For components with a convenient accessible hole, like this low-dropout 5 V linear regulator in a TO-220 package, it’s straightforward to adapt conventional hoop earrings. The hard part is picking good looking components.
Some components do not have an appropriate ready-made hole.
For “old-school” through-hole components like these, the actual chip is only a small fraction of the size of the package. That means that you can actually drill through the outer part (where there’s just plastic and the copper leadframe) with a “regular” steel drill bit. (For smaller packages, or if you need a hole closer to the center, you risk hitting the chip– and we recommend that you avoid it. Not only is it harder to drill through, but it carries a risk of spreading toxic dust.)
You can start by pressing the chips into firm foam (e.g., black antistatic foam) to protect the leads while you drill. We used a 1/16″ drill bit, but found it pretty dull after drilling through just two packages. Presumably, this is because of the high silica content in the black epoxy encapsulant (which also gives the package high thermal conductivity). After drilling, you can deburr the hole (if necessary) with a larger-diameter drill bit. And, remember to clean the chip thoroughly to remove any excess dust that may be present.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
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