If your focus is on electronics, then it’s easy to overlook the complications of mounting your projects. You might have that robotic arm’s encoders figured out, but do you know how you’re going to keep the base stable while it moves? Like many people, you will probably just end up screwing it down to a piece of plywood. Pact Plate is a “Modular and Reconfigurable Base Plate System” that is designed to change all of that.
Pact Plate is launching through a Kickstarter campaign, which still has two weeks left to go. At first glance, it looks very simple: just a square of black plastic with some mounting holes. But a lot of thought has gone into the design in order to make it as versatile and useful as possible. Of those mounting holes, there are three different types. Four large holes—one near each corner—are used to mount a Pact Plate to a work bench, aluminum extrusion frame, or whatever else you might want to use. Then there are 36 equally-distributed holes, all of which have internal M4 threads so that you can securely attach your components to the Pact Plate. Finally, three holes on the side of each Pact Plate allow you to connect multiple modules together.
Pact Plate is made of “a special injection molded plastic alloy widely used in the automotive industry to replace die cast aluminium.” Grass Roots Manufacturing doesn’t specify what that material actually is, but they do demonstrate how stiff it is compared to die cast aluminum and “typical plastic.” The images featured in the Kickstarter campaign show prototype Pact Plates that were 3D-printed, but the actual production modules will be injection-molded. We could easily see entire work benches being covered in Pact Plates to mount parts during R&D, or even for jigs used during assembly.
The Pact Plate Kickstarter campaign will be running until October 24th. At the lowest-quantity option, a single Pact Plate with some hardware will cost you $20. But there are significant discounts available if you buy a bulk package.