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, Aiden here from Core Electronics and we've just gotten our hands on some new Raspberry Pi 3 Model A Plus boards. One of the first things I wanted to do was design a case for it or an enclosure.

We went into 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 here on the bench. Let's get into it.

All right, so we have a tutorial that actually 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 the computer now and I'll show you the tutorial really 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 for how to 3D print your own Raspberry Pi 3 Model A Plus 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 Plus. 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 hasGot a bunch of the files that are used for this design. So we have a quick look and you can notice that the 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. Okay 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 there. Using those I built this really quick model and as you can see this is just a placeholder for the USB connector, the 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 it just like you'd expect. Now we've got access to all of those connectors I was just talking about through the side and 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 actually 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 which 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 reallyGood ventilation is always important when running a Pi unattended. The process of putting the components together is fairly straightforward. Take a quick look at the base and note the standoffs. We use the footprint of the holes on the board from the mechanical drawings and drop them down about four millimetres for a good standoff height. The case itself is nicely dimensioned and almost snaps into place.

There are little tabs on the case that are designed in such a way that they don't require supports. The 45-degree angle allows for printing without supports, and the tabs work well. The lid has a matching piece and an additional chamfer for a nice snap fit.

Once the model is designed, save it as an STL file. If you want to use our models, you can find them easily. Alternatively, you can design your own and follow the same process.

Next, open Cura, our 3D printer slicer. Place the models on the bed and make sure to flip the lid around if necessary. We printed the models using Polylight PLA at a high speed initially, and then reprinted them once we confirmed that everything was working correctly.

If you are using our models, simply flip the lid around to ensure a proper fit.More printable, just like that, and no supports required, nothing like that. I used 20% infill, and everything else was designed with 3D printing in mind. 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 one hour prints. It was actually a little bit quicker than that because we have the aero screeders on our printers now, and yeah, they've come out really nicely. So we'll have a look at what they look like on the bench.

Alrighty, so let's take a quick look at the models that we printed out. They were printed on the TAS6 with Polylight 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 on 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 actually orients just like that on top. If 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 connector has actually got fins that sort of protrude out past what the hole was designed for, we put a nice fillet on the edge of the case there, so it actually works out really nicely, and the pie 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've got access to those connectors, just like we spoke about. So let's just double-check that they all connect in, which they should. So the HDMI goes in nicely, plenty of room to spare. The micro USB for power should slot.In 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 we 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.

Now that it's all snapped together, we haven't lost any access to any of those connectors on the board, which is really great. It marries up nicely with all the different parts of the case, which was quite easy to do. That's nice. On the top, you've got the ventilation holes, which are located just over the main system on chip. And up the top here, 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.

That's pretty much our case for the Raspberry Pi Model A Plus. 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 on our forum and post a question 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 in the next one.



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