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 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.
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.
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).