So you've got your Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ and need a case to house it in. In this short guide we're going to step through the considerations you should take when designing your own case, as well as provide you with all the files you need to 3D print ours! Don't have a 3D Printer? That's understandable, we've got 3D Printing services that you can use to get one printed and sent off to you. Let's dive in!
Hey there, Aidon here from Core Electronics and we've just gotten our hands on some new, Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ Boards.
One of the first things I wanted to do was to design a case for it or an enclosure. We went into a fusion 360 designed a nice little case, that houses everything and gives you access to all the bits and pieces on the Raspberry Pi board, so we're going to show you how we designed it, run through the top level stuff and then we'll have a look at printing it and the finished product on the bench. Let's get into it.
All right, so we have a tutorial that outlines everything I'm about to talk about, which you can access via the link which, will be below us or above us. We're going to jump on a computer now and I'll show you the tutorial quickly and we'll have a look at all the bits and pieces that went together to bring you this case. So here we are on our tutorial page. How to 3D print your own Raspberry Pi 3 model A+ Case, so here we are. Up the top now like we say up the top here we're going to 3D print our own because we have 3D printers here but if you don’t, we have a 3D printing service which you can jump on and use to be able to get your own bits and pieces printed if you're a maker in Australia. So, the first thing that you'll probably be on the hunt for when you're designing any case is mechanical drawings of the board that you're using. So we got the mechanical drawings for the Raspberry Pi 3 model A+, it's just here you have a quick look at it, I've also linked this as part of the resources on the tutorial, so if you jump down the bottom you'll be able to find this attachment here, which is got a bunch of the files that are used for this design. So, we have a quick look and you can notice that there's "Z" heights are included for all the different components on board that require extra clearance in the "Z" dimension and all the information you could possibly require, is here listed. So, the next thing we'll do is open fusion 360 and just have a quick talk about what we did to get our design working.
Ok, so here we are in fusion 360 and you can see I've got my entire case assembled here, built up from those mechanical drawings. So what I did was I first off opened up those mechanical drawings, open those up which you can find here, it's a PDF document, using those I built this really quick model and as you can see this is just a placeholder for the USB connect other power connector the HDMI, I've got the three and a half mil jack USB connector on the end and a few other things including the GPIO there and I even threw in the SD card so you could have access to that in the model. So, once I built that up, I then went about building the case around it, so you can see that the case slots in all around just like you'd expect. Now we've got access to all those connectors I was just talking about through the side in the front of the case, we've got the top of the case here with the GPIO and a nice chamfer there, so you can get access to the pins that would be sitting in there. On the rear side a similar sort of thing for the SD card, so you've got that chamfer as well, it makes it just a little bit easier to get your fingers in there and remove the SD card and of course the holes in the top of the case actually give you really good ventilation, so that's always important when you're running a PI unattended. So that's pretty much the whole process of throwing that together. Have a quick look at the base because these standoffs we use the footprint of the holes on the board from the mechanical drawings and just drop them down about 4mm for a standoff, that works well but the case is nicely dimensioned, so it almost snaps in there. The other thing to note is these little tabs that you can see, they're designed in such a way that they don't require supports because that 45-degree angle just here, it's printed in this orientation, so when it prints no supports and it works as a good little tab. If you look at the lid it's got the matching piece and an additional little chamfer, which works incredibly well for a nice snap fit. So once I finished designing that model, we just went ahead and right clicked it there saved it as an STL, I'll show you where you can find those if you want to grab ours and if not you can design your own and do the same thing and then we'll jump into Cura which is our 3D printer slicer and have a look at how that worked.
All right, so here we are in Cura, I've got my models out on the bed and there was one thing that I had to do, which was just flip that lid around I had the luxury of printing these on separate printers as well but we just used poly white PLA, we did it at a nice high speed just to get it out and then reprinted it once we knew that it was working as a standard print. So, all you'll need to do if you were printing our models is just flip that lid around to make much more printable just like that and no supports required nothing like that, I use 20% infill and everything else was designed with 3d printing. So, you'll notice that all these little smaller features as small as they are, are still going to be printed, which is great. So yeah, you can see that it came out running our prints we have the arrow screws and our printers now and so the come out quite quickly and they have come out nicely, so we'll have a look at what they look like on the bench.
Alright, so let's take a quick look at the models that we printed out they were printed on the tower six with poly light PLA and like I said before if you don't have a printer that's not a problem we can print them for you just jump in our 3D printing services and ask the questions if you have them. So, this is the model printed, this is the lid that matches the model, like I said it's got that ventilation hole and the GPIO pin hole there, so it's orients just like that on top. We have a look at the front side of the model, you've got nice access to the single USB connector and although the USB connect has actually got fins that sort of protrude out past what the hole was designed for, we put a nice fill it on the edge of the case there, so it actually works out really nicely and the Pi slides in just like you want. All the holes line up with the standoffs underneath which is ideal and on this side of the board you got access to those connectors just like we spoke about. So, it's just double check that they all connect in, which it should, so the HDMI goes in nicely, plenty over into spare, the micro USB for power should slow them nicely as well, which it does and that's not bad at all. Now we'll see what it looks like when we whack the lid on. So, I've got the lid here, it's got some matching connectors like you saw in the design part on fusion and we're just going to match them up and press fit the case in, so it should just snap together, that's the intent and that is exactly what we wanted. So now that it's all snapped together, we haven't lost any access to any of those connectors on the board, which is great, and it marries up nicely with all the different parts of the case, which was quite easy to do. So that's nice. On the top you've got the ventilation holes, which is located just over the main system-on-chip and up the top you've got the GPIO pins, which anyone that uses Raspberry Pi knows you always want access to those if possible, so you'll be able to get your female jumper leads in there or maybe even a female header and plug it straight in, if not I've got all the fusion files and the bodies that we used in this video in the tutorial links. So, you'll be able to download the files and have a play and make it work for your project if you needed it.
So that's pretty much our case for the Raspberry Pi model A+, now we're full time makers in the heart of Newcastle, Australia. So, if you have any questions to do with raspberry Pi, 3D printing, Arduino, anything maker related we can help and we're happy to, so jump in our forum and post a question in there and our tech team will get back to you as soon as they possibly can. I hope you've enjoyed the video and the process of designing this case it was a lot of fun and I'll see you the next one.