So you’ve purchased a Raspberry Pi and now you need a shell to protect your investment. You could purchase one of the many cases available for the Pi but doesn’t that feel like cheating? If your like me you rather build your own case on the cheap while staying true to the spirit of the RasPi.
Below you will find the steps I took to build the case I currently use. The steps are not very detailed as I had not planned on posting instructions at the time. In the future I may provide proper instructions and a downloadable template for printing.
$13 - 14" x 11" x .93" (purchase a smaller sheet if you can find one) $ 0 - M3 PC standoffs (most likely you have some lying around) $ 0 - Cardboard template (Little Caesars pizza is optional, but not free) $ 1 - Clear rubber feet ---- $14 - Apx. Total Cost
The cardboard template was created by simply placing it under the Pi with the SD card and marking some dimensions. I marked the Lexan sheets and cut 2 similar pieces out with my jigsaw. I then clamped the 2 cut-outs together and sanded/polished the edges for a nice finished look.
Placing my Raspberry Pi on the clamped cut-outs, I estimated where I wanted the standoffs to go while allowing enough clearance for the Pi’s various ports. I then marked standoff points in each corner and marked within the 2 holes on the Pi’s PCB onto the Lexan cut-outs. I drilled the needed standoff holes with my drill press while keeping the 2 cutouts still clamped together. I then un-clamped the cut-outs and drilled the mount holes for the Pi’s PCB on the bottom cut-out.
Finally I completed the project by screwing the Pi directly into the mount holes, screwing multiple standoffs together in each corner, and screwing the top plate on. I also added some clear rubber feet for the bottom which I found at my local dollar store.
When I was ready to start hacking with the Raspberry Pi’s GPIO pins, I needed to modify my original design to allow for easy access. I knew a simple cut in the top plate would allow for what I needed so I removed it and marked where the changes should be. To make the cut, I made multiple holes in succession with a drill press. In retrospect, using a dremel tool would have been easier.
I also purchased a USB micro WiFi adapter to remove the need of an Ethernet cable. All of which you can see in the photos below.
Once I began to use the GPIO header regularly, I needed a way to identify the pinouts. The Raspberry Leaf filled this need perfectly.
On the GPIO header I am running a 16×2 LCD display (HD44780 compatible) in 4bit wiring mode. This display is running LCDproc to output various server stats such as CPU and RAM usage. As of now the display is wired via a prototyping breadboard until I make a more permanent design for it. Below you can see the display running a simple “Hello World” script.