Since this is my first Instructable and the first 3D printed prototype I have ever made I have tried to explain in as much detail as possible what I have done and have tried to provide as many pictures as I could. If you have any questions please ask and I will try to answer them ASAP.

Warnings and Legalities: modifying a router as I have done will VOID the factory warranty. There is a possibility that if not done correctly you could BRICK your router. It is up to the user of this Instructable to check all state and federal laws before using high gain antennas or boosting output power.

With that out of the way I am going to show you how I:

  • came up with my project requirements
  • reverse engineered an existing product to acquire needed dimensions
  • sourced hardware and software
  • designed a new case to incorporate new product requirements
  • rapid prototyped an ABS plastic case
  • prepped and finished plastic parts
  • overcame unexpected delays

Due to the complexity and length of instructions I will be covering the following in an additional Instructable:

  • wiring of electronics
  • heatsinks and thermal adhesive
  • antenna selection
  • power supply upgrade
  • installing third party software
  • designing a breakout board
  • micro controllers and integrated circuits
  • diagnostics and trouble shooting

This is what I was able to accomplish in three weeks!

Step 1: Assessing Project Requirements

The first and most important thing to do on any project is to define the requirements. A failure to list the exact features to be added can and most often will lead to feature creep. For this project I decided to use a Linksys WRT54GL router due to its low price point, availability and hackability. Below are the features I decided to add to this project and our reasoning:

New Case
The main goal of this project was to develop and prototype a manufacturable case that worked with a factory WRT54GL router's internal components and that maintained a “factory feel” while integrating additional components.

Duel db9 Serial Ports
Since I wanted to be able to connect my router to things such as GPS serial ports were a must.

SD/MMC(Secure Digital Multi Media Card) Reader
Due to the routers limited memory capacity (4 MB of flash) an SD/MMC reader was also a necessity.

High Gain Antennas
I wanted the WiFi signal to reach throughout the house and into the backyard. To help achieve this I decided on a set of high gain omnidirectional antennas. Depending on your need, directional antennas can be used and can extend the range several miles!

Heatsinks and Fan
Heatsinks and a cooling fan would also be needed to help remove excess heat produced by over clocking the CPU and boosting the outgoing signal strength. A 28x28x15mm heatsink and a 70x70x15mm 43 cfm fan were chosen. A 3 watt 100 ohm potentiometer was required to adjust the speed of the fan. This allows the user to not only control the amount of airflow but also to reduce the noise the fan makes when operating at high rpm.

LCD Screen
As an added bonus (and just to see if I could do it) I decided to add a 16x2 LCD screen to view statistics and code as the router is running.

Firmware Upgrade
None of these hacks would be possible without upgrading the firmware so I decided to upgrade it to DD-WRT.

Even though I will not be getting into the electronics and modding portion in this Instructable you will notice that we have listed all components I am planning on using for this project. It is important to know what will be used so you can plan, layout and adjust for clearance and visual appearance (no point in making something ugly).
<p>Hello are you ever going to make the instructable on the electronics for this project? I would like to see what you do so that I can adapt parts of it for my own router that I am going to mod. Nice instructable by the way, I was drawn in by that awesome looking router that you have for the first image. Hope you continue to do mods like this in the future.</p>
So so so inspiring and instructive ! <br>Thank you _very_ much
If you put a temp sensor on the cpu, you could pwm the fan automatically with an arduino.
Very professionally done! You utilized a 3D printer in the exact way (I believe IMHO) it was meant to be used, to create/enhance something. Very nice instructable and thanks for the nice images as well.
I can not wait to be able to order one, how exciting that you took a great product and made it superior. <br> <br>When can it be pre-ordered.
I've actually gotten a lot or requests from people wanting to purchase this as a kit so I am looking into the feasibility of putting one together. If it looks like something that is doable and if I have enough interest I will let you know.
awesome :) <br>any information about how to install a LCD, would be a nice addition to the one i have :)
I was originally going to use a PIC16F84A to send code to the LCD but I will most likely be going with a PIC18F2550 now. I am currently changing my breakout board configuration for this project. Ideally I would like to have everything (LCD, serial and fan speed controller) integrated onto one board. You can follow me on twitter @shanevadnais for updates.
can't wait to get some pcb or something to start testing!
Sorry it's taking me so long, I'm a ME not an EE so sorting out the electronics is a bit rough. I'm hoping I can get it figured out soon. The SD and serial ports are finished, that was easy but the LCD is holding me up. :-)
Man, dude, that router looks EPIC.
Is there a final instruction set, specially the wiring? Which firmware did you use from DDWRT? <br> <br>This is great, I would really like to experiment with my router!
I am in the process of designing a PCB that will hold all of the components tor the DB9 ports, fan speed controller and LCD driver. Once I have that done and have tested it I will upload more content. <br> <br>As for DDWRT I have flashed my router with this distro: <br> <br>http://www.dd-wrt.com/routerdb/de/download/Linksys/WRT54GL/1.0/1.1/dd-wrt.v24_mini_wrt54g.bin/2190
WOW! This is a really well detailed instructable and a great concept. I actually feel I could start building this today. Thank you for sharing!
great work Mr. Vadnais.you got some skills kid!
Voted. <br> <br>Great writing and a nice up-cycle job.
Thanks for the kind words!
I just wanted to give you props for the design and thought of reusing older technology and the way you took the time to lay every thing out on the site. Its just a really good design and look forward to the update version for the electronics. I also know this is one of the best routers I've ever owned. The only reason i don't use it now is it didn't have wireless N. Even though I am thinking of going back to it because it never drops signal. I was wondering if you are doing all these upgrades if there's a way to include Wireless N technology or if there's not.
I started looking into the possibility of adding wireless N, I don't think it's impossible but it doesn't appear to be a simple process. I will continue to research it and see what I can come up with.
This is an amazing project! <br>Looking forward to when it's fully completed! <br> <br>On a side note(s), this is probably one of the best write ups of an 'Ible I've seen! <br>Especially love what you did with the parts list(s), making it into a table and including the links to the sites for the parts... <br>(How do you make those tables?) <br>Also the glossary is excellent, especially for a 'Ible like this that has lots of field specific terms (like the 3D fabrication terms). <br> <br>
I sent you a private message with the source code I used for the tables. Just copy, paste and edit them in your next instructable... Enjoy!
You took an awesome router and made it better! I love this.

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