This is a simple low cost wood case for the Raspberry Pi version 1 rev B that I built based off the Adafruit Pi Box (http://www.adafruit.com/products/859). Assembly is simple, all the pieces snap together so no glue or nails are needed. I used this project as a basic starter for getting comfortable and some experience with small, simple, and cheap woodworking projects before I moved on to tougher and more expensive materials.
Step 1: Materials
- Craft Plywood 1/8(3mm)x12″x12″ (Plywood, not balsa wood. I got two sheets at the local hobby shop for 2.99 each, but a single 12″x12″ sheet is more than enough for a couple of cases. I used about 1/3 of it to make 1 case.)
- Sandpaper (fine grit >180)
- Stain (optional, if you want to stain it)
- Polyurethane (optional, if you want to seal it makes it a little more resilient)
- Small Saw (or use the Dremel cut-off wheels),
- X-ACTO Knife (for cutting the paper template)
Recommended Dremel bits:
- 456 1-1/2″ Fiberglass Reinforced Cut-off Wheels (Cutting out the pieces)
- 561 MultiPurpose Cutting Bit (for the slots)
- 407 1/2″ Sanding Drum (Sanding, Curves)
- 7134 Diamond Wheel Point (Cleanup, adjustments)
- 106 Engraving Cutter (For the etched logo)
- 199 High Speed Cutter (Starting the slots).
Step 2: Measure, Trace, and Cut
- Find a template or use the same one I did. If you can print it on a card stock it makes it a little easier to trace and cut, otherwise regular printer paper is fin, just a little delicate around the edges and smaller gaps.
- Print to right scale. I used the spacing between the Audio and Video components and the ruler tool in photoshop to get the approximate size, I resized the image to get a match, don’t worry about any loss or blurriness.
I simplified the edges to just simple slots rather than locking flexing clips. It was too difficult at that small of scale to accomplish with my skill set.
- Cut out the piece out of paper using an x-acto knife, then trace the shape on to the wood with a pencil.
- Start cutting out all the parts using the Dremel bits.
Step 3: Add Slots and Component Holes
Tip I learned the hard way: Straight lines are the easiest, curves and any angles are tougher/sloppier.
I did the first hole for the video component by hand and it came out very uneven, so for the Audio component I drilled out the hole which made a much nicer cut and symmetric hole but watch out for tearing of the wood on the back side (which is inside the case for me).
Step 4: Assemble and Adjust
As you put together the pieces some of the holes might need to be widened or adjusted slightly to get a smooth fit.
Use the diamond wheel point Dremel bit to make small adjustments, remember that if you cut/take too much you can’t put it back.
I used a set of files to straighten out the edges and slots when my cutting with the Dremel went a little “wavy”.
Step 5: Final Assembly and Finishing
Snap the pieces together. Easiest to do the top/bottom and long sides, then use the short sides to old everything on.
I also sanded away any slot spokes the stuck too far out (see photo note).
At this point the box was complete and usable, but I continued on with staining and sealing it as well as adding a logo to it for decoration.
Step 6: Add an Etched Logo (optional)
Pick a logo that fits, simple is easiest.
Print onto paper.
Using the engraving bit, trace out the shape, apply decent pressure you want a noticeable grove in the surface, I tried to go about a 1/3 of the way through the material. Too much and you can weaken the top, too little and the detail will be fainter/softer.
Step 7: Paint, Stain, Seal, and Use
- After taping around the edges I added a coat of sand-able white primer.
- I used black acrylic paint and kept adding water till I had a wash. You want the paint to flow down into the cracks and off the high edges which takes watering it down a lot.
- Paint all the black areas.
- Lightly sand it using a flat surface, this helps remove any of the wash that stayed on the high edges. Don’t go too much that you go through the layer of primer.
- Touch up any of the white areas with an acrylic white paint.
- Stain as normal, I used Miniwax Oil Stain “Ipswich Pine #221”. Wipe away any extra, let dry.
- Seal with Polyurethane. I did two coats using a water based product with 2 hrs drying time between coats.