OPEN DESKTOP ENCLOSURE for Raspberry Pi or Similar SBC

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Introduction: OPEN DESKTOP ENCLOSURE for Raspberry Pi or Similar SBC

About: Hi, I'm Jelle. I like to tinker, fix stuff, build projects... And I love creating functional objects that help people. I believe in open (ended) design, so I'm here to share my work and be inspired by others' …

An open-design enclosure turning a RaspberryPi, or similar singleboard computer, into a user-friendly desktop PC suited for classrooms. The space inside can be adjusted by using a different board thickness in case you want to add a shield. The parts for this enclosure were produced with CNC-milling and lasercutting. Alternatively, you could also produce all the parts using just a CNC machine, a lasercutter, a 3d printer,or a combination of techniques. All files are supplied.

The idea for this enclosure originated from an internship I did during my industrial design studies at HOWEST Industrial Design Center and Design4(Every)One. I interned at KUBO, an ICT-project for education in The Gambia by Afrodidact. The project entails a complete ICT school-platform with infrastructure based on affordable single board computers like the RPi. While visiting their pilot project prototypes I noticed that the true potential of these mini-computers remains largely unexplored because they are not very (novice)user-friendly. Building a computer-class in a development context poses a set of problems:

  1. Cooling; Oftenly the environment is dusty and/or humid, refurbished old devices don't survive long as they depend on ventilators which clog up very fast. Many singleboard computers can be used without forced ventilation.

  2. Rough use of devices, mainly cables and accessories are subjected to stress as users try to make things work. This enclosure provides a rigid protection to the PCB and components and it sorts, locks in, and keeps in place; the powercable, monitor cable and headphones cable.

  3. Occasion theft; SD cards and accessories like headphones are easy to take and sell on the street. When you're hungry or have little too loose, it's very hard to resist. This is quite understandable, but, when it keeps on happening it can jeopardize a project. The enclosure controls access to the PCB-board, SD-card and headphones with an anti-tamper bolt.

  4. Unexperienced users; What happens when you give your average grandma a Raspberry Pi for christmass? Exactly, nothing. Same happens when you put an RPi in standard box, tape it to the back of a monitor and give it to a Gambian teacher who's ICT experience is limited to a second hand smartphone and Whatsapp. It's a user experience nightmare. Many problems are solved by making sure the onboard LED's are visible for status feedback and by adding a simple on/off button which allows the computer to be started/shutdown quickly without tampering with cables and corrupting SD-cards.

This enclosure has been produced in small series and installed in computerclasses in The Gambia. At KUBO we are now moving on to a new model but I'd like to share the first design with makers, DIY enthousiast and perhaps schools out there. Feel free to adjust the design to your needs and share it here. Also looking forward to see pictures of enclosures built with different materials!

Step 1: Gather Supplies and Tools

Materials:

  • PLYWOOD 200x200x30mm The better the quality, the better it will look. We used B/BB furniture plywood.
  • ACRYLIC GLASS (or alternative) 400x500x4mm

Standardized parts:

  • 4 TORX LOCK BOLT PIN TX20 M5x16 (or use a more common type bolt if access control is not an issue)
  • 5 WOOD SCREWS PZ 3.5x25
  • 4 PCB-SCREWS PAN HEAD PZ M2.6x4 (easy to salvage from old computer or other device)
  • 1 BOLT PAN HEAD PH M5x14
  • 3 BLIND BOLTS M5x16
  • 3 LOCKING NUTS M5
  • 2 BOLTS PAN HEAD PH M5x35
  • 1 BZK SCREW-IN threadnut M4x12
  • 1 PUSHBUTTON Omron B3F4000 12x12x4mm
  • 2 DUPONT jumper cable FF minimum 15cm long

Supplies:

  • woodoil or varnish
  • a bit of solderwire
  • sanding paper

Tools:

  • 3 axis CNC machine with straight 8mm mill
  • chamfer mill
  • thread tap M5
  • 3mm drilbit
  • cross screwdriver
  • size 8mm key
  • soldering iron
  • TORX pin lock bolt bits
  • cordless drill

Having trouble finding parts or materials?
No access or skills in production techniques?
We are offering a DIY package that contains all the parts for 59€. (computerboard and shipping costs not included) All steps requiring specialised tools have been done for you.
For each sold package 10€ goes to Afrodidact's education project in The Swallow School in The Gambia!

SEND ME A DIRECT MESSAGE IF YOU'D LIKE TO PURCHASE ONE OR MORE DIY-PACKAGES

Step 2: Producing the Parts

Produce the parts using the supplied files.

10 LEDTRANSFER (2x)
4mm acrylic glass (we used PLEXIGLASS LED 4mm but standard clear acrylic should also work)
CNC or lasercut

11 SUPPORT
4mm acrylic glass
CNC or lasercut

12 VESA SUPPORT
4mm acrylic glass
CNC or lasercut

13 TILTDOOR
4mm acrylic glass
CNC or lasercut

14 ENCLOSURE VOLUME
30mm plywood
CNC (enclosure_one_block.dxf)
3Dprint (ODE_enclosure.stl)

OR SAVE ON MACHINING TIME AND MILL WEAROUT:
12 + 12 + 6mm plywood
CNC or lasercut (spacerX.dxf files)

15 FRONT
4mm acrylic glass
CNC or lasercut

16 PCBMOUNT
4mm acrylic glass
CNC or lasercut

Step 3: Prepare Parts for Assembly

  1. Thread 3 M5 holes for blind bolts in PCBMOUNT plate (BE GENTLE/CAREFULL TO NOT BREAK PLATE)
  2. Chamfer 5 screwholes in PCBMOUNT plate
  3. Thread 3 M5 holes for bolts in FRONT plate
  4. Remove protection foil from all acrylic parts
  5. Debure edges and outer sides of CNC produced parts with sanding paper
  6. Break away the plastic covers of one side of each DUPONT FF WIRE and slide (+ solder if desired) ends to the PUSHBUTTON legs

Step 4: Assembly A

  1. Mount TILTDOORplate to PCBMOUNTPLATEplate with blind bolds, set sufficient play so frontplate can tilt open, lock bolts with counterlocking nuts
  2. Mount RPi to PCBMOUNTplate with the small pcb screws
  3. Plug the pushbutton to pins 5&6

Step 5: Assembly B

4. Push the LEDTRANSFER plates into the slot inside the ENCLOSURE VOLUME

5. Mount the screw-in thread nut in the ENCLOSURE VOLUME

6. Mount FRONT & SUPPORT plate to ENCLOSURE VOLUME with 3 M5 bolts

Step 6: Assembly Enclosure

7. Mount assembly A to assembly B

8. PREDRILL holes for screws with 3mm drillbit about 20mm deep, then mount screws to secure the assembly

Step 7: Mount Enclosure on Monitor

9. Mount VESA-SUPPORT plate to monitor with 3 M4 (anti-tamper) bolts, adjust vertical position and tighten

10. Slide the enclosure on the VESA-SUPPORT, adjust horizontal position

11. Open the TILTDOOR and tighten the bolt inside the enclosure

12. Connect your cables, mount the SD-card, close the TILTDOOR and lock with (anti-tamper) bolt

Step 8: Code for On/off Button

Step 9: Build a Classroom!

If all went well you now know how to make the OPEN DESKTOP ENCLOSURE and you can do just like KUBO: build an affordable, durable, and user-friendly classroom based on second hand monitors, mouse, keyboards AND, cheap singleboard computers.

Want to learn more about this project?

>> kubo.global
>> ICT4D non-conference video

Having trouble finding parts or materials?
No access to or skills in production techniques?

We are offering a DIY package that contains all the parts at 59€. (computer board and shipping costs not included) All steps requiring specialised tools have been done for you. All you need to do is:

  • deburre CNC'ed wood with sanding paper
  • oil or varnish wood (if desired)
  • connect wires to the pushbutton
  • assemble the enclosure following this instructable

For each sold package 10€ goes to Afrodidact's education project in The Gambia!

SEND ME A DIRECT MESSAGE IF YOU'D LIKE TO PURCHASE ONE OR MORE DIY-PACKAGES

CNC Contest 2020

Participated in the
CNC Contest 2020

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    6 Comments

    0
    kmpres
    kmpres

    9 months ago

    Fantastic project, and a great way to provide a good education to some of the poorer regions of our planet! I like that this enclosure completely avoids fans which are often the first things to go in dusty environments. I'd put a small heatsink on the CPU chip anyway. Could keep it from overheating in classrooms that are not well air-conditioned. Some air ventilation holes in the tilt cover would help as well.

    0
    eellaa
    eellaa

    Reply 9 months ago

    Hi there, thankyou for the positive feedback. So far, we don't have much problems with overheating as the students in the classrooms use the RPi's for low-load applications. If you want to add ventilation holes I would put them in the ENCLOSURE VOLUME as the heatsink will be facing that way :-)

    0
    RaphaelC29
    RaphaelC29

    9 months ago

    Congratulations for the initiative!! Great Job.
    0
    eellaa
    eellaa

    Reply 9 months ago

    Thankyou so much!

    0
    jessyratfink
    jessyratfink

    9 months ago

    Wow, these are fantastic! What a great idea for a computer build. :)

    0
    eellaa
    eellaa

    Reply 9 months ago

    Thank you Jessy!