Feb 14, 2017 | By Benedict

Matthew Rose-Innes, a maker from South Africa, has built a Raspberry Pi "laptop" using the Pi Foundation Display and a 3D printed casing that incorporates a keyboard and touchpad. The laptop is part of a wider trend for printing cool housings for the tiny Pi computer.

You can do lots of things with a Raspberry Pi computer. At roughly the cost of a new t-shirt, the incredible compact computer can control drones, function as a cloud server, and be turned into a retro gaming console. Newer versions can even run Windows 10. One of the best things about owning a Pi, however, is turning it into something that looks great. Having no housing of its own, the Pi screams “dress me up,” and many makers have obliged by creating amazing 3D printed cases for the tiny computer.

Matthew Rose-Innes might not be the first to make a 3D printed housing for the Raspberry Pi; he may not even be in the first 100. Nonetheless, his 3D printed Raspberry Pi laptop strikes just the right balance between professional and DIY, a functional keyboard and touchpad being pleasantly offset by a slightly crude 3D printed surface and exposed nuts and bolts at the hinges. Moreover, the case integrates the official Raspberry Pi Foundation Display. Who can resist that? The 3D printed components for the project are free to download, and the maker has offered a few bits of advice on how to put the thing together.

“Let me start out by saying that this is not an easy project: you will need a basic understanding of electronics and soldering,” Rose-Innes warns on the Thingiverse page for the 3D printing project. “You will also need to remove some parts from the Raspberry Pi and LCD driver board so they can fit in the case. This will void the warranty of the parts. I accept no responsibility for any damages you may cause during this process.”

If one can accept the consequences of voiding the $34 Raspberry Pi’s warranty, the project becomes a fun and rewarding one. Off-the-shelf parts, including the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, full-color display, keyboard, and touchpad, add up to about $140, not including the 3D printed parts, which should be printed at a resolution of 0.2 mm and an infill of 20%.

Rose-Innes has teasingly refused to “go over every step of this build,” choosing instead to “give you a basic idea of how it goes together.” This basic idea involves removing the USB port on the LCD driver, the USB ports on the Pi, and the Ethernet port on the Pi, moving the USB ports to the exterior of the 3D printed case and forgoing the Ethernet port altogether to create a slimmer, sleeker Pi that fits snugly within the plastic case.

While there are many 3D printing projects that look to turn the Raspberry Pi into a (relatively) conventional-looking computer, this is one of the first to utilize the official Pi display ($69), which may be seen as a draw by some makers eager to make the most of their pocket-sized machine.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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