Picture of The Triptych - A Portable Arduino Workshop
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trip·tych [trip-tik]


  1. Fine Arts. a set of three panels or compartments side by side, bearing pictures, carvings, or the like.
  2. a hinged, three-leaved tablet, written on, in ancient times, with a stylus.

In this project, we'll be building the Triptych, a portable Arduino workshop. It's a self-contained, portable (Trip, get it?) solder station, Arduino workstation (through the Arduino IDE running on the Raspberry Pi), and configurable parts storage. As the name suggests, it's made in three parts, with the left and right sides folding open to reveal the workstation inside. Check out this short video.

There are a few different aspects this Instructable will cover.

  1. Setting up the Raspberry Pi (aka RPi) as a self-contained computer. This includes an HDMI monitor, Bluetooth keyboard, wireless mouse, speakers, and a WiFi dongle.
  2. Setting up the Arduino IDE to run on the RPi. Specifically, how to install the provided ISO image to work with RPi. I've also included some detail about and links if you want to try installing the IDE yourself.
  3. Designing and building the case itself - I'll provide the DXF files, but also discuss what tool chain to use to design your own box.
  4. Mounting the RPi and all other required electronics.
  5. Designing and building the stackable shelves
  6. Stocking it with all the goodies required for a basic kit

In most cases, I've tried to provide a shortcut if you just want to build one, as well as some detail if you want to know more about how I built it.

Once again, I used the RedSail 80watt lasercutter from my local hackspace, VHS to cut the parts. If you want to build one quickly, I would recommend buying exactly the same parts that I've used, as the RPi image is built for this setup. Of course, if you want to experiment, go for it!

Footnote: Why you should join a hackspace
It used to frustrate me to no end when I would see an awesome Instructable that required some specialized tool like a laser cutter, water jet cutter, 3D printer etc. Having neither the space nor the money for these fancy tools, I would try to to replicate patterns on a scroll saw, or by some other means. Given my lack of actually woodworking skill, that quickly became an exercise in frustration. That's when I started looking around for folks that might actually have these tools and be willing to share and teach. I was turned on to my local hackspace and never looked back. If you're the type of person that enjoys Instructables, I promise you'll find great resources in tools and brains at your local hackspace. If there's no hackspace near you, start one! Trust me, the cool tools will follow.

casey0106 months ago

I'm jelly right now Lol That's the hottest benchwork box I've ever seen !

This is a REALLY cool project but how much did this cost? I'm thinking about building one, but I'm a little strapped for cash. Thank you!

Very cool Instructable. I think i will try to make this. And thank you for the Raspi-Image.

But You don't need to use Win-Rar for Compression. 7-Zip can handle this :-)


7-Zip is under GNU LGPL

That is one sexy portable workbench.

I think that function is everything, but if you can squeeze a little art into - even better. I liked the surprise when you open the box that there are artistic cutouts in the sides.

My unbidden suggestions are:

1) The box where the monitor lives - maybe you should stain the interior a dark color, or line it with a dark color of felt. The powerstrip and cables would not be visually prominent, and the lit screen would. And,

2) Behind the drawers, you could hodgepodge in some useful cheat sheets, or giant robot blueprints, or any kind of art that turns you on. I would totally laminate something cool in there.

Anyway - I'm not an Arduino guy, but your portable workshop makes me want to be. It's just that cool.

maewert1 year ago

Beautiful job! I think I need one of these to keep all my Arduino and RasPi work neat. I now use an inexpensive 13" LED TV and just hot glued the power strip and powered USB hub to it and attached the wireless keyboard and mouse using velcro, but your build provides more protection and more organization for all your tools and supplies. Maybe I'll beef up the box top and add a handle instead of the strapping. Oh and maybe we could use a retractable 5 foot extension cord to power it.

Best Wishes

NEIN (author)  maewert1 year ago

Thanks! Those are all good suggestions. A handle would be a good addition if the wood was a bit thicker. I think a set of wheels and a long handle (like airline luggage) would be a nice touch. The full box weighs about 28lbs. Great idea with the retractable cord too. I'm not sure there's room for it in mine, but it could easily be done if it was planned out from the beginning.