Introduction: Simple Snap Together Raspberry Pi Wood Case

Picture of Simple Snap Together Raspberry Pi Wood Case

This is a simple low cost wood case for the Raspberry Pi version 1 rev B that I built based off the Adafruit Pi Box (http://www.adafruit.com/products/859). Assembly is simple, all the pieces snap together so no glue or nails are needed. I used this project as a basic starter for getting comfortable and some experience with small, simple, and cheap woodworking projects before I moved on to tougher and more expensive materials.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
  • Craft Plywood 1/8(3mm)x12"x12" (Plywood, not balsa wood. I got two sheets at the local hobby shop for 2.99 each, but a single 12"x12" sheet is more than enough for a couple of cases. I used about 1/3 of it to make 1 case.)
  • Sandpaper (fine grit >180)
  • Stain (optional, if you want to stain it)
  • Polyurethane (optional, if you want to seal it makes it a little more resilient)

Tools Recommended:

  • Small Saw (or use the Dremel cut-off wheels),
  • X-ACTO Knife (for cutting the paper template)

Recommended Dremel bits:

  • 456 1-1/2" Fiberglass Reinforced Cut-off Wheels (Cutting out the pieces)
  • 561 MultiPurpose Cutting Bit (for the slots)
  • 407 1/2" Sanding Drum (Sanding, Curves)
  • 7134 Diamond Wheel Point (Cleanup, adjustments)
  • 106 Engraving Cutter (For the etched logo)
  • 199 High Speed Cutter (Starting the slots).

Step 2: Measure, Trace, and Cut

Picture of Measure, Trace, and Cut
  1. Find a template or use the same one I did. If you can print it on a card stock it makes it a little easier to trace and cut, otherwise regular printer paper is fin, just a little delicate around the edges and smaller gaps.
  2. Print to right scale. I used the spacing between the Audio and Video components and the ruler tool in photoshop to get the approximate size, I resized the image to get a match, don't worry about any loss or blurriness.
  3. I simplified the edges to just simple slots rather than locking flexing clips. It was too difficult at that small of scale to accomplish with my skill set.
  4. Cut out the piece out of paper using an x-acto knife, then trace the shape on to the wood with a pencil.
  5. Start cutting out all the parts using the Dremel bits.

Step 3: Add Slots and Component Holes

Picture of Add Slots and Component Holes

Cut out the slots and the component holes.

Tip I learned the hard way: Straight lines are the easiest, curves and any angles are tougher/sloppier.

I did the first hole for the video component by hand and it came out very uneven, so for the Audio component I drilled out the hole which made a much nicer cut and symmetric hole but watch out for tearing of the wood on the back side (which is inside the case for me).

Step 4: Assemble and Adjust

Picture of Assemble and Adjust

As you put together the pieces some of the holes might need to be widened or adjusted slightly to get a smooth fit.

Use the diamond wheel point Dremel bit to make small adjustments, remember that if you cut/take too much you can't put it back.

I used a set of files to straighten out the edges and slots when my cutting with the Dremel went a little "wavy".

Step 5: Final Assembly and Finishing

Picture of Final Assembly and Finishing

Snap the pieces together. Easiest to do the top/bottom and long sides, then use the short sides to old everything on.

I also sanded away any slot spokes the stuck too far out (see photo note).

At this point the box was complete and usable, but I continued on with staining and sealing it as well as adding a logo to it for decoration.

Step 6: Add an Etched Logo (optional)

Picture of Add an Etched Logo (optional)

Pick a logo that fits, simple is easiest.

Print onto paper.

Using the engraving bit, trace out the shape, apply decent pressure you want a noticeable grove in the surface, I tried to go about a 1/3 of the way through the material. Too much and you can weaken the top, too little and the detail will be fainter/softer.

Step 7: Paint, Stain, Seal, and Use

Picture of Paint, Stain, Seal, and Use
  • After taping around the edges I added a coat of sand-able white primer.
  • I used black acrylic paint and kept adding water till I had a wash. You want the paint to flow down into the cracks and off the high edges which takes watering it down a lot.
  • Paint all the black areas.
  • Lightly sand it using a flat surface, this helps remove any of the wash that stayed on the high edges. Don't go too much that you go through the layer of primer.
  • Touch up any of the white areas with an acrylic white paint.
  • Stain as normal, I used Miniwax Oil Stain "Ipswich Pine #221". Wipe away any extra, let dry.
  • Seal with Polyurethane. I did two coats using a water based product with 2 hrs drying time between coats.

Comments

pengocha (author)2015-04-14

very nice, thank you

emilyvanleemput (author)2015-03-07

Nice!

TheCommander (author)2015-03-06

very cool looks better than the case I bought for mine

robonerd (author)2015-03-06

Very cool!

tomatoskins (author)2015-03-06

I love that you made this style of project box without a laser cutter. Turned out great!

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