"Through-hole components are the vacuum tubes
of the future: if they exist, you can't get them"
-- Gerald Coley, Open Hardware Summit 2010
SMD parts next to their through-hole equivalents
The world is gradually moving away from through-hole components, and onto surface mount. Industry loves surface mount: it's easier to machine assemble, cheaper to manufacture, and the smaller components allow for more compact devices.
Hobbyists need to get in on this goodness, for all the same reasons! In the past, many makers have wanted to use SMD components, but thought it was too difficult.
Make your own breakout boards
The Surface Mount Soldering Badge Kit is a quick,
easy, and fun way to learn how to solder SMD. And, when you're
done, it's an awesome-looking badge you can wear with pride.
Perfect for self-teaching with the YouTube instructions, and we have
discounts for anyone who wants to run a workshop or stock up for a
classroom. (email support for details)
Totally open hardware: customize your badge!
Better still: there's a programming header on the badge, so you can always put your own software onto it. The microcontroller is an Atmega ATTiny85, so you have tons of space to work with. The ICSP header also brings out 3 pins, allowing you to add sensors or other output devices to your finished design.
In addition to the ICSP header, there's also provisions for a through-hole battery pack, for much longer runtimes. With its small size and energy-sipping design, the "badge" becomes a reasonable dev board for ATTiny-based sensor projects.
(Due to trademark issues, I'm not allowed to talk about the merits of this kit, but, let me tell you, it's quite a meritorious badge.)