I just got my Raspberry Pi in after long wait time of about 4 months!!!! If you have not heard of this very cool credit card sized computer, you should definitely check out at their site. Although there are already a lot of cool cases out there, I wanted to design and print my own. After all, we are makers and like having our own, unique toys. I used the CAD software and 3d printer that is available at Techshop to design and print my case.
Step 1: Designing in CAD
I used Autodesk Inventor to design my part and get it ready to print. This is a very powerful piece of software that could easily handle an application like this. If you don't have access to this particular program, there are several free CAD Programs available like 123D.
While designing, I simply measured the location of all the important parts that I needed access to ( USB, Ethernet, HDMI, etc.) and made sure to create the proper sized holes in those locations. Using a pair of calipers is much easier than trying to do this with something like a ruler.
I designed the whole case as one piece, then used the split tool to cut it in half. This made it easy to be sure everything lined up. Also, be sure to design in some way to hold your case together. I did not want to need any extra hardware for my case, so I just designed some T shaped nubs that used friction to hold everything in one piece.
I attached both the top and the bottom of my part to the file here in STL format. If you are making your own file, all 3d printers that I have heard of take files in this format. The files I have saved here are in centimeters, so some scaling may be needed depending on what units your 3d printing software uses.
Step 2: Printing the Case
I printed my case in the Up! 3d printer that is available at TechShop in San Jose. The entire print job took about 3.5 hours total. The settings I used were a 0.2 mm layer height and "normal" speed.
There are services that can print files for you, but it was nice to have a 3d printer available since I had to redesign my part a few times after printing it out. When testing for a fit, It was easiest to just print the bottom half, as that gave me a pretty good idea if the top would fit as well and I did not have to use up another couple hours just waiting for it to print out.
Step 3: Assemble the Case
Now is the easy part. Just put your Raspberry Pi in the case and close it up.
The two tabs in the top should easily slide into the bottom part of the case. These tabs actually held a little better than I expected. I had to use a screwdriver in order to pry them apart.
My goal was to make something that required no tools or hardware to put together and take apart so that it can easily be done on the fly. I nearly accomplished that, as all that is needed is something thin enough to pry the case apart.
Now all that you need to do is start making cool stuff with your Raspberry Pi!