The Raspberry Pi has been around for a few years now. This credit card-sized computer changed the world with its small size and equally small price tag. With countless possible uses for it, it’s always a good idea to protect your Pi with a case. Maybe you have an issue with your starter kit If not, you can easily make your own for almost no cost.
Today I’m going to talk about the different DIY cases you can make for Pi and Pi Zero. You will find that many of these designs can be easily modified to fit almost any small development board. Before you start, it’s worth considering what type of case would be best for you. case as this may vary depending on your usage.
First, let’s take a look at a few handy tools to help with case development. Every version of Raspberry Pi since the original models B v1 has mounting holes that allow you to fix the board on the surface. These vary depending on which board you own, although this handy cheat sheet from Raspberry Pi Spy covers mounting hole locations for all of them, as well as dimensions for the official Raspberry Pi camera module.
For a more detailed study of dimensions, the official Raspberry Pi website has detailed mechanical drawings for each board. These figures show the size and position of each major component and port on the board.
Alternatively, if you prefer not to worry about distance, you can buy a «bare bones» kit that fits all ports and add your own design to the rest of the case.
Once you’ve determined the correct spacing for your board, it’s time to start creating!
For a simple yet effective way to protect your Pi from life’s many hardships, a cardboard case might be the way to go. The designs in this section make sense even if you decide to do something a little more substantial, as each design can be printed and used as a template to ensure proper spacing between ports and GPIO pins.
Shortly after the release of the original Pi, an official forum member called «E» released a design for a paper case called «The Punnet».
This design has been updated by Jerry McManus of the Rural Design Collective to fit modern versions of the Pi. The pdf instructions let you make a simple attachment for your Pi for free!
The Pi Zero doesn’t have an easy design to print and run, although using the board’s dimensions along with an online stencil service will allow you to create something perfect for your project.
One way to build your business is to recycle other old equipment. Almost all of us have old kit pieces that are defective or simply too outdated to be useful now. Why not create the perfect retro case?
This NES case has quickly become a classic in the Maker community and many people prefer to place boards designed to mimic retro gaming in the perfect case. This video from John Riggs of RIGG’d Games takes a look at how he placed his Pi3 B+ model before showing off his retro gaming setup.
This approach works well for the Pi Zero as well, and since it’s much smaller, it leaves a lot more room inside if you need to add any other modules to your setup. In this video by Trevor Saul, a USB hub is included in an old Duck Hunt cartridge next to a Pi Zero.
Continuing the idea of reusing old technology, this case from Instructables user nunopcardoso uses an old CD drive to house a Raspberry Pi along with a power supply and hard drive. The case also has space for a fan controlled by PWM, to cool the whole set.
Even though this design is meant to run the Pi headless adding an additional hole for the HDMI port will allow you to attach a screen. Extra points if you use a monitor from the same period as your CD drive!
Instructables user gardines used an old rotary phone as a case for his daughter’s Raspberry Pi MP3 player.
What if you don’t have an old phone or CD slot? Well, it turns out that you can make a case out of anything. Mingyu Zheng looked to the kitchen for inspiration and created an amazingly professional looking Pi Tin Sardine!
Builds like this are ideal as they fully embrace the concept of reusing things where possible and don’t require a lot of tools to build them.
With the Pi Zero, your options for on-the-fly usage become even wider, as Instructables user Crysknife007 shows us. It turns out that the Tic-Tac box is perfect for placing the board. This has to be one of the easiest and cheapest ways to make a protective case.
There are endless possibilities for these types of cases, and depending on how you plan to use the Pi, you can cut additional holes in the case of your choice to allow access to the GPIO pins, install a heatsink, or whatever accessories you use. in your project.
built by you
We can’t write an article about DIY cases without covering the classics. Lego Pi case. Building your case brick-by-brick allows for a huge amount of customization, and with Lego Digital Designer you can preview your case before building it. This means that you can make the most practical case for your own needs. Or you could of course create ‘Pi Fighter’ instead.
To get the most out of Lego, you can use Bricklink to order the exact bricks you need for your build. Instructables user Darrennie used this approach to design and build a case for the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B.
Many older computer keyboards have enough room in their case to fit a Pi. Ben Heck has gone one step further and created a retro keyboard for his Pi. The assembly is reminiscent of the old BBC Micro computers that are fondly remembered. Not only is this build pretty solid and functional, but it also looks nice and nostalgic.
Wood is another great environment to work in. Reddit user Rbotguy has created a large case with a handle to house his Pi. The case is equipped with a cooling fan and a large battery and is used to simulate artificial life. Not only does it look great, but it includes charging through the circuit, which means it can always work whether it’s mains or battery powered.
This design leaves plenty of room for adding components later, or can easily be scaled down to accommodate a smaller project.
For something simpler, a top and bottom cap will do for many people. User sandshock from Instructables created a stylish oak cover for his Pi for just 10 $ .
This design works well for metal as well. Instructables user natetetete used copper to create a fantastic looking top and bottom cover for his Raspberry Pi 3 Model B.
The benefit of using copper like this is a slight design improvement, allowing the case itself to be used as a heatsink, not only keeping the pi out of harm’s way, but also overheating!
3d Print Your Own
With the advent of 3D printing, more and more people are creating their own designs at home. If you are interested in learning about 3D printing or you are a beginner and want to learn more, check out our guide to !
There are many ways a 3D printer can enhance your experience. as a Raspberry Pi user. One of the benefits of having access to a printer is that there are many pre-existing designs to choose from. Sites like Thingiverse have large communities of craftsmen who make just about anything you can imagine.
For a non-nonsense case that fits snugly and allows access to all ports, look no further than thedude333’s design.
Something that covers a little more of the board and looks fantastic to boot, check out this Walter case design, also on Thingiverse.
If you’re looking for something a little more ambitious, daftmike has a series of YouTube videos showing how he designed and 3d printed a NES clone case along with cartridges to install a retro Raspberry Pi gaming machine.
Along with detailed videos of the hardware and software development process, all projects are available on his Thingiverse profile.
If you’re still using an older Pi model, you’ll also find plenty of options. This beautiful mechadrafter design is for use with the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B.
There are also designs dedicated to the Pi Zero, such as the minimalistic design that includes a USB power control from user Marks.
If you’re looking for something a little more stylistic, Unic8 has designed a case that allows full access to all of the board’s pins and features a futuristic diamond design.
There are countless ways to make your own case for your Pi, from very practical and stylish to incredibly budget-friendly and functional. 3D printing has certainly changed the game in recent years, although whatever tools you use, you can create something unique to keep your little Raspberry friends safe.
Have you designed or built your own case for your Pi?Is there another approach to this that we just haven’t thought of?Show us your ideas in the comments section below!