Introduction: Plug & Play Tiny Raspberry Pi Network Server

About: Master student in Computer Science & Information Engineering, one of the developer of ArOZ Online Project. I love making something no one has thought of. If you like making things that seems not possible, send…

Recently, I got my hands on two Raspberry Pi 1 Model A+ for cheap. If you haven't heard of Pi Model A, it is one of the earliest form factor of the Raspberry Pi that is larger than a Pi Zero and smaller than a standard Raspberry Pi.

I always want to have a Pi zero that has a build in Ethernet port instead of WiFi interface. Why? Because I like Ethernet more than WiFi. Fast, low latency and you do not need to set it up in order to access your pi via your laptop / smart phone. That makes using the pi much more easier and quicker in a situation where you just want to have a ssh terminal to play around.

In this instructable, I will be showcasing my little side project of building a portable, Plug & Play mini Raspberry Pi network server that can also act as a very slow NAS.

Step 1: Get the Components

In this quick project, you will need basically the following things

  1. Raspberry Pi Model A (Pi 1 or Pi 3 will do, you can get the Pi 3 if you prefer WiFi)
  2. USB to Ethernet adapter
  3. 2.1mm DC Input Jack
  4. M3 x 10 screws x 4
  5. A 3D printer or access to 3D printing services

Step 2: 3D Printing Case

The first things you want to do is start 3D printing the case. You can get the 3D model over here:

The 3D models are designed with no supported needed in mind.

The case is designed to print with two different color. Feel free to decide which color you want :)

Step 3: 3D Printing Case (Advance)

In the events where your USB to Ethernet adapter does not fit into the case, you can go ahead and download the source model files from thingiverse and edit them using Autodesk Inventor 2015 (or above).

You can also make adjustment to the case to fit your needs.

Step 4: Parts Assembly

To assemble the system, you simply need to plug your USB to Ethernet adapter into the Pi A's only USB port and place them into the case. The next things you want to do is insert a MicroSD card into the slot of the Pi A. Finally, put on the case cover and secure it with 4 M3*10 screws.

Step 5: You Are Now DONE

And that is how you get a Plug and Play Raspberry Pi Network Server.

So, lets move on to the Software that power this system.

Step 6: Choose Your Own Software / OS

There are a lot of choices for choosing software like OMV or NextCloud but I have developed my own Web Desktop System named "ArOZ Online" for the slower Pis that you can check it out over here:

(And I will skip those software setup tutorial because it is not in the scope of this project. You can read more about it on the Github Page)

After setting up my own ArOZ Web Desktop system and access it through Firefox browser, this is what it shows on the Host Information tab (See the image above).

Yes, it is a Pi 1 Model A+ running a Web based desktop interface with a 700 Mhz CPU. But it is more than enough to do what I wanted to do - serving music files and documents on the go.

Thanks for reading this quick instrutable, I hope this project inspire you something new to do when you are being locked down at home :))