Chris3D
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A case worthy of a $5 computer!

Sun Jun 05, 2016 9:13 pm

So I was lucky enough to pick up one of the first Raspberry Pi Zeros before they went out of stock (and have been that way ever since). I thought the idea of a $5 computer was so cool I wanted to make a special case for it. I have a small CNC milling machine and am always looking for something to practice on.

I wanted to make a case from metal, and even if it doesn't really need it, I thought I could have a pad on the top touch the processor (with a little heat paste) to turn the case into a big heatsink. Few metals beat copper when it comes to conducting heat, and copper has such a nice warm color, so copper it was...

I thought about the design here and there for a few months before deciding last week to get off the dime already! I'll put together a page with some in-progress photos, but here's how it turned out. I still haven't decided how to protect it, copper tarnishes so quickly, but for now, the polish I used contains carnauba wax and silicon polymer, so I'll see how it holds up before deciding on something else.

Hope you like it.

Here's a link to larger photos: http://www.chris3d.com/pix/PiCase/picase_finished.jpg
Here's a quick page with more photos and some info: http://www.chris3d.com/copperpi/
And here's a little video clip of the case: https://youtu.be/lj0Legwb1dk

Update: Just make another version, this time for the v1.3 Zero with the camera connector and in aluminum. Just in time for the W to be released, rendering fully metal cases moot! :D

Here's a link to a high-res photo: http://www.chris3d.com/copperpi/images/AlumaPi.jpg
Attachments
AlumaPi_small.jpg
AlumaPi_small.jpg (55.41 KiB) Viewed 4878 times
picase_small.jpg
CNC milled copper case for Raspberry Pi Zero
picase_small.jpg (54.51 KiB) Viewed 9747 times
picase.jpg
CNC milled copper case for Raspberry Pi Zero
picase.jpg (43.55 KiB) Viewed 9801 times
Last edited by Chris3D on Fri Mar 03, 2017 4:59 am, edited 5 times in total.

ShiftPlusOne
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Re: Case worthy of a $5 computer!

Sun Jun 05, 2016 10:01 pm

Amazing, love it.

I've seen people use some kind of lacquer to protect copper surfaces.
https://youtu.be/VlvcjrelL7I?t=513

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Cancelor
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Re: Case worthy of a $5 computer!

Sun Jun 05, 2016 10:20 pm

How much would you sell it for?

Would it work in aluminium as well?
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Chris3D
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Re: Case worthy of a $5 computer!

Sun Jun 05, 2016 10:44 pm

Thanks, yea, I'm reading about clear lacquer type finishes. I'm just leery about painting it as once I spray it on, it'll be very difficult to get back off if it doesn't turn out well.

How much would I sell it for? I have no idea, it really was a labor of love. I'm sure a second one would be quicker, the first ones are always labor intensive.

Aluminum and copper are generally equivalent in terms of softness, so aluminum would cut pretty much the same, and it could be clear anodized which would be a huge plus. I've always just really loved the color of copper, but I definitely considered aluminum.

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Mr.MarioBranco
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Re: Case worthy of a $5 computer!

Sun Jun 05, 2016 10:50 pm

Amazing :shock:

stderr
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Re: Case worthy of a $5 computer!

Sun Jun 05, 2016 11:09 pm

Chris3D wrote:Aluminum and copper are generally equivalent in terms of softness, so aluminum would cut pretty much the same, and it could be clear anodized which would be a huge plus. I've always just really loved the color of copper, but I definitely considered aluminum.
I think it's time for platinum.

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kusti8
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Re: Case worthy of a $5 computer!

Sun Jun 05, 2016 11:23 pm

:o
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Chris3D
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Re: Case worthy of a $5 computer!

Mon Jun 06, 2016 3:52 am

Thanks everyone!

Here's a quick page I threw with some of the steps along the way and links to high res photos.

Warning: I suck at web design!

http://www.chris3d.com/copperpi/

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karrika
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Re: A case worthy of a $5 computer!

Mon Jun 06, 2016 5:48 am

The best PiZero case ever! 8-)

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rpiMike
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Re: A case worthy of a $5 computer!

Mon Jun 06, 2016 11:30 am

Awesome case :)

blaablaaguy
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Re: A case worthy of a $5 computer!

Mon Jun 06, 2016 12:19 pm

Its like the best pi case ever. Its awesome.
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RaTTuS
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Re: A case worthy of a $5 computer!

Mon Jun 06, 2016 12:27 pm

very nice - now you need to do another for the Camera version
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Chris3D
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Re: A case worthy of a $5 computer!

Mon Jun 06, 2016 1:06 pm

Thanks everyone, glad people like it!

Re: the camera version, yea, I know! I already had all the outlines done when the camera version came out, not that it would require much change. I'd probably do another in aluminum if I could actually get my hands on a camera version.

But my next project has got to be an enclosure for my mill. Right now, it's on a table in my living room right next to our living room couch, and it spits chips all over the couch any time I'm milling! Good thing I have a very understanding wife! :D
mill.jpg
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gregeric
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Re: A case worthy of a $5 computer!

Mon Jun 06, 2016 2:27 pm

On reading the title, I expected some sort of cardboard case. Not so. This is a case worthy of a $500 computer. Very nicely done.

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Burngate
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Re: A case worthy of a $5 computer!

Mon Jun 06, 2016 4:30 pm

Two comments and one question.

1) That case is Brilliant!
Plastic's ok, metal looks and feels better, and both are better than the fresh air I tend to use, but this ... it's a work of art!
Though I don't know much about art - I don't understand most of the stuff that appears in the Tate Modern Boiler Room

2) You don't suck at web design - it works, it gives the relevant info. Most web "design" just clogs up the page with arty-farty stuff without telling me anything.

Q) I'm on the lookout for a new wife. Yours sounds tremendous. Would you consider hiring her out?

Chris3D
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Re: A case worthy of a $5 computer!

Mon Jun 06, 2016 6:56 pm

Thanks Burngate,

Yea, my web design is strictly utilitarian. The web left me behind when it adopted CSS and I never had the time to get up to speed with it, and at this point, I have better things to do with my time... like spend hours milling cases for $5 computers! :lol:

Re: my wife, I'm afraid she's a keeper... and I'm keeping her! :D I'll occasionally hear the vacuum cleaner turn on and I'll go downstairs not to find her vacuuming up the chips on the couch, but on whatever it is I'm milling so she can see how it's coming out. I do need to build the enclosure for the mill though, and it'll let me add a flood coolant system which will make milling metals a lot easier.

Anyway, thanks again everyone, glad you like it.

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jbeale
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Re: A case worthy of a $5 computer!

Mon Jun 06, 2016 7:09 pm

Beautiful work on that case, it looks great! I had an old brass trumpet and it had some thick lacquer that prevented tarnish. Except on the spots where the coating had rubbed off, and then I did have to polish it. Would think at least a cardboard box around the CNC mill would be a good idea, if it's going to be running next to the couch!

gregeric
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Re: A case worthy of a $5 computer!

Mon Jun 06, 2016 7:50 pm

Doesn't everyone have a milling machine and pedestal drill in their living room? Half-dome's hanging a bit wonky though.

Chris3D
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Re: A case worthy of a $5 computer!

Mon Jun 06, 2016 7:55 pm

gregeric wrote:Doesn't everyone have a milling machine and pedestal drill in their living room?
That's what I thought, but apparently not! :D
gregeric wrote:Half-dome's hanging a bit wonky though.
Yea, it probably got nudged when I took the kayaks down... they hang from the ceiling right over the living room couch! Some day I'll have a garage, but until then I have to make do!

kena
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Re: A case worthy of a $5 computer!

Mon Jun 06, 2016 10:48 pm

I have one word for you... "COOL"!

Chris3D
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Re: A case worthy of a $5 computer!

Tue Jun 07, 2016 3:00 am

Thanks Ken, I tried to PM you but couldn't.

Anyway, here's a little video clip of the case, still photos just don't capture the polished and brushed areas and how light dances around them.

https://youtu.be/lj0Legwb1dk

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Burngate
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Re: A case worthy of a $5 computer!

Tue Jun 07, 2016 9:09 am

Chris3D wrote:... kayaks ... Some day I'll have a garage ...
Make sure it's big enough. Both the NordKapp and the Effendi are 18 ft long; the garage is only 17 ft long.
Pythagorus says they won't fit, unless it's at least 6 feet wide ... which it is - just. Phew! But there's no room for the car.

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RaTTuS
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Re: A case worthy of a $5 computer!

Tue Jun 07, 2016 9:24 am

Burngate wrote:
Chris3D wrote:... kayaks ... Some day I'll have a garage ...
Make sure it's big enough. Both the NordKapp and the Effendi are 18 ft long; the garage is only 17 ft long.
Pythagorus says they won't fit, unless it's at least 6 feet wide ... which it is - just. Phew! But there's no room for the car.
this is what shipping containers are for ;)
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joe7dust
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Re: A case worthy of a $5 computer!

Tue Jun 07, 2016 10:29 am

Amazing build man! Did you weigh the original block of copper, and the finished product afterwards? I'm interested to know how much worth of copper went into making it vs how much copper is left in the finished product.

Massi
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Re: A case worthy of a $5 computer!

Tue Jun 07, 2016 10:35 am

:shock: that's amazing

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