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RaspberryPi and Baseboard Enclosure Design

This is one item that has been on the wish list for myself personally as well as feedback we have gotten from users of Reddit. We’ve been hard at work designing a nice enclosure to house this expansion board as well as the RaspberryPi. We have tried several concepts, however the constrains sometimes make a design that looks good on paper, not practical for normal folks. One such example… is this case:

enclosure lid

 

Features, built in screw posts in the base housing, vented lid, decent thickness of material so that it is nice and rugged. Well the problem is the fabrication cost to 3d print this design from a well known third party service: survey says…

ponoko

$423.82 Ouch, that is not going to work!

Our goal is to design a nice enclosure, that is inexpensive, aesthetically pleasing, easy to assemble, and also easy enough that anyone could make the box themselves. If we flatten the same case out and laser cut it, it would be less than $20, but is more challenging to assemble, and some of details were too weak.

flat_laser_cut

We looked into using a finger-jointed laser cut design like you would find on makercase, but felt that going down that route would not fit all of our goals.

We’ve consulted with some local woodworkers, and they felt that the following design would be much easier for them to produce in their garage wood shop without any “cool tools” such as a laser cutter or 3d printer. This concept uses a halved-joint for the front/back to mate with the sides.

flat_case

 

This design still needs a bit of work before it is ready to make. We’ve got to place the holes and squares for the ports to be exposed. Holes need placed for the top/bottom and stand-offs to mount the pcb. “Fillet” or round the edges off of the top and bottom. We’ll keep working on this and hope this design doesn’t end up in the can. One thing we are doing with this design is making it parametric, or “parameterized’ with the use of SketchUp’s Ruby API. If all goes well, our SketchUp extension will be available so that you can easily customize the enclosure to best suit your needs. It will be as simple as entering in new dimensions and the plugin will dynamically generate the panels for you to edit to your own preferences.

sketch_up_paremetric_enclosure