Introduction: Raspberry PI Case With Built in Surface Mount for Less Than $2
I own two RPI’s one is a media server for my prerecorded TV shows; the other is hooked up to a Motorola Lapdock to run experiments and for educational purposes. I am an engineer who volunteers for the Boy Scouts of America I teach computers at the Rhode Island Merit Badge College and plan on giving my presentation from my RPI. It will also be a web server for those taking the class. In my search for low cost enclosures I saw someone use 2 electrical plate covers as a sandwich with spacers. So I thought what if the RPI could fit into a standard junction box? What I found is that it “just” fit into a 1-Gang 8 cubic inch old work box with flanges.
I tried to keep the tools down to a minimum.
Dremel tool (cutting and sanding bits) or hand scroll saw, or vibrating multitool
Drill bit set, I don’t include sizes due to the “English/Metric” thing.
6/32 Tap (if not you may be able to self tap it)
Step 1: Gather the Materials:
1-Gang 8 cubic inch Old work box plastic Home Depot $1.20
Model # B108R-UPC Internet # 100404058 Store SKU # 279670
1-Gang Blank Wall Plate Home Depot $0.59
Model # R52-88014-00W Store SKU # 224175 Store SO SKU # 162677
3-4 6/32 screws (free, these are the same ones used in your PC you must have some around)
4 spare rubber feet from whatever device you have around
PDF of paper RPI case from Punnet (remember to print it full size do not shrink to fit)
Spray Paint, whatever you have, though I like the Red.
Step 2: Making the Template
Print out the paper RPI case and cut out each size label them so they stay in sequence.
Cut out the access points for each connector.
Apply them to the junction box in the correct order leave 1/8 inch (+) from the bottom of the case to the bottom of your template.
Use a permanent marker to mark the material to be removed.
Note because of the tight fit, you will have to remove all the way down to the bottom for any connector that protrudes (that is just about all of them).
Use the marker to draw lines from the edge of the connectors to the bottom of the box. Be liberal with this marking, I was more precise and found it way too hard to fit and had to go back a number of times before it would fit right.
Step 3: Start Cutting
With your template all set use a Dremel tool to cut out the audio, video and USB and Ethernet connectors. You will have to cut to the bottom and part of the tab of the case for the Ethernet otherwise you won’t be able to fit the cable in later. The hole in the top is optional but suggested especially for video streamers mine is ½ inch.
To view the LEDs you need to cut a slot near the audio output your template has a marking but leave this for last, once you mount your RPI in the box you can adjust the height, just cut a slot from the audio to the left to the LEDs.
The USB micro power connector is tricky try to leave the tab so that you have 3 points screw it to the faceplate. Leave the LED slot until after you have fitted the RPI in the case to the depth you need to allow all the connectors to be affixed and screws to be fastened. That 1/8 inch I mentioned earlier comes into play here.
Step 4: Fit Then Cut Again
You must allow for your RPI feet, and leave space so that no component can touch the mounting holes. It is moot if you do not plan to mount it.. Once you are comfortable with how it fits and sits on a flat surface you can move on.
Step 5: Prepare the Base
Place your case over the Faceplate (flat side up so that the mounting screws can hold it to a flat surface). Center it as best you can and mark the flange holes with a permanent marker.
Drill out the mounting holes with a drill a little smaller than you 6/32 tap (if you don’t have a tap you may be able to self tap it but it may crack). Tap the holes make sure the screws fit.
Step 6: Final Fit
Clean up the edges of the case with a file. Attach the feet to the RPI if you haven’t already done so. Place the RPI in the case and attach it to the base. Make sure all the connectors fit, file grind or cut if necessary, we are prototyping, using tools anyone has at home so this is no 3D model.
Step 7: Paint Wait Then Assemble
I don’t have a picture but it would have been funny, I balanced my case on a Guinness bottle on some plywood in my yard and just spray painted it there.
Step 8: Author's Notes for RPI Users/developers.
A note for all you RPI users, one thing I learned the hard way was to make backups of my runtime images. After you configure your WIFI, update your packages install all the stuff you want to use. Remove the SD card and use the WindiskImager to make a copy (it can read as well as write); it will save you a lot of time after you hose the file system. In fact; make a copy whenever you make a major change. It only takes a few minutes (much faster than write and even faster if you use a Class 10 SD). Do not expand the SD to take up the whole device until you are confident you need it.
I will upload some better pictures.
Currently running on my RPIs
Xbian is my media server.
Raspbian is running on my lapdock.
Python is the new language I am learning.
Step 9: Author's Other Crazy Projects
Portable Ga-Ga Ball Pit (to be posted soon) if you don’t know http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ga-ga
Lashed Trebuchet (posted)
Hovercraft Disk. (posted)
30 min. Atlatl (done before I discovered insructables, I will look back if I have pictures)
1 hour Teepee - Tepee - Tipi project (not including research, 3 scouts slept in it)
Folding Kayak (been there done that)
Resizing Pull Shades (documented but never posted)
Pneumatic Nerf Cannon (2 inch barrel ideal for Pocket NERF Football optimal projectile for education 100+ yards at 30 psi)
RPI Python Chronograph for the cannon (in the works).
Retro Arcade (been there done that)
Working on my Cocktail Retro Arcade.
Latest idea, using the Lapdock in a mini retro arcade case.
Backpack freezer bag cooking using supermarket foods (been doing this for years, constantly looking for new products)
Feezer bag cooking Cozy using bubble insulation tape and Velcro, double as back pad in pack