Raspberry PI case with built in surface mount for less than $2

I own two RPI’s one is a media server for my prerecorded TV shows; the other is hooked up to a Motorola Lapdock to run experiments and for educational purposes. I am an engineer who volunteers for the Boy Scouts of America I teach computers at the Rhode Island Merit Badge College and plan on giving my presentation from my RPI. It will also be a web server for those taking the class. In my search for low cost enclosures I saw someone use 2 electrical plate covers as a sandwich with spacers. So I thought what if the RPI could fit into a standard junction box? What I found is that it “just” fit into a 1-Gang 8 cubic inch old work box with flanges.

I tried to keep the tools down to a minimum.

Tools:

Dremel tool (cutting and sanding bits) or hand scroll saw, or vibrating multitool
Drill bit set, I don’t include sizes due to the “English/Metric” thing.
Razor knife
Screw Driver
6/32 Tap (if not you may be able to self tap it)
FilesRaspberry PI case with built in surface mount for less than $2

Step 1: Gather the materials:

1-Gang 8 cubic inch Old work box plastic Home Depot $1.20
Model # B108R-UPC Internet # 100404058 Store SKU # 279670
1-Gang Blank Wall Plate Home Depot $0.59

Model # R52-88014-00W Store SKU # 224175 Store SO SKU # 162677

3-4 6/32 screws (free, these are the same ones used in your PC you must have some around)

4 spare rubber feet from whatever device you have around

PDF of paper RPI case from Punnet (remember to print it full size do not shrink to fit)
http://squareitround.co.uk/Resources/Punnet_net_Mk1.pdf

Spray Paint, whatever you have, though I like the Red.

Step 2: Making the Template

Print out the paper RPI case and cut out each size label them so they stay in sequence.
Cut out the access points for each connector.
Apply them to the junction box in the correct order leave 1/8 inch (+) from the bottom of the case to the bottom of your template.
Use a permanent marker to mark the material to be removed.
Note because of the tight fit, you will have to remove all the way down to the bottom for any connector that protrudes (that is just about all of them).
Use the marker to draw lines from the edge of the connectors to the bottom of the box. Be liberal with this marking, I was more precise and found it way too hard to fit and had to go back a number of times before it would fit right.

Step 3: Start Cutting

With your template all set use a Dremel tool to cut out the audio, video and USB and Ethernet connectors. You will have to cut to the bottom and part of the tab of the case for the Ethernet otherwise you won’t be able to fit the cable in later. The hole in the top is optional but suggested especially for video streamers mine is ½ inch.

To view the LEDs you need to cut a slot near the audio output your template has a marking but leave this for last, once you mount your RPI in the box you can adjust the height, just cut a slot from the audio to the left to the LEDs.

The USB micro power connector is tricky try to leave the tab so that you have 3 points screw it to the faceplate. Leave the LED slot until after you have fitted the RPI in the case to the depth you need to allow all the connectors to be affixed and screws to be fastened. That 1/8 inch I mentioned earlier comes into play here.Raspberry PI case with built in surface mount for less than $2 schematic

Step 4: Fit then Cut Again

You must allow for your RPI feet, and leave space so that no component can touch the mounting holes. It is moot if you do not plan to mount it.. Once you are comfortable with how it fits and sits on a flat surface you can move on.

Step 5: Prepare the Base

Place your case over the Faceplate (flat side up so that the mounting screws can hold it to a flat surface). Center it as best you can and mark the flange holes with a permanent marker.
Drill out the mounting holes with a drill a little smaller than you 6/32 tap (if you don’t have a tap you may be able to self tap it but it may crack). Tap the holes make sure the screws fit.

 

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