3D Printed Raspberry Pi 3 Case

Pi3 CaseFor my birthday my wife bought me the new Raspberry Pi 3 with some accessories.  I will be doing some posts on the things I make with it later but for now I had to show off this awesome case.  I recently started going to a Makerspace (details coming soon) called Familab and it is one of the coolest places I have ever been.  I will have to make some additional posts about my experiences there also.

Back on subject, I was able to use the 3D Printer at the lab to print a case for the Pi.  I didn’t get a case when she bought me the rest to save a little money and it was WAY worth it!  To pint the case I just went to Thingiverse and found a case that I really liked.  This is the one I settled on: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:559858  Once I went through a quick tutorial on how to 3D print, I was ready to start my case.  I didn’t make any modifications to the case before printing it as it seemed to be perfect for what I wanted as is.

First, I love the slim design.  Some of the cases I have seen are big and bulky.  With the wireless on the new Pi 3 I like the portability factor. Only having two parts is definitely a bonus also.  Too many parts to a case leaves too much room for failure.  Also the simple way it connects together with the pin and hole design also leaves less to fail.  The see through raspberry definitely gives it a look that is appealing.  It’s not just a functional case but it is also a nice looking design.  The holes in the case are great for heat issues if you intend to do minor overclocking.  Anything major would need a heatsink and a case that could accommodate one.  This case uses very little filament and doesn’t take much time to print at all.  I printed it at 100% fill just to make it more solid and it still didn’t seem to take much time or filament Also because they kept the Pi 3, 2 and B+ the same general design, this case will work for all three.

I have very few complaints about this case.  In fact, so few that I am about to print a second one for my Pi B+.  However, there are always negatives where there are positives.  My biggest issue with the case is the pin posts that hold the case together were too thick to fit in the screw holes of the Pi.  My photos suck so I will add more later to explain what I mean but the posts on the bottom of the case stick up and go through the screw hold of the Pi into the hols on the top portion of the case.  Snapping this case together without the Pi worked pretty good the first try.  However I had to sand down the posts to make them go through the screw holes.  During that process I broke 2 of the 4 posts due to the position of the posts.  The case still snaps in place with two posts but is a little loose.  I plan to just glue it together and break it apart when I am done with this case and ready to print a new one. The posts can be easily fixed in a 3D editor, which I intend to do before printing my next one.

The only other down side I found is, unless you make the posts extremely thin so the top just sits on them loosely, the case may not come back apart without breaking it.  It snaps in place pretty darn good but after that it is on for good.  With that said, access to the ribbon cables is pretty much limited to before the case goes on.  If you plan to do something like plug in the camera module and leave it like that until your ready for a new case (my plan for my B+) then that will work.  But if you are using it for testing or development and want to constantly remove the camera, this case is not really ideal.  I plan to use my Pi 3 for development and testing but without the ribbon cables so this is not an issue for me just yet.

Overall, I love the design and functionality of this case.  It is definitely the best custom case I found so far.  If you have access to a 3D printer and in need of a Pi case I definitely suggest making one of these.  It’s even a lot cheaper than buying one already made on Amazon.


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