Oct 25, 2015 | By Benedict

Need a basic tablet device on the cheap? Have a 3D printer to hand? Why not try building a portable Raspberry Pi 2 with a customised 3D printed enclosure and 7” multitouch display. The Raspberry Pi is an incredibly useful, incredibly versatile, miniature computer on which novices and experts alike can program in languages such as Scratch and Python. Over at Adafruit, the Ruiz Brothers have provided detailed instructions for building a Raspberry Pi tablet, using the Pi itself, an official Pi 7" display, and a handful of basic Adafruit components. The following are the only components you’ll need:

  • Pi Foundation PiTFT - 7" Touchscreen Display
  • Raspberry Pi 2 Model B
  • 200mm Flex Cable for Raspberry Pi
  • Adafruit PowerBoost 1000C
  • 2500mAh Lithium Ion Polymer Battery
  • SPDT Slide Switch
  • You’ll also need the following tools with which to put everything together:
  • 3D Printer
  • Filament (PLA recommended)
  • Wire Strippers
  • Screwdriver
  • Soldering Iron
  • 26 gauge Silicone stranded-core wire
  • M3 x .5 x 6M screws
  • #2-56 3/8 machine screws

The .stl files for the 3D printed parts, designed using Autodesk Fusion 360, can be found here. The Adafruit team recommend using PLA, and estimate a printing time of around six hours using the following settings:

  • 230c Extruder
  • 2mm Retraction
  • 10% infill
  • 2 Shells
  • 60mm/s print speed
  • 90mm/s travel speed

You should check to see if the cutouts fit over the USB and ethernet ports. If the cutout is too tight, you can loosen by filing. If USB and ethernet cables can’t be attached, you’ll get far less use out of your Pi! A summary of Adafruit’s instructions for building the device can be found below:

The circuitry runs as follows: The slide switches connect to the EN and GND pins of the Adafruit PowerBoost1000C. The 2500mAh batteries plug into the JST connector on the PowerBoost1000C. The battery can be charged via microUSB cable. Positive+ and -Negative pins on the PowerBoost1000C connect to the Raspberry Pi on GPIO #2 for 5V power and GPIO # 6 for ground. +Positive and -Negative pins on the Driver Board connect from 5V and GND of the Display Driver to the Pi on GPIO pins #4 for Power and #9 for Ground.

Assembly is relatively simple: The case can be mounted to the display using the tabs, before the frame is mounted to the display using four M3 x .5 x6M flat Phillips screws. Solder one wire to the pin labelled 5V for power on the Display Driver. Solder another wire to GND. Connect the wide, mini, and 200mm ribbon cables to the Display Driver, then mount the Display Driver to the frame using two M3 x .5 x 6M flat Phillips machine screws. Remove either the far left or right lead from the slide switch, leaving two remaining. Solder one of the remaining wires to EN and the other to GND on the PowerBoost. Measure and cut another set of 26AWG silicone coated wires. Solder one to the positive pin and the other to the negative pin on the PowerBoost. Secure the PowerBoost to the frame using two M3 x .5 x 6M flat Phillips machine screws, and the Raspberry Pi with four of the same kind. Mount the lipo battery to the battery frame with two M3 screws, and secure it with a ziptie. Mount the battery frame to the Raspberry Pi.

Solder the wire from the negative pin on the PowerBoost 1000C to GPIO #6 on the Raspberry Pi. Solder the positive wire from the PowerBoost 1000C to GPIO #2 on the Raspberry Pi. Solder the wire from the 5V pin on the Display Driver to GPIO #4 on the Raspberry Pi. Solder the wire from the GND pin on the Display Driver to GPIO #9 on the Raspberry Pi. Insert the 200mm ribbon cable into the display port, before inserting the slide switch into the cutout, protruding halfway. Screw the cover onto the enclosure casing using four #2-56 flat Phillips machine screws, and you’re done.

What do you think of Adafruit’s creation? We think it looks pretty cool. Have a go at building your own!



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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