I'm with you Duane. I usually have 2 or 3 projects on the go and so need a few breadboards. I recently got a bunch of breadboards in various sizes for a song off a local electronics store which stopped doing small hobbyist parts.
I'm working on something at the moment which will have each breadboard mounted on a small case inside which there will be regulators for +/-5 and +/-12V. I'll plug them into a power supply with +/-8 and +/-16V unregulated outlets, using 8-way DIN plugs which I also have a lot of. I have tons of 150mA polyfuses I got off some old boards and will use them as current limiters. I have enough pins on the DIN plugs to maybe send some other voltages and have higher voltage or current supplies too.
I like also building into my breadboards things like LEDs, switches (debounced if necessary) speakers etc (I do very varied projects). I might make one housing with more tools on it like Adam's - a small DMM and probably my Xminilab - a small MSO + Signal Gen from Gabotronics which I won - see more here
They have some VERY tasty goodies for projects like this - you could make a small self-contained development environment as long as you're not doing anything tooo fast. On that one, I am thinking about making the breadboards plug-in, again so I can work on a few things at a time without dismantling one to do something else.
All I need is some time to get all this done. Work has a nasty habit of interfering with the interesting stuff...
You can still get the 2mm lead holders at places like JetPens, and possibly at Staples (in the art / drafting section).
More expensive pens can be very nice, and well worth it if you love using them (e.g. a lot of Kickstarter pens are machined from solid metal, something you won't find at Walmart), but in order to keep my budget under control, I have a informal limit of $15 for pens, and most of the time try to keep well below that -- and I try to (mostly) avoid dangerous web sites like JetPens, Stationery Art, Wiha Tools, etc.
The short story is like this. I used to work for this restoration group when I was younger. I had the chance to start working there when I was 12 and worked with them even through college. I still do things with them from time to time.
During this time one of the members of the group decided that he wanted to make an aerobatic plane that was based off the dimensions of an earlier design by the same designer. Along the way, we were at Oshkosh airshow and there was a group that was exhibiting a very small turbine engine of the same horse power that was intended for the project. The advantage was that it was significantly lighter. The disadvantage was that it was much more fuel hungry.
At the time I was a senior in high school. My role in this project was in fabrication of the wings, help with fuselage assembly/fabrication, and to calculate the expected stall speed (I was within 2mph). The plane flew well. It went to a few airshows. On one flight during a refueling stop, some mud daubers made their nest in the fuel vents. This caused a fuel starvation problem shortly after takeoff, and caused an off airport landing on a highway. All was well except for the semi that decided to come around the corner. The pilot exited the road in an attempt to avoid the truck, but then hit a ditch that totaled the plane.
The wreckage was brought back to the shop, and in 60 days we had rebuilt it and got it ready for the next airshow.
That is the short story, there is much more. It was a very fun project. Here is a picture of the plane.
I am not saying that I have a particular interest in pricy pens for the sake of being pricy, but I do have an interest in fine writing instruments (pun intended). I really enjoy very fine tipped devices for making small detailed drawings. I once had a drafting pencil that had 2mm lead that you sharpened. It was 4H lead. My high school teacher told us that we had to copy everything he put on the board (not a good way to get a student interested in what you are doing). I took it on as a challenge to try and fit the entire two semesters of class notes on a single page of college ruled paper. I managed to fit 11 lines of my writing in a single line of the college ruled paper.
For 0.3mm & 0.5mm mechanical, it's Kuro Toga for me, since the rotating mechanism keeps them sharper. For 0.7mm, I have a Pentel Graphgear 1000 (from Stationery Art in Hong Kong -- better pricing than JetPens, but slower delivery).
I don't want to start on pen discussion here, so I'll just note that THE starting point for pens is the http://penaddict.com/ and add some quick notes:
-- If you're into pricey pens, don't forget Kickstarter
-- Yes, Hi-Tec-C's are nice, but I'm more of a Uniball guy. I find anything <0.38mm to be too scratchy for daily use, and prefer the Uni Signo DX over the HiTec-C. The best you'll find in normal stores is the Pentel G-Tec-C 5-pack.
-- The Pilot G2 Limited body is wonderful, especially since it will take all kinds of refills (Signo 207, many Schmidt rollerballs, Mont Blanc rollerballs if you chop the end, etc).
-- I just don't like felt or porous pens for writing. Other makes include the Uni PiN and Sakura Pigma Micron.
-- If you don't want to go broke, avoid fountain pens.
Enough on pens, I'll just note that I have 10 mugs full of pens within an arm's reach.
Adam - I have two. Unfortunately they aren't cheap. The standard screw mount bulb I have is an "Ecosmart" daylight (5000K) spectrum from Home Depot. It cost around $25.00. My other is a lamp with an integrated light bar that has about 20 LEDs. I think it was on the order of about $40.00 two years ago.
This is good information. So far most of my boards have been small, and cannot sink much power/heat. The last board I designed was to be able to sink 1W of power, and this one I reflowed and just had to do some quick touch ups with the soldering iron. Though I can see your point, if the temp is low, but you are on the joint for 20 seconds (hopefully not) vs a slightly higher temp and less than a second, then I would imagine that many parts would absorb less energy in the second case.