Two Part Raspberry Pi Case

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As I'm sure many of you know the Raspberry Pi launched a few weeks ago (www.raspberrypi.org). As the initial units will ship without a case I decided to make one. 

The case was modelled using Pro Engineer CAD software and then rapid prototyped by a company in the UK (more about that later).

One disclaimer before we start - I'm currently on the huge waiting list to get a raspberry pi so this case has been designed around the official dimensions for the device. Until I get my hands on one of the units I'm unable to guarantee it will actually fit. 


Step 1: What Is the Raspberry Pi?

"The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard. It’s a capable little PC which can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It also plays high-definition video. We want to see it being used by kids all over the world to learn programming."

- source - The Raspberry Pi Foundation - www.raspberrypi.org/faqs

Step 2: Get the CAD Files

It took quite a lot of modelling in CAD to get the case looking the way I wanted.

The files were exported in the STL format. I'll go out on a limb and say 99% of 3D / rapid prototyping machines will work with this file format.

The STL files can be downloaded from the 123D gallery:

Part 1

(URL) http://www.123dapp.com/AssetManager/Index.cfm?stgaction=getProduct&subaction=preview&step=1&inttype=4&intproductid=601741#.T3GxCIPNQKA.email

Part 2

(URL) http://www.123dapp.com/AssetManager/Index.cfm?stgaction=getProduct&subaction=preview&step=1&inttype=4&intproductid=601746#.T3GxXFXry9o.email

Alternatively they can be downloaded directly from this instructable

Step 3: 3D Printing

Many members of this site will know far more about 3D printing and rapid prototyping than I do, but here's a brief overview of your options to get this case printed:

Homebrew printer - There are a number of kits available which allow you to build your own 3D printer - such as the makerbot (http://www.makerbot.com/). I'm sure there are also a few instructables out there that also show you how to make your own 3D printer from scratch. Making a printer, even from a kit, is a very time consuming and potentially complicated process so building one is not for the faint of heart. Once you have your own printer though, you can print pretty much anything - including the parts from this instructable!

Online service - there are a few companies which now offer a service where you can upload your own model, they will then print your model and post it back to you. Shapeways is one such company (www.shapeways.com). As you'd expect the cost per model is a lot higher than using your own printer, but if you only plan to print a few models a year then this could be the option for you.

Bespoke order - Lots of rapid prototyping companies exist, both in the UK and around the world. It may be possible to get your parts printed by them.

As I do a lot of rapid prorotyping as part of my Job, I already had a contact for getting this part made. I used a company in the UK called CRDM (www.crdm.co.uk) and the part was printed using a "HP Designjet color 3D printer" (www.hp.com/go/designjet3D).

Overall I was very impressed with the results.

Step 4: Model Finishing

The two parts of the case fit together by locating the six pins in the 'lid' part into the six holes in the 'base' part.

As with any type of prototyping, there is bound to be something you haven't thought of. In my case it was not taking the material shrinkage into account.

It was necessary to open up the 6 mounting hole using a dremmel. I used a 2.5mm drill bit to make these holes a little oversized.

Step 5: Conclusions

Overall I'm very happy with my case.

Once I have my Raspberry Pi, I will test that it fits inside the case - If modifications are required I will update the CAD and this instructable (I'll also probably fix the problem with the undersized holes).

For now this case is going to have to sit on my desk and look pretty, while I patently await the delivery of my raspberry pi board.

I've also entered this instructable into the Make it Real Challenge (https://www.instructables.com/contest/makeitreal/) So please vote if you liked this instructable.

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    29 Discussions

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    rossturner

    6 years ago on Introduction

    The case does not fit because of the sound port, everything else is spot on had to cut round it to make it fit. really cool case thou, but going to work on the sound port issue and repost with STL File 

    5 replies
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    Major Peelrossturner

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Hi,

    Is there any chance you could send me a few photos of the incompatability with the sound port? I'll try and get an updated CAD model out soon.

    I'm still on the never ending waiting list in the UK for my raspberry pi - so I'm unable to verify anything.

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    rossturnerMajor Peel

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Hi Joe,

    As you can see the audio port hole was too far left.... everything else was spot on.

    i sent you a private message via instructables, if you could convert your original file into a IGES, STEP, or Parasolid. ( i use solid works)

    I could do the fix and send it back for you. 100% guaranteed fit.

    Cheers

    Ross

    photo 5.JPGphoto 1.JPGphoto 2.JPGphoto 3.JPGphoto 4.JPG
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    kividrossturner

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Hi Ross,
    Did you ever get the model updated/fixed? I'd be interested in them, if you got them corrected, assuming Joe doesn't mind.

    Thanks,
    Gregg

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    Major Peelrossturner

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks Ross,

    I've just sent you an email. Would you be able to measure the centre distance between the audio and video port? and the width of the SD card reader. I'll need to fix both these issues for version 2.0

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    wflynn

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Any chance you could supply the 123d files? I have an RPi and can check it out. Plus I have a few ideas for it.

    1 reply
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    Major Peelwflynn

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    The models weren't created in 123d they are just hosted there - What CAD file formats can you work with? I'll do my best to send you something

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    static

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Respectfully the case appears to be lacking anything in the way of RFI suppression On the supplied files it would be nice to be able to look at them without needing to create one more account on the web

    1 reply
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    rossturner

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Hi Joe,

    Just printed off the bottom part looks pretty awesome

    photo.JPG
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    MR.Geo

    6 years ago on Step 4

    If I were to make this project I would have used small screws because it makes the box easier to get into whilst still being secure. Why did you opt for pins as opposed to any other fixing method?

    2 replies
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    Major PeelMR.Geo

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Screws would either involve using wood type screws which cut their own thread as they enter the material or using a tap to cut a thread or using a nut a bolt arrangement. I wasn't confident that any thread in the 3d printed material would last very long and using a nut and bolt would be quite awkward.

    Besides the raspberry pi was made for hacking :) so I think the lid will be getting removed and replaced quite often, constantly removing screws would get very annoying very quickly.

    If anyone has a different idea for the fixing mechanism I might implement this in case 2.0

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    willrandshipMajor Peel

    Reply 6 years ago on Step 4

    Nuts and bolts can be made far less akward by having a hex-shaped slot the nut fits in. That way there's no need for a wrench or some holding method while screwing it in.

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    willrandship

    6 years ago on Introduction

    It looks like you rendered the model with the beta SD card connector, but keep in mind production models won't have the metal sticking out of the board, or at least nowhere near as far.

    Hey, great job on this!

    I want to make one but I'm wondering, where did you find the dimensions and locations of connectors on the board? I scoured the internet and couldn't find any when I was planning on doing my own case in rapid proto, I was just going to wait for more documentation or my board itself. I may lose access to the RP machine before I get my raspberry pi so I need to print the case before I'll have it in-hand from Newark.

    Just wondering where you got the dimensions. Great job.

    1 reply

    I found a STEP model of the Raspberry Pi posted by someone on the raspberry pi official discussion forum. I then checked the dimensions of the CAD model against all the official documentation I could find.

    I'm reluctant to post the files here as the CAD of the raspberry pi is not my work. Once I find the the discussion post I'll share the link here.

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    MrRedwood

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Can you add a photo showing scale? Perhaps the case held in someone's hand, or next to a common object? A bowl of raspberries would be great, but it's a bit out of season.

    1 reply