Does anyone use the wire-wrap technique for building prototype projects? It seems like a big leap from solderless breadboard to PCB. I've always liked the idea of wire-wrapping, but I'm just not sure how practical it is.
If you do use wire-wrapping, where do you get your tools? Are there tricks/tips to keep in mind?
Are you talking about "true" wire wrapping, with IC sockets with long pins and the tool that wraps kynar wire around them to go point to point?
Or, are you asking if there is an intermediate option between solderless breadboard and PCB? If the former, I can't help. If the latter, I use 28 gauge wire and perfboards to create prototypes. It works very well.
I've used wire-wrapping quite a bit; it's great for one-offs. I takes a little bit of planning since you're looking at the components from the bottom when wiring (opposite of solderless breadboarding.) But it's really quick....and really easy to modify.
The wire comes in different color insulation, so buy several colors--it helps organize the project.
I believe I bought my tool (and the wire) at Radio Shack, but that was a few years ago. It's a simple hand-twist tool; motorized versions are available, too.
My tool includes a wire stripper; it stores inside (don't loose it!) You just strip off about an inch of insulation (or a little less), insert that end into the tool, place the tool on a socket leg and twist. The weight of the tool is usually enough to get the wrap started.
Any wrap can be removed--pop the tool on, and twist in the opposite direction. Sometime I include an extra inch or so of wire to facilitate moving one end of a wire....
Caveats: -- It's not as easy to find the sockets locally, but you can order them. A lot of connectors come with long legs, though, and many are IDC compatible. -- Wire-wrapping works best on the sharp, square legs of the sockets. Thin-wire components like some resistors, caps, etc., don't wrap tightly, so you have to solder certain connections after wrapping. -- Wire-wrapping isn't vibration-proof. I usually solder everything if it's for a car...(of course, then you can't modify easily.)