Introduction: The Absolutely Worst Raspberry Pi Case

Picture of The Absolutely Worst Raspberry Pi Case

There are a lot of great Raspberry Pi cases. Making another best Raspberry Pi case seemed too easy. So, I decided to make the absolutely worst Raspberry Pi case. No design, no style, just a damn ugly case.

Every time I start a Raspberry Pi project I look at all the cases I could use. I spend a lot of time looking at all of the cases and examining the merits of each. There are many that are very cool. My favorite is the Wicked Aluminum case but at $64.99 it is just too expensive. Almost everytime, I end up picking some version of a plexiglass case.

Case selection seems to be a way for me to procrastinate to avoid starting a Raspberry Pi project. If only I had the right case, the project would be perfect.

I decided to build the absolute worst Raspberry Pi plexiglass case because the case is of no importance to my projects. No one in my family cares about my Raspberry Pi projects or how they look.

Of course, I had to make the case more complicated than it needed to be. So, I built a jig to enable the building of many different sizes of absolutely terrible and ugly cases.

Step 1: Gather Parts

Parts:

  • 1/4-inch thick MDF for jig
  • 1/2-inch thick plywood for base
  • 1/4-inch thick plexiglass for jig and for cases
  • 12x #6-32 wing nuts
  • 12x #6-32 2-inc bolts with tapered heads to hold jig together from Home Depot
  • 4x #6-32 1-inch standoffs from Mouser
  • 8x #6-32 1/2-inch round head bolts
  • 4x #4-40 1/4-inch bolts to hold Raspberry Pi
  • 8x #4-40 nuts

Tools:

  • Table saw with fine tooth blade (metal)
  • Jig saw with metal blade
  • Variable Speed Drill
    • 7/64-inch metal drill bit for #4 bolts
    • 9/64-inch metal drill bit for #6 bolts
    • 1/4-inch metal drill bit for counter sinking
  • 400 grit sand paper
  • Fine tip permanent marker
  • 4 spring clamps
  • Steel Right Angle
  • Tape Measure

Notes:

  • #4-40 standoff and bolts are commonly used in electronics. However, #4-40s aren't sold in hardware stores, where the prices are usually much cheaper. So, I use #6-32s whenever I can.

Step 2: Cut Pieces for Jig

Picture of Cut Pieces for Jig

A jig enables multiple cases of with the same dimensions and with the same holes to be more easily created.

The base needs to be thick enough that drilling into it a tiny bit won't mess up the surface beneath it.

Also, the base needs to be large enough to support the largest or smallest Raspberry Pi case I might make. Smallest (Size of Raspberry Pi 3 with Micro SD Card: 3-1/2 x 2-1/4) to largest (Pi Media Center: 8-11/16 x 8-11/16, round up to 9x9). Parts of the jig will be 3 inches wide. So, the base will be 12 x 12.

MDF seems too soft, but 1/4 inch plywood is only 3/16 inches thick, and the hardware store didn't have 1/4 inch masonite.

For this instructable, I am only going to make a case that is: 5 x 3-1/2

Cut Pieces

1/2-inch plywood base:

  • Base = 12 x 12

1/4-inch MDF Jig layers:

  • Layer 1:
    • 2 pieces: 12 x 3
    • 2 pieces: 3-1/2 x 3
  • Layer 2:
    • 2 pieces: 5 x 3
    • 2 pieces: 9-1/2 x 3
  • Drill Jig
    • 1 piece: 3 x 3

1/4-inch plexiglass (top and bottom jig):

  • 1 piece: 11 x 9-1/2

Step 3: Cut Plexiglass for Case

Picture of Cut Plexiglass for Case

On a table saw with metal blade cut:

  • 2 pieces: 3 x 5 inches (top and bottom)

I cut six pieces to make 3 cases.

Step 4: Drill Holes

Picture of Drill Holes

A jig holds the plexiglass case in place while holes are drilled in the case. It also helps align the holes in the top and bottom pieces of the case. The jig has multiple layers:

  • Base or bottom
  • Layer 1 of MDF and plexiglass bottom
  • Layer 2 of MDF and plexiglass top
  • Plexiglass jig or top guide for drilling holes in case

Arrange all of the parts, square them up and then clamp together so they don't move. Use 4 spring clamps and not the screw kind. The corners of the jig should be exposed.

Using a 3 x 3 piece of MDF, make a jig for the MDF holes.

  • Using the permanent marker, mark two of the outer edges of the jig with arrows on both top and bottom
  • The jig will be flipped over and rotated, and the outer edges of this jig should always align with the outer edges of the larger jig to ensure the holes are drilled the distance from the edge
  • Mark the center of the jig 1-1/2 x 1-1/12 and drill a hole

Using the 3 x 3 jig, drill 4 holes in the corners of the larger jig. Ensure the outer edges of the 3x3 jig are aligned with the outer edges of the larger jig. Using a X/X inch drill bit counter sink the 4 holes in the base of the jig. Only the slanted tip of the drill bit should go into the base - don't drill all the way through. The heads of the bolts should be level with the base.

Insert the bolts through the base and up through the jig. Add a wingnut to each bolt and tighten, but too tight

Remove the clamps.

Using the 3 x 3 jig, drill 2 holes in each side piece. Again, align the jig outer edges, with the outer edges of the piece.

Insert the bolts through the base and up through the jig. Add a wingnut to each bolt and tighten, but too tight

When this is done two pieces of 3 x 5 inch plexiglass should fit snugly within the jig

Step 5: Drill More Holes

Picture of Drill More Holes

Now that the jig is assembled, drill holes for the case

The only common holes in the top and bottom pieces are the corner posts

Make a jig for this - drill a whole with center 3/16 from each edge and mark the jig.

Drill holes in corner of plexiglass case and through plexiglass jig on top

Step 6: Notch MicroSD Card

Using a jig saw, cut out a notch for the micro SD card in the bottom piece of plexiglass

Step 7: Finish Plexiglass Ends

I used a sanding block with 400 grit sandpaper and then lightly polished.

Spending a bit more time, and going from 300 to 400 to 600 or 800 grit would result in a beautiful finish.

Buffing helped. But a finer sanding is required.

Best video on polishing plexiglass edges.

Step 8: Put It All Together

The bottom piece holds the Raspberry Pi. Put #4-40 screws in the 4 holes. Use a #4-40 nut as a standoff.

Use the second nut to hold the Raspberry Pi in place.

Two holes on the Raspberry Pi are difficult to screw on a nut. So, It is best to align the two nuts and screw the bolt through both nuts.

Put the #6-32 screws and 1-inch standoffs in each corner of the bottom piece.

For this case, the top piece of plexiglass has a metal loop to hold a reset button.

Insert the on/off button in the metal loop.

Put the top on and align the metal loop to the right front post.

Insert and tighten the top screws.

And you have an ugly case of your very own!

Comments

jompon2547 (author)2017-09-19

not bad

Leathaldose (author)2017-08-21

I love it!!!

About This Instructable

1,903views

7favorites

License:

More by jeff.cartwright.562:The Absolutely Worst Raspberry Pi CaseMy Cord Cutting SystemBuild Kodi / OSMC Infrared Receiver and Reset Hat for Raspberry Pi
Add instructable to: