I keep running into issues when I'm trying to plan for my Pi (when it finally arrives). I can usually find an electronic component that can do what I need but its almost invariably a tiny surface mounted component. Being able to find more amateur friendly DIPs to do what I need to do seems difficult.
I could have a decent go myself at producing PCBs but I want to do stuff that can be made into tutorials for youngsters. Instructing a kid to wield a soldering iron with stripboard is one thing but I don’t think suggesting to them that messing with nasty chemicals is a good idea just yet.
It's a long shot but has anyone come across any kind of converter that can go between assorted standard sizes of surface mount stuff to something that's a little more user friendly? I doubt it somehow. Even some sort of mass produced PCB's suitable for soldering the component in place and providing access to more user friendly connectors would be helpful.
I don't think you'll find one that doesn't need any soldering to SMDs though. Some lead styles, such as PLCC, have through-hole sockets available. But the ones that you really need that for, with the small lead pitches, don't.
The larger pitch smd stuff isn't actually that hard to solder by hand if you're soldering to a board that's well-produced. There's various tutorials on the net on how to do it, but it basically comes down to soldering 2 opposing corners to hold the chip in pace and then pretty much "flood soldering" the pins. As you swipe across the pins with your iron, the solder puts itself in the right place. Obviously, practice with something that doesn't matter first :)
DIP stuff is easier if you can get your hands on it, though, especially if your eyes are ageing. Try Tayda Electronics, they seem to carry a lot of DIP stuff nobody else does.