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My Raspberry Pi Casing Thoughts

Updated on April 24, 2012

Let's Get Baking

Man I can't wait to get my hands on the Raspberry Pi. For those who don't know the Raspberry Pi is a genius little computer, or more correctly a motherboard. The folks over at the Raspberry Pi Foundation (RPF) over in the UK saw an emergence in smartphones and took the technology to the next level. Sure you can connect your phone to your tv via hdmi, but it's really only useful for video. The RPF thought hmm why not use these micro parts and make a full computer? So they did and I can't wait to get mine. I'm not to happy with the set backs, but it happens.

I've been thinking all computers need a case, and a credit card sized one is no different. I currently have a pencil box I found that I plan to use as a case, but have another idea I probably wont be doing and would like to see. So I'm going to be discussing my main build that I'm manufacturing when my RP comes in, and I'll go over my other idea in the hopes that someone will build it and send me picture :D. So get your aprons on and let's get to baking a hot linux mini machine.

Pi Case
Pi Case

Gathering Ingredients

Here's a list of the ingredients in our Raspberry Pi:

  • 1- 700 MHz Broadcomm processor
  • 1- 256 MB memory
  • 1- HDMI out port
  • 1- RCA port
  • 2- Usb 2.0 ports
  • 1- Ethernet port
  • 1- 3.5mm Audio Jack
  • 1- SD Card Slot

Then of coarse any casing and materials for casing of your choice. Before the price of your casing bits, these should run you $35. Now you're you're gonna get lazy on me and use canned case you can get that for around $12.70-$18.99.

NNM, No Naked Motherboards

Ok so like I mentioned earlier I can't wait to get my RP, which means I do not have it yet. That said I'm gonna have to get creative and use my master (and by master I my rough knowledge that gets me by) photoshop skills to cook me up some doctored images of my completed case. My case as I mentioned is a pencil case I got from my local CVS Pharmacy which was probably a mistake because it cost $10 (+tax). The reason I grabbed it in a hurry at a passing glance was because it was a clear case roughly the size of what I believe would fit the board and a power supply.

My Case of Choice
My Case of Choice

Why is a clear case important one might ask? Well if the case is clear I can light it up which is what's cool these days :D.I already have my spiffy looking desktop which I refer to as Big Blue, so I decided when I get RP I'll go for a green. One black and blue one silver and green, it just seems to flow.

The Finished Product Hopefully

I'm going to go ahead and describe my next picture, which is my finished RP custom case build. Keep in mind I don't have the RP yet, and without that I haven't built the power supply yet so the one pictured is a random circuit board from the internet. Also some of these parts may not be accurately to scale I'm sure the RP is close though.

My case is a clear vault pencil case with a locking latch, I believe the metal is aluminum. I've purchase the $35 RP which there is a $25 version with less ports. My power supply when I get to physically making this computer will be a common 7805 5v voltage regulator circuit. My power source will be a rechargeable 9v battery which will power the RP and the leds. When the project is done I will have another circuit going into the battery to step up voltage coming in through a micro usb charge port.

The leds which are very poorly represented will be placed in the corners for lighting. My lighting is represented with the light green tent to in the case. I have a laptop hard drive to extend my storage space, and a usb hub to multiply usb usability. Then I have a jumper for the audio jack so it reaches the outside of the case. Holes are cut for all my other connections except the RCA which I don't plan to use. When I get this built I'll also end up with a laptop fan or two in there as well. It should be a fun build and a useful little machine which I will dub Little Greeny.

Not counting my hard drive or the parts and cables for extensions and the power supply etc, which I have laying around This build will run me about $55. If we were to take into account all the parts and the hard drive it'll go to about $70. That's not too terribly bad for a linux box that will fit on a bookshelf between the books. Speaking of bookshelf that brings me to the other case idea I had.

Little Greeny
Little Greeny

Shelf This Idea

So I already have my case above, and already have my blueprint for the build, but I had another idea for a custom case which I won't be able to do and would love to see. My idea is to use a computer book and hollow it out to make the RP case. So what would need done is to glue the pages together and cut a section out for the RP and power supply if you choose to use one. Then cut out a full section from the side and put small hinges on it so there is access to all the ports. Then we get kinda frivolous and need to buy a $150 7" usb monitor and install in above our boards. Now we close our book throw it on a shelf and we have a nice little faux book tablet. Unfortunately it wont have touch screen capabilities, you could do that but that just seems annoying and pointless we can get a real tablet for cheaper :D.

So this is my runner up idea which I'm not going to be doing, at least not at this moment in time. So I want someone else out there to do this one and send me some pictures or video. If you have been looking for a custom RP case idea here it is. If you just recently heard of RP from elsewhere or me then feel free to also give this one a try.

That should do it for me on the case ideas for now. If you are just now hearing about the RP then check out some of the hub links below that go into more detail of what the RP actually is. Keep your eyes out for an actual image of Little Greeny here in a few months, because I'll be posting it.


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