Introduction: Oak Raspberry Pi Case for Under $10

Not wanting my raspberry pi to just sit on my desk unprotected (and frankly, kind of boring), I went in search of a case.  However, most of the cases which caught my fancy were quite expensive, anywhere from $20 to $45!  So, instead I decided to make my own instead.  Originally, I was planning on using plexiglass or acrylic for my case, however, upon wandering around home depot trying to find these, I came upon some cheap sheets of red oak which looked very nice.  That then, ended up being what this case is made out of.  However, you can use any type of wood you fancy.  If what you use is thicker than what I used here (1/4"), then you will need to adjust the lengths of screws which you buy.  This is my first instructable, so I hope that you guys enjoy! I am also open to any feedback you guys have on how I can improve anything.

Step 1: Materials and Supplies

Aside from your Raspberry Pi, all of the materials needed for this case can be found at your local hardware store (in my case, home depot).

Materials:
One 1/4" x 3.5" x 2' Red oak hobby board ($3.50) (a hint, you can get this cut to length at the store)
Twelve 1/4" Hex nuts ($1.50)
Eight 1/4" washers ($1.20)
Four 1/4" x 2" Hex bolts ($0.80)
Two #4 3/4" long machine screws (I got a pack with 8 screws and nuts) ($1.20)
Eight #4 nuts

Total cost with tax: $8.50

Tools:
Power drill (or hand drill if you want to go old school)
7/64" drill bit
1/4" drill bit
Small 'C' clamp
Sandpaper
Pencil
Ruler
Smallish screwdriver

Other:
One raspberry pi

Step 2: Getting Started on the Base

1) The first step is to take your two foot hobby board and cut two 6" lengths from it.  As I don't own a wood saw or a miter box, I borrowed Home Depot's and had the wood cut in the store.

2) Take your sandpaper and sand down the rough edges where it was cut.

Step 3: Decision Time

3) Take your raspberry pi and set it one one of the boards and then decide how you want it to sit.

4) After you have done that, locate the two mounting holes on the pi and with your pencil make a mark where each is.

Step 4: Drill Baby Drill

5) Locate your 7/16" drill bit.  If you don't have one this exact size, then compare your bits to the end of the #4 screws and choose one which is slightly larger (picture #1)

6) Place your marked board on a piece of scrap wood and drill two holes in the oak board where you made the pencil marks (picture #2)
7) With that done, with the pencil mark a point 1/2" in from each edge of the corners of one of the oak pieces (picture #3)

8) Now clamp the two oak pieces together with the marks that you just made facing out (picture #4).  Make sure not to clamp them together so hard that it marks the wood.

9) Put a 1/4" bit in your drill, place the oak pieces back on your scrap wood and drill 4 new holes, one for each mark that you just made.

Step 5: Assembly Part 1

10) Now, you should have your two oak pieces successfully drilled.  Next, take one of your #4 nuts and screw it all the way onto one of the #4 screws (picture #2).

11) Repeat step 10 with another nut and bolt.

12) With your raspberry pi face up, place one of the screws you just assembled down through each of the pi's mounting holes.

13) Take two more #4 nuts and screw them onto the screws, lightly sandwiching the pi's board (see picture #3).

14) Once you have done that, carefully place the down on the oak piece with the smaller holes.  The result should look like picture #4.

15) Upon flipping that piece over, you should see the ends of the screws sticking out (picture #5).  Take two more #4 nuts and screw the pi onto the oak board (picture #6).

Step 6: Assembly Part 2

16) Now, take your four 1/4" hex bolts and thread a washer onto each.  
17) Find your other piece of oak (the one without a raspberry pi attached to it) and decide which side you like best.  With this side up, place put one of the bolts with washer through each of the corners of the board (images 1 & 2, though I forgot the washers in these pictures).

18) Next, put a 1/4" nut onto each of the bolts, and hand tighten them down, sandwiching the piece of oak (picture #3).

19) Add another washer to each bolt and screw it down part way.
20) Place this piece on the table with the bolts facing point up.  Then, take the other piece of oak, and with the pi facing down, place it ontop of the other piece so the bolts go through both pieces.

21) Adjust the top nuts so that they are all at an equal height.  Using three extra nuts as a way to measure this works perfectly (see picture #4).

22) At this point, things should look like picture #5.  Now, on the ends of the bolts sticking out, place a washer and then another nut and hand tighten (pictures #6 & 7 respectively).

Step 7: All Done!

Congratulations! you are now done with your case!  Pat your self on the back, and then fire that sucker up and have some fun.

Some thoughts for design modifications:
1) use some sort of stain/lacquer on the wood at the beginning to bring out some more color and grain.
2) It would be really cool to laser cut or etch a design in the top of the case if you have access to such technology.
3) It would also be possible to add sides to the case using some of the remaining oak, however, I like the look of the case as it is.

I hope you guys enjoyed this.  Merry building!

Comments

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rgrimble made it! (author)2014-02-12

Made with some changes. I used #10 screws.

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TristanC28 (author)rgrimble2016-12-08

Damn boy! I love the look of this, looks so smoothe.
What did you use for the rubber(?) bits, and did they attach to the screws?

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rgrimble (author)TristanC282016-12-10

They just twist on.

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rgrimble (author)TristanC282016-12-10

Thanks, I think these are the ones from Home Depot

Everbilt #10 Black Rubber Screw Protectors (2-Piece)
Model# 812788

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ralphab (author)2013-08-01

In place of "set nuts" cut a piece of tubing the right length and slip over screw and tighten to secure.

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TristanC28 (author)ralphab2016-12-08

Good suggestion!

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zofer made it! (author)2015-09-24

Great idea. I was inspired by it.

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zofer (author)2015-09-24

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Alfredo IvánM (author)2015-09-22

Very nice , practical, and easy

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Alfredo IvánM (author)2015-09-22

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JayJ11 (author)2015-08-13

This was a great idea and makes for a nice combination of tech and classic design

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vkspic (author)2015-07-29

A cool idea. Thanx for sharing

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KevinG12 (author)2015-04-29

Thanks for the instructions! I made mine with pine strips as I couldn't find any Oak! I used to to make a little RaspberryPi HiFi with Runeaudio and Hifiberry Amp+

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plipska (author)2015-04-25

Projects like this remind me that woodworking skills sometime skip a generation, oh well I can still confuse the Rockler woodshop people trying to relate the Rasberri Pi to them.

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jgroner made it! (author)2015-04-16

Did a little wood burn and stain on mine. Thanks for the 'structable!

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flatrich (author)2015-01-25

I had an old wooden cigar box that was originally intended for a guitar box guitar...but my cat jumped on it from an impressive height and...smash. After I saw this I thought this would be a great way to repurpose it. Thanks!

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kerens1 (author)2014-05-05

i made it a little bigger so that I could fit in my breadboard too.....

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jgroner (author)2014-03-17

Very Nice! Just finished mine from this instructable! Took about 30 mins and I had almost everything laying around so I got out under $5!

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mstaj (author)2013-08-22

Neat project, I built mine following your pattern with just a few changes:
1) I have an older RPi with no mounting holes, so I used standoffs embedded in epoxy putty.  I think for future builds I would also use standoffs, not the #4 screws.
2) I installed a 1/4-20 T-nut for mounting on a tripod
3) cut a slot for the RPi camera cable , and drilled a hole for a camera mount from Pimoroni
4) Spray painted the nuts, bolts, and washers flat black, since I had the paint already.

Better planning on my part and I would have made the camera mount neater, but I ran into interference problems with the USB port the camera and the camera cable. I also have a tight fit squeezing the microUSB power into the case, it hits the post at that corner.  I'll take that into account for my next build

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Nick_de (author)2013-08-20

Nice! :) For more wooden cases for your raspberry pi please take a look at www.bitcrafts.eu

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Amraxis (author)2013-08-15

Different Home Depots will stock different items. The one I went to didn't have any 1/4" hobby boards at 3 1/2" wide, closest they had was 4" by 4 feet, ugh I only needed a foot haha.

Apparently it is hard to find hex bolts that long that have the thread that go the length of the bolt. Had to settle for machine bolts. Oh well, will still look pretty good.

Could also use wing nuts, or acorn nuts; or brass hardware. Make it look a little different.

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prakis (author)2013-08-07

That's cool.

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MrLeg (author)2013-08-06

I'm thinking of doing this with wooden dowels, and maybe using a wood-burning tool to put a pattern on the top. Thanks for the idea! Cool design.

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patcheye (author)2013-08-06

You can also try standoffs for a computer, various sizes are available from online computer geek-type store, like Newegg, Cyberguys and many more. I made a tabletop slotted holder with them to separate the slots, some are wider than others, as some are for papers and some are for my various E-xacto knife kits. I got round standoffs in brass, which are a little more pricey but you will have round tubes at your corners, without having to sleeve machine screws. Don't forget to buy the matching nuts as the nuts are as hard to find as the standoffs. I have built many small projects with them and they hold well and are not bad to look at. I have used many hobby boards, and prefer 1/2" to 1/4" as i can then recess the holes and use a dowel plug to cover it.

I used to build computers for my friends, so I had some in my Miscellaneous Computer Parts box. Standoffs are a little sturdier than machine screws, even sleeved, as they are built to accept both side loading and weight bearing. If I don't have anything, I always check the computer stores for parts I can use as they are always of a very high quality and built to close tolerances. I bought what I thought was a good deal on EBay and found nothing in the entire lot I would use. On the other hand, they only cost $10, and that is a cheap price for a good lesson.

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gcanders (author)2013-08-01

Thank you so very much for posting this and giving me a solution for my Arduinos! I am sick of working with them in those crappy plastic holders. I wanted something permanent and this is most likely my answer. Nice work, good sir.

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The_Monkey_King (author)2013-07-31

If you have a dremel or 1/8" drill bit, you could drill vent holes or make a pattern in the wood like you see on some wooden cell phone cases. This is great as is!

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permutation-jim (author)2013-07-31

I like the clean and simple approach. I think I'll do something similar, though I might try to hide the bolts at the top by using screw-in furniture inserts. I have some left over from another project, and I like the idea of what appears to be an all-wood container that is open on the sides.

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desertranger (author)2013-07-30

Problem is with all these slick and pretty cases (mine's cllear plastic) i thehs tlll have wres running our of them every which way.

Still a nice project though.

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MeVirtually (author)2013-07-28

I currently have my pi in a small cardboard box I had laying around with cutouts I made for the ports. I'd been thinking about an acrylic solution, too, but I love the wood look!

One idea I'd like to figure out is to have the bolts look more like posts (no visible threads of the bolts, just a smooth surface).

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I only needed HDMI, USB host, and USB power ports on my RPi. My solutions was to use the Element14 box it came in and cut perfectly sized holes for each of those. I toss it in my backpack and carry it all the time. It's held up great.

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I only needed HDMI, USB host, and USB power ports on my RPi. My solutions was to use the Element14 box it came in and cut perfectly sized holes for each of those. I toss it in my backpack and carry it all the time. It's held up great.

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schou (author)MeVirtually2013-07-28

Get some aluminum or steel tubing, cut them to length, and slip them over the bolts.

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MeVirtually (author)schou2013-07-29

Thanks for the idea. I went to pick up the materials and looked for that, but the employee working that section suggested some spacers to slide over the bolts, which were just the right size, so I went with that.

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rsucgang (author)2013-07-30

Very nice! I love the woodwork and clean presentation.

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deneasta (author)2013-07-30

It is a very novel idea and a cool work. I liked it.

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Project 23 (author)2013-07-29

https://www.instructables.com/community/Instructables-android-ios-app-improvement-idea/

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jbntx (author)2013-07-28

Looks very nice, good stuff.