Pibow

If you’ve listened to interviews we’ve given about the general fantasticness of our community, you’ll have heard us mention more than once that that very fantasticness has, on occasion, made us alter the direction the Foundation has planned to take things in. (Raspbian, a Raspberry Pi optimised distro which came out of the community, and which you should already have upgraded to because it’s 40% faster that Squeeze, is a great case in point.)

What’s that, you ask? Keep reading for an explanation.

One of the most surprising about-turns for us came over casing. We had solid plans on getting an official case designed, once we’d sold enough Raspberry Pis that we could afford the injection moulding for large numbers, and selling that alongside the Raspberry Pi. But a cases ecosystem appeared almost instantly once the Raspberry Pi was in the community’s hands, and people started to get very excited about making their own, either for home use, or to sell. And we like that, because we believe the world runs on entrepreneurship, and hope that from small case-companies great things will grow. We also like the fact that the Raspberry Pi acts as inspiration to kids to go and make their own; physical making as well as digital hacking is something we really want to encourage.  (The educational release will come in a very bare-bones case, but we hope that one project that schools will take on as soon as they get them will be getting kids to make their own cases, either using that bare case as a base for their design, or making new ones from scratch.)

Pibow set up

So we’re not giving any one case official Raspberry Pi Foundation status. But if you’re still looking for one and don’t own a lathe and a laser cutter, the closest you’re going to come to such a thing is the Pibow from Paul Beech, who designed our logo, does our letterheads and business cards, and is currently working on the Foundation’s new web site design. (Paul posts as @guru here and on our forums.) Lots and lots of you send Eben and me your cases in the mail (soon we will need a larger house to keep them all in), and I should make it clear that I’m not featuring Paul’s here because he works with the Foundation, but because his case is one of the most solid – absolutely no rattling – and best-looking cases I’ve seen yet. (He’s donating a proportion of the profits to the Raspberry Pi Foundation, the GIST Foundation and his local Access Space, which we’re very grateful for.)

There’s even a clever slot for GPIO ribbon cable if you’re doing a spot of physical computing with your Pi.

Paul introduced me to a prototype Pibow at Games Britannia a few weeks ago. About eight seconds after he removed it from his bag, a small girl barrelled up to us and said: “Is that a Raspberry Pi case? It’s LOVELY. Where can I get one?” He then showed us a newer prototype in the pub after the Cambridge Raspberry Jam last weekend, and a cluster of grown men holding pints said: “It’s FANTASTIC. Where can I get one?”, so I reckon he’s got most bases covered.

I agree with the little girl. It’s lovely. You can get one from the Pibow website, I think it’s the nicest retail case I’ve seen, and I want one. Hint hint, Paul.

103 comments

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You don’t realise just how fragile the Pi could be without a case, until I was a little over protective of my 8 year old the other day and have been trying to keep it ultra safe….And that really defeats the purpose of having one! (By the way Scratch on Raspbian is wonderful.)

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Why Nuts under the bottom-plate, if you make the bottom plate thicker, you can cut threads for the screws.

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Looks like the nuts double as feet. I like it.

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They do double as little feet, which is quite handy. They also aid airflow, and while we’ve had no problems with heat so far (the Pi never gets more than warm, we’re playing safe for those that want to fold proteins 24/7 on their Pi, or do other weird and wonderful things with their Raspi :-)

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Paul,
a lovingly piece of caseing you did there, great stuff!

You just mentioned folding… actually, I *am* eager to let my Pi fold [email protected] (I’m on team 89752 BTW) – but alas, I cannot find sources or binaries. You don’t have any hint or me, by chance?

Keep up the great work,
Oliver

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I’m no help here as I rarely compile from source. Try the Forums, the IRC channel, or search on Twitter. You tend to find the edgy information there.

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Threads in plastic strip out very easily. A threaded metal insert in the plastic would be ideal, but that requires an injection molding process.

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Ordered! Amazingly simple to order using Amazon Checkout. A nice touch.

The case looks good, but I am rather fond of my naked Pi. Decisions decisions …. ;-)

Cheers,
Norm.

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Buy another Raspberry Pi so you can keep it nude while the other one is nice and snuggly in a case. ;)

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50 Shades of Pi? ;-)

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Ew.

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Sorry Liz, I didn’t mean to go that far! I promise not to do it again.

Cheers,
Norm.

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50 shades of Cray? Better?

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Only moderately. Still ew.

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That looks awesome! Been looking for a decent case for a while, couldn’t resist ordering one of these. :)

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I love the functional design of this case, but not the colours.
Would an all-transparent / all-black/grey/white version be cheaper?

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We don’t do ‘cheap’ :-)

One of the nice things about the layer design is that it’s adaptable and expandable. So expect something more to your taste in the future.

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This case is BRILLIANT. I love the fact that it’s layered, assembles, and it has little spacers.
I want one!

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One ordered. Thanks for the tip!

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I would love it in all clear layers. Any possibility it will come in other colors?

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Yes, it’s possible. For now we’re offering the shiny, rainbow, retro, brony, pride colours, kid-magnet as it’s ‘different’ and mesmerising.

When we do other stuff, we’ll shout about it :)

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It would be great if the layers were all offered in different colors individually. That way we could all have custom configurations!

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That’s be pretty lush. It’s something we’ll put on our list once we work out how to do it :-)

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Apple once used rainbow colors in their logo, hope they don’t decide to come after you thinking they own all rainbow colored computing devices.

An all clear one would be cool.

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Will the new case ship with the Pi if I order one now?

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No; like I said, this is not an official case, and it’s sold by different people from the people who are selling the Raspberry Pi. You’ll need to order them separately.

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And just like the raspberry pi itself, it’s cool but not open source. :(

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At the moment we’ve made a commitment to make the shipped design files available under CC Non-Commercial licence. This is not the same as Open Source, we know, but we aspire to the good examples Limor Fried sets with Adafruit and what the Sparkfun guys do.

Once we’re more secure in our business, we’d love to do things the Open Hardware/Open Source way :)

I know that’s all a bit ‘Jam tomorrow’, but bear with us, fortunately we have an easier job then the Foundation with getting to the right place in terms of Open Source.

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While you’re talking about Adafruit and Sparkfun… I would LOVE to be able to buy the Raspberry Pi from this websites. They are much more in the spirit of the Raspberry Pi/open source community than the current shops…

I won’t order any Raspberry Pi until I can buy from webshops I trust.

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Released under CC is fine by me. I’d love the schematics to make a version out of wood. Each layer as a different type of wood would look brilliant.

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Now that wood be nice! (See what I did there?)

Cheers,
Norm.

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Love it! Ordered one…

Steve

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I met Paul at the Cambridge event last weekend. I have to say, after playing with the prototype he had on hand, this is a very well thought out piece of kit.

If you’re looking for something durable that tightly secures the Pi and you don’t mind a little DIY assembly, then this is the case for you.

I’ve placed my pre-order. It’ll be worth every penny I’m sure :-)

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I ordered… The GPIO slot is perfect for what I need!

I especially like the fact you can look in. When you want to show (or tech) someone the inner workings of the Pi… its all there without opening it up.

I also have a modmypi case but I have to say I would not have ordered it when I say this!

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The colour scheme looks like a bit of a nod to the ZX Spectrum perhaps?

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…which is a bit of a nod to…you know…the *actual* spectrum!

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It’s the ciiiiiiiiiiiiiircle of light! Haaaand it moves us aaaaaaaaaalll.

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although the rainbow isn’t quite right :)

Poor(pink?) Richard Of York Gave Battle Poorly? (purple?)

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We *had* to have the Raspberry colour on top though Russell!

Sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion!

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It’s quite clearly “Magenta” – one of the 8 colours the ZX Spectrum was capable of. The order on the keyboard single-key entry legends is Blue, Red, Magenta, Green, Cyan, Yellow, White, Black. The Pibow not quite reflecting that, so it was probably just a fantasy on my part – like the fantasy that there will ever be an RPi Model ‘A’ ;-)

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Pity there aren’t more layers or you could put have the resistor colour chart there to save me trying to remember them ;-)

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You could probably make more layers that are compatible with various Pi Plates that are/will be developed.

My current case has a slot for the GPIO ribbon cable, but if I wanted to add the Adafruit prototyping plate I’d have to bare it again. But a stack of pibow slices fit for that plate, on top of the original plates, would expand the case. Eventually, whenever anybody released a new plate they could slap the corresponding pibow slice designs on thingiverse or sell them in the same store.

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We’re glad you see the possibilities :-)
But you’re right, we need to get our act together so the community can add their own designs easily. Thanks David!
http://pibow.com/help/about-the-pibow.html

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I’m going to start putting reviews of cases up on my website (www.recantha.co.uk). I’m currently writing my IP Adelt one. If anyone would like to share a review of this, or any other case, please let me know ([email protected]). All authors will be credited, obviously.

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Pi is 40 USD shipped. Pibow is 27 USD shipped. Looking forward to the cheap education case. On the other hand if Newark or Allied start reselling the Pibow we could have cool and practical this side of the globe.

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We’re looking into better options for Worldwide shipping and stocking. We’ll keep everyone posted on the website.

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Paul, Anything that allows the Pi and Pibow to ship together would be fantastic.

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Not much he, or we, can do about that without Paul and team entering into a distribution agreement with one of the Raspberry Pi distributors, which will cost them oversight and may mean they have to sign an exclusivity agreement. So it’d be nice, but not necessarily for the Pibow guys!

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Perhaps down the road one of the licensed pi bakers would be interesting in pibow reselling pi?

I see he’s planning a pibox expansion for the pi camera. If there aren’t exclusives on the camera perhaps the expansion can be shipped it?

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Looking forward to another Farnell/RS ‘Exclusive’.

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Just ordered a PiBow. It’s really looking great! Maybe until then I’ll also get my 2nd piece of pi…

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Looks great – have place an order. Only problem is I could only order one (clicking to edit the order closed the browser window) and I have two PIs :(

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If you email [email protected] saying you want to order more than one, we can sort something out just for you :-) (or anyone else who asks)

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This looks like it is very high quality

And honestly, it’s not really expensive if you compare it to similar products on eBay

Truly a design to hold onto

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I’m just catching up with all stuff Pi having been offline for a bit. Great to see so much cool stuff happening! It’s a really nice original and distinctive case. Reminds me of Airfix kits for some reason. Cool to see a Pi in space as well!

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Excellent, They thought of the Gpio port access!

Order!

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I’m a bit disapointed to hear that the foundation won’t be making any cases.. not that there aren’t good cases on the market yet, but because there is not one case that meets all the requirements for most of us I think.

These in my opinion are(no specific order):
– Ventilation (a lot of us will be running the Pi 24/7)
– Openings to the camera and screen module
– Openings to the GPIO
– Affordable in comparison to the raspi (in my opinion not more then £7 with postage included)
– Normal shipping price

So.. the RS components case looks really nice, but even it coming from an electronics company it does not have a GPIO opening..makes no sense! The base price is nice but the shipping price is bigger then the case price; this is ridiculous:S

This Pibow case really got my attention, but look at it’s price…£12.5 to sheep to UK, and for Europe(my case) its £15!! Rest of the world? £17.50!
In my opinion this is no community stuff or ecosystem, this is just some people trying to make some easy money!:S I heard Eben saying the foundation is going to be producing 4000 units of raspis per day.. we are not talking about just producing a few cases, this is bulk, so this kind of stuff should and is cheap to produce in a large scale..

I hope no one get’s me wrong.

best regards

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If you make it, they will come.

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I can understand the group of beer-huggers wanting one … I can imagine people wanting these cases just as decorative items.

I want one for my Pi, but it’ll have to wait until after payday.

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Wow… now that this case has been featured on the ‘front page’… and has Liz’s approval, I guess they are going to be swamped with orders!

I am just glad that I put mine in a couple of days ago, so will hopefully be in the ‘first batch’! :)

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I might consider one of these cases, I just wouldn’t want people getting the wrong idea about me is all if I owned one.

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“The wrong idea” being that you might be an 8-bit enthusiast?

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Not quite ;P

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Dose the rainbow remind you of the spectrum?

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Liz,
can you give us an update on what the plans actually are for a standard case or is one no longer planned?

tks
Greg

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My reading of this post suggests that a standard, official Foundation case is no longer planned.

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Fantastic! Functional and good-looking, to boot.

No spare cashola at the moment, but when there is, I’ll be able to order one and retire my matte board case. :-)

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It’s purdy an’ ya hafta screw stuff to make one. Well, thank you very much for your input, West Virginia … ;)

The secret motto of hard-core Apple enthusiasts is “When cut, I bleed six colors.”, in reference to the six colors in the earlier Apple rainbow logo. The Pibow has seven colors, so, now we can all declare that, “When sliced, I ooze seven flavors.” :D

I really like the idea that it’s expandable vertically, potentially allowing for addition of the GertBoard, Pi Plates, etc. A choice of color for each level would be really outstanding. That it does nothing about the rat’s nest of cables coming out of every side, including the top with the GPIO connector … not so much.

Would stub extenders that bring ports out to a different layout (e.g., all connectors along one side) cause impedance/signal reflectivity issues, especially on the highest-speed ports? Even if they didn’t, that would be expensive, requiring a extra connector on each port. How many Model A boards would we need to order at once in order to get them without connectors so that we can mount the connectors to the case anywhere we want with off-board cables soldered by us to the board?

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My estimate is that to get one without connectors you’d be looking at 1000 units minimum, for smaller quantities you’ll need to own your own SMT line, though it’ll be hard to get the chips in sample quantities.

However, one of my colleagues is a master of the iron, and he says that chances of being able to solder a working HDMI cable to those pads are slim to none.

Unsoldering the RCA and stereo jack is pretty easy, which takes it down to 3 sides, and powering from the GPIO pins is trivial (hard part is a fuse, I have some teeny-tiny 1 amp FF ones from work but most people won’t).

Personally there’s only two bits I find annoying – the RJ45 jack doesn’t stick out the same distance as the USB ports (which is an acknowledged oops), and the way the SD card sticks out.
I don’t see any way of avoiding that one. Half-length SD cards used to exist, but I’ve not seen one for years.

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I’d like to see an optional cover with the GPIO hole on top.

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Why? The insulation displacement connector typically used to attach a ribbon cable to the GPIO pins means that you want the opening for the ribbon cable in the side, not the top. What sort of connector are you using? It has been the best part of a decade since I’ve seen a connector that big use the crimped push-pin type which would want vertical access, as IDCs are just so much less hassle. If there is something manufacturers are missing then this is the perfect moment to shout out.

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For Australians the Pibox is A$30 shipped, and is not in stock. This makes it a bit more than Adafruit’s nicely designed clear acrylic case at A$25 shipped, which is in stock. Complicating this, my experience with online ordering is that the Royal Mail handily outperforms the US Postal Service when delivering packages to Australia (and you can’t afford the other Adafruit shipping options to Australia, which start at A$52 shipped). Anyway, I’ve ordered one as it looks fantastic.

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Perhaps I’m being picky, but shouldn’t the GPIO cable shown in the photo be the other way round – i.e. red stripe to pin 1?

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It’s technically the wrong end of the cable, yes.

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Looks brilliant… can the order of the plates be changed? Being able to identify which Pi is which would be nice…

Ordered one anyway… zero thought necessary…

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The plates are mostly different to accomodate the ports neatly, so they’re not generally interchangable. the top two colours might play nice but then the colours are in the wrong order!

You might be able to find some etching power that will mark the acrylic to identify them, or do a little delicate dremel engraving, or find a friend with access to a laser cutter and learn something new :-)

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Cheers Guru… doubled for not pointing out what a stupid question it was… should’ve just taken a closer look at the images…

Sadly, none of my friends have access to a laser cutter… actually, thinking about my friends, that’s probably a good thing… like your thinking though! :-)

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It’s amazing how sensible you get with a laser cutter after losing the first few fingers*. And I think it’s a valid question, because interchangeable would be nice. We’ll keep experimenting and innovating.

* Untrue, most laser cutters are incredibly safe to use. Burnination is the main problem.

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Lovin’ the Compy 386 meme…
http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/Trogdor_the_Burninator

PS: Thanks for the sweet-looking case – hope it’s as beautiful in the hand as it looks in the pics. You just pipped the Lego case for my money because of the way it seems to hold the board and plugs so securely.

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Having done some laser-cutting work with various materials, it can get tricky, especially with low-melting-point plastics. Is this actually made from acrylic or a polycarbonate (e.g., Lexan). The former becomes horribly deformed and the molten plastic tends to ooze, distorting the laser focus spot and making edges very blobby, while the latter takes it well, vaporizing very quickly. This is using one of the typical lower-end 40 ~ 60 watt table-top laser cutters.

I imagine a 100+ watt model might vaporize most plastics much faster, which is probably what’s available in the rent-a-machine hobby shops that are springing up everywhere. Acrylic is also legendary for its propensity to crack and chip at the slightest provocation, while polycarbonate is just plain legendary for its toughness (I believe it’s used in layers in “bulletproof” glass). Of course, polycarbonate is also legendary for its cost relative to everything else. If it weren’t for the lack of transparency, I’d make my case of silicone so it will bounce! :D

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Some of this might be true with thicker cuts of acrylic, but at 3mm, the edges comes out nice and butter smooth from laser-cutting, one of the things that makes acrylic nice to work with. And yes, using a 40W laser for thick pieces might require multiple passes to get a decent finish. It’s all about the right tool for the job.

Polycarb would be nice for uber-toughness, but it has downsides when laser-cutting such as edge discolouration and a greater propensity to bobble and melt.

Go for the resin Jim, transparent and a little bouncy :-)
http://runawaybrainz.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/audio-crystal-cmoy-freeform-headphone.html

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Out of interest, have you tried the Pibow running the Pi for 24 hours, overclocked? I know overclocking isn’t supported by the Foundation, but as everyone is now doing it, just wanted to be sure that there had been a fair amount of testing temperature-wise.

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We’ve done the 24-hour working test and the 24-hour idle test now. We’re looking to stress the GPU next to make sure that doesn’t change the heat profile.

So far we’re confident, as nothing has got beyond warm with the current setup.

To answer your question, no we won’t be specifically testing over-clocking.

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Ingenious design

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You could save one part by threading the top layer, the screw heads would then serve as feet from the bottom layer.

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Looks pretty good, ordered.

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I really like this case… Would love to see an alternative with a larger base plate providing standard VESA mounting holes, so I can slap it onto the back of my HD monitor. :)

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It is a seriously beautiful case, but ~27.00 US Dollars is a bit steep.

Any chance that mass production, or a licensing deal for production state side, would bring the price down?

-dave

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I can only hope that alternative shipping methods pop up to drop the price down. The case itself is only $15. The rest of that is purely shipping costs.

Stateside production would be nice though. Or that Amazon Super Saver Shipping will eventually apply to it.

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This Pibow case is nice – in fact I went ahead and ordered one today. Two things – first, can it be modified to allow a ribbon cable from the other two ribbon ports and second, I think it is just the right “official” case given the sturdiness, colorings, and see-through top. Please consider it (especially if it is modified to allow the additional cables)…

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I purchased a Pi for my Nephews to play with. My one (when it arrives) will be used to run XBMC. The above case is fine, but it would never pass the “will my wife allow it in the Living Room” test. I have just had delivered the ModMyPi Case and it looks great in black. Matches the TV and the Sky Box.

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My thought would be…

– Could the PiBow be shipped with a Raspi already in (rather than the other way around
– How about a dual case, one half for the Raspi and the other half for the Gertboard?

Yes, I know, seems like nothing is good enough – but these really are development suggestions – I really like what I see already!

Just thinkin’ :D

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Ooooh. Shiny pretty thing!

That has been soooo ordered for my new Pi

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Pricing just went up ??

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I really would like to make my own case for the pi as well as for other device boards I’ve disassembled. I could use wood, metal, acrylic…really any different type of material but I just don’t even know really how to go about starting such a project.

I’m actually most enthused to make some physical cases and have some ideas regarding modular designs. I am a graphic artist and although my experience lies in InDesign/Illustrator, I believe designing cases in AutoDesk and the like would be possible for me. It’s the actual creation of physical cut pieces I am puzzled about how to accomplish.

My pi hopefully will arrive ahead of schedule; it’s currently a little more than 4 weeks since my 7/9/2012 order that so cruelly stated an 11 week wait. I appreciate any help or tips anyone may be able to provide regarding the manufacture of a case! Perhaps there is hope I can bring a case to life before the board arrives.

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As soon as I posted this I did a few basic searches and spent some time looking around the cases section of the forums which I never knew were here! This is a great help and I think I’m off to a good start now. Now to find a laser-cutting and/or 3d printer shop on the east coast of the states…

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Got Mine Today! Woohoo! It’s Lovely, Even The Wife Said She Really Likes It And That Was Before It Was Assembled.

It Was Fun To Assemble, And Now It Looks Stunning. Now Maybe This Will Stop Me Fiddling With My Pi Lol!. I Just cant Help But Keep Picking Up The Thing And Looking At It, Even When It’s On!

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What about a case that is CE certified like the board? Then we could use it in industrial environments. I just don’t see the hobbies community footing the bill to get it certified no matter how nice their case is. .

http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=15535

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I’ve just built mine (http://demin.ws/blog/english/2012/10/17/pi-bow/) and it’s amazing.

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I would like to add that those plastic (Nylon) screws are about 1 or 2 threads too short, and also, they are, well plastic. I would rather see real screws used on them. I haven’t found this size of screw in our workshop yet, as is it such an unusual size.

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They’re not too short – you’ve just neglected to peel the paper backing off the layers. (Don’t worry – you’re not the first!)

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I pulled the two protective sheets off the clear layers and I still find the screws too short.

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All the layers have protective film, not just the top and bottom.

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