Vias and edges

Jayson was asking on Twitter whether anyone knew where to get pins like the ones on Basic Stamps. I wasn’t able to help him, but I did have fun looking around at the catalogs of Mill-Max, TE Connectivity, Interplex, and Keystone. There are a damn lot of connectivity solutions out there!

Sparkfun did have a couple interesting forum threads about these, here and here, and at Mill-Max, I found something close (though that doesn’t lead to any small-quantity distributors).

Anyway, when I was looking at the Basic Stamp, it popped into my mind that maybe one could save some hassle in doing home prototyping of 2-layer PCBs if one could route vias out to the edge of the board and use clips at the edges, rather than drilling and using rivets, wires soldered on both sides, etc. But then I realized that such a scheme is like trying to lay out your graph on a sphere rather than a plane, which leads to no advantage, as is well-known in topology. Topology is good for something, eh?

Thinking along those lines, though, makes me wonder about other methods that might yield some advantage. For example, route out a hole in the middle of the board and clip traces on those edges and you’ve got yourself a torus, which does (I think) get you more flexibility. It might be fun to do an investigation of graph embeddings in a variety of physically-realizable connection schemes, with an eye toward finding some method that is easy for a home prototypist given some small catalog of techniques and pre-manufactured connectors. There’s probably some paper written by Euler when he was 7 that lays this all out, so I suppose I should hit the library and brush up on my topology…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *