Build a Professional Prototype Case for a Linksys WRT54G Series Router in Three Weeks

Picture of Build a Professional Prototype Case for a Linksys WRT54G Series Router in Three Weeks

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!

silopolis2 years ago
So so so inspiring and instructive !
Thank you _very_ much
sspence2 years ago
If you put a temp sensor on the cpu, you could pwm the fan automatically with an arduino.
jcduplessis2 years ago
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.
epham33 years ago
I can not wait to be able to order one, how exciting that you took a great product and made it superior.

When can it be pre-ordered.
ShaneVadnais (author)  epham33 years ago
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.
Bongmaster3 years ago
awesome :)
any information about how to install a LCD, would be a nice addition to the one i have :)
ShaneVadnais (author)  Bongmaster3 years ago
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.
aleza663 years ago
can't wait to get some pcb or something to start testing!
ShaneVadnais (author)  aleza663 years ago
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. :-)
Krayzi993 years ago
Man, dude, that router looks EPIC.
aleza663 years ago
Is there a final instruction set, specially the wiring? Which firmware did you use from DDWRT?

This is great, I would really like to experiment with my router!
ShaneVadnais (author)  aleza663 years ago
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.

As for DDWRT I have flashed my router with this distro:

magicdante3 years ago
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!
rakrushing3 years ago
great work Mr. Vadnais.you got some skills kid!
vicvelcro3 years ago

Great writing and a nice up-cycle job.
ShaneVadnais (author)  vicvelcro3 years ago
Thanks for the kind words!
Luxfugio3 years ago
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.
ShaneVadnais (author)  Luxfugio3 years ago
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!
Looking forward to when it's fully completed!

On a side note(s), this is probably one of the best write ups of an 'Ible I've seen!
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...
(How do you make those tables?)
Also the glossary is excellent, especially for a 'Ible like this that has lots of field specific terms (like the 3D fabrication terms).

ShaneVadnais (author)  BrefelanDesigns3 years ago
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!
Reffner3 years ago
You took an awesome router and made it better! I love this.