New improved model
The new cases have been sent out to all those who pre-ordered and paid. A big thank you to all those who have supported this project so far.
Cases are still available Wow, the latest batch of cases sold out in four days, but I have ordered yet another batch and you can still order them using the button below where you will be given my Paypal account details to pay for the case once you have checked out the order. There will be a week or so delay from today, 22nd June, before I can deliver again.
UK including delivery £12.50. Non-UK including delivery £15.40.
Shipping discounts apply for multiple orders and are calculated in the cart.
What changes have been made?
The first four cases were based on the smallest form factor that would sensibly enclose the RasPi. For aesthetic reasons the board sits slightly offset within the case, so that the SD card slot sits centrally within the end plate and the HDMI socket sits centrally within the side plate.
The board itself needs supporting in some way, yet the board’s components sit so close to the edges of the board, even extending beyond it where there are sockets, that it is difficult to devise a way of supporting the RasPi underneath so it sits flat in the base of the case and. The components underneath make it difficult to find places where supports can lie across without hitting anything, unless I make the whole case a little deeper.
A by-product of the first design was that the pieces for the RasPi case’s support cradle were very slim, delicate and vulnerable.
The new design has thus made the case slightly deeper, so the cradle underneath can be a little more durable (but only a little). I have also extended the width and length very slightly, so that the supports can extend vertically either side. The minimum gap is now 2mm on the narrow sides.
I have moved the position of the nut securing slots nearer the edge of the board. This makes assembling the final side much easier. The nuts can be placed on the ends of the bolts and slid into place, leaving enough room to fit the side over its locating tags.
I have replaced the cable tie slots underneath with 3mm mounting holes. Why? Because a cable tie, being made of stiff nylon, does not always bend sharply and because of the small amount of clearance between case and PCB might possibly exert pressure on the underside of the PCB and I do not want to be responsible for failure of anyone’s RasPi.
The M3 mounting holes at least provide the means for affixing the RasPi to another surface or external mounting plate.
The kit of parts
The 2.5mm acrylic comes with protective paper backing both sides, to prevent against scratching during handling. The covering may also help avoid unwanted reflections during cuttting.
The pieces arrived with the unwanted parts already weeded out for me. The edges are very smooth and precise.
I didn’t know how much to compensate for the loss of plastic due to the laser melting away the lines and I also knew that there are tolerances in the thicknesses of the acrylic sheet, which can vary quite a few percent either way. I decided to leave everything uncompensated and see how it turned out. I could compensate on the next batch I thought. There is a slight amount of material removed during the cutting. The little oval raspi badges lost their middles – the slight joining piece I had added was not enough to hold them.
I had wondered how easy it would be to assemble the cases – had I engineered myself into an impossible corner? Happily not and assembly was quite enjoyable. The worst part is peeling all the paper off the pieces.
The RasPi itself sits in a very shallow tray to locate it. This is formed by four long thin crossing pieces – you can see them in the top picture. These do need glueing with a spot of superglue – they fall apart too easily and make assembly difficult otherwise. The only tiny mistake I made in the whole case is that there is a small surface mount capacitor underneath – or it might be a diode, I didn’t look that closely – that is in the way of the cradle. I snipped this leg off and all was well. The board is still supported by 7 out of the eight locating lugs and this is not an issue.
My design relies on four very small 2mm bolts, 10mm long, two on the top plate and two on the bottom, to hold it all together securely while allowing unscrewing for future access to the RasPi. While designing the case I had wondered how difficult it would be to fit these bolts and their nuts – it could be very fiddly. I was wondering if I’d need to temporarily hold the nuts in place with blue-tack or something. In practice I found this was not a problem at all.
I started by assembling the base, the video-and-sound side and the USB end. I inserted the bolt through the side and put a nut loose on the very end. The base and USB side slotted in and the nut fell into its place in the captive hole in the base. I tightened the bolt up and I already had a rigid three sides to work with. The RasPi itself and its cradle then slid home, the USB sockets sliding in to sit flush with the outside of the case.
The card-and-power end was easy to slip into its slots. I then put the remaining top bolt through the acrylic and put a nut on the very end of that. I also did the same thing on the opposite HDMI side. Bolts loose with nuts on end.
Next job was to slide the top piece into place while holding the bolt in place with a finger. It went in like a lamb and I tightened it up. Just the HDMI side left to assemble. Holding both bolts in straight with two fingers this time it was possible to push the side on while allowing the bolts to slip over one side of the acrylic and into their slots. A quick tighten up and the case is complete in a lot less time than it has taken fro me to write this up.
How does it look?
I really am happy with the results. I am my own worst critic so if I am happy that’s usually a good sign for me. I had never done any acrylic design before and many people told me to expect to do a few trial runs first, but it seems I didn’t make any glaring mistakes.
If you haven’t got your RasPi yet, then it will be hard for you to imagine how small this computer really is.
The blue glow in the pictures is from the nearby mouse. I have a mini mouse and even so it is almost the same size as the Pi itself. You’ll love it when you get a Pi. It’s so small and neat.