Decline of Radioshack
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Dec 30, 2012
, 03:20 PM
Spektrum Dev Team
Joined Sep 2001
A couple things that might help you:
1) Go to
and search for "SMT Proto board" - you should get a 2 pages of items from Capital Advanced Technologies and Twin Industries. The CAT stuff is nice because it gives a single row connection.
2) Learn how to make your own PCBs. When I was your age I would buy Ferric Choride (FeCl) from the Radio Shack. There are other, better etchants available today. I used to make all kinds of stuff. It was much easier and more reliable than wire wrapping (I still have and use my wrapping tool when debugging). Digikey's search for "Direct etch" will help there too.
Making my own boards prepared me for later in life, too. When I was still 17 I worked for my father, who at that time managed an electronics mfg company. I would work on the soldering line, or run the Van Dorn (plastic injector), or stamp metal brackets with a kick press, or do prototype and short runs of SMT products for our customers.
Later on, I was the head of software development for another company, and spent plenty of time in the electronics lab tweaking and fixing stuff.
At my last job I would do an entire project from schematic to PCB to debugging the board as well as all the firmware and software it would run.
Edit: I was fortunate. My parents bought a TRS-80 Model 1 when they first came out. It wasn't long until his computer became mine
That thing cost more than a Lincoln Town Car of the day (think "Lexus"). They also encouraged me all the time in both electronics and models, and those two hobbies continually bumped into one another, and now they are both my job. They saw their investment in those things as an investment in my future - and I have 4 siblings they also invested in. They weren't wealthy in a monetary sense, but their generous giving is what has made all 5 of us great successes in our lives today.
It doesn't hurt to ask for a little help from them, you may find them more than willing to help you if they understand where it can lead.
We're trying to do the same kind of thing for our kids today.