vertically on the go. Would be handy for educational purposes.

Reminds me of Korg with their famous MS20 synthesizer. When introduced, they made also a much bigger educational version in the late seventies, for hanging on the wall in a classroom.

You confirmed some of my fears of using the mounting boards with my littlebits. Using them puts a lot of stress on your bits when making frequent changes. Your idea is a good one. I’ll be looking to repurpose someone’s cork board.