Made: Raspberry PI 3 case

Part/Model:Raspberry Pi 3 Case
Designer:Adam Draper
Printer:Geeetech Prusa i3 Pro B
Slicer:Cura 3.6
Layer Height:0.14
Extruder Temp:190°C
Notes:Still needed blue tape to assist with bed adheasion
Link:PLA+ Filament 1.75mm
Print Time:x
Material Used:x
Final Thoughts:x
Design Score:8/10
Print Score:5/10
Final Mark:6/10

Raspberry Pi’s are great little processors with plenty of potential functionality and utility. Hobbyist, like myself, will spruik about how awesome these petite computers are and all that can be done with them.

One of my common uses for the Pi is enabling a 3D printer to have network capabilities (ethernet and wireless) with the use of a dedicated Pi running Octoprint. For the best part of two years I have had this very setup on a Pi 3+ on the Creality CR-10, enhancing it to make it a more practical and functional machine. But this Pi was left in a state of perpetual semi-homelessness after being housed in a half completed (and half assed) case, courtesy of myself.

The Pi case originally intended to be used was found on Thingiverse, designed by iTerminate to be used on a 2020 aluminium extrusion frame. This housing would have been perfect for use on a CR-10’s frame except for one small issue – that being past me was being a half-job-Bob and only printed the base for the case and not the top. My thinking at the time was “I just need something to keep the Pi off the desk”. Fast forward almost 24 months later and the Pi was still just in the bottom half of the case feeling sad and forgotten…

At present, I have a smallish project up-coming for the month and needed to rectify this lack of a housing for the Pi and once and for all be in a case of its own. But as I will be most likely swapping this case out again in the not too distant (but unspecified) future I didn’t need anything too over the top. As mentioned just enough to keep the board off the desk, no need for anything fancy or snazzy.

For what should be a simple and straight forward decision, there’s a lot of variations, options and styles in existence – some better than others. I came across this design on MyMiniFactory by designer Adam Draper. It’s a nice simple and minimalist design and will do for the application which I intend to use for. Given the nature of where it is being installed and what will be coming up in the short-term future this was the logical choice for me and my application although I don’t think the design would suitable for all purposes.

I really like this design, its minimal form shows off the PI’s electronics rather than encasing and hiding it away like most other electronic enclosures would normally. Having the sides open also allows for a bit of ventilation and airflow across the PCB which I’m sure the little processor on the board would be thankful for. There are no optional variations of the design just two parts a top and base and that’s it, there are slots for the micro SD card, ribbon cables for breakout IO devices and for the Pi camera, simple but really that’s all it needs. 

Previously when printing relatively thin parts, for example thicknesses of 5mm and less, I would normally have programmed a normalish infill percentage around the 20% mark with usually 4 top layers and 4 bottom layers which would work okay until I had to screw things into and out of the part. This tended to lead to delamination of the top layers and other occasions if there was too much flexing and bending of the part the top/bottom layers would come away also. For this print I made the decision to use 100% infill on both parts and am glad I did so, it feels solid (because it is) and durable compared to what I had been doing prior – trying to skimp on a few cents worth of filament and using a stingy infill percentage.

The case printed well and because of the simplicity of the design required no supports, after all it’s just a flat profile with provisions for 2.5mm screws to hold the top half to the bottom after.

As expected, print quality from the Geeetech was the only real issue encountered on the final printed product. While the design is simple enough for the machine to handle, especially with no supports, it is still experiencing an issue of too many steps per millimeter causing over extrusion. As a result some critical dimensions, such as cutout areas for USB and network port/s, were oversized and too tight to fit properly. This was the only real print issue which was experienced but was fixed with a light once over with a single cut file, after this correction the cut-outs slotted into place with no problems. The problem remains on the printer and I will need to fix in the firmware in order to better produce dimensionally actuate prints for future projects.

Overall, this modest and elegant case will do the job for my Raspberry Pi for the next month or two. Was happy with the result but as with recent prints on this printer will need some time to further dial in the machine itself.

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