Nov 27, 2015 | By Benedict

Adafruit’s latest Layer by Layer tutorial shows makers how to design a 3D printed enclosure for the new Raspberry Pi Zero, due to hit stores in a few weeks. The 3D printed enclosure is fully customizable and therefore suitable for a range of projects.

Ever since its first miniature computer became available in 2012, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has played an integral role in bringing coding to the masses. Dissatisfied with a school computing curriculum based on spreadsheets and word documents, the Pi founders set about building a machine on which young people could learn the basics of coding. Given its target market, the immensely popular computer was built with affordability in mind, and today the most powerful Raspberry Pi is available for just £30 ($45). As if that wasn’t affordable enough, the company’s latest slimmed-down model, the Raspberry Pi Zero, retails at an unbelievable £4 ($5).

As can be seen from their unassuming appearance, all Raspberry Pi devices consist of the bare bones of a computer, and are designed to be built up, customized and tinkered with. Rather than leave the electronics exposed, Raspberry Pi users have frequently bought or built some kind of housing for the tiny board. Given the easily manageable dimensions of the computer, what better way to turn the Zero into a secure and rugged device than with a cool 3D printed enclosure?

To the delight of Raspberry Pi fanatics everywhere, our DIY heroes at Adafruit have provided a detailed tutorial for building a 3D printing enclosure using Autodesk Fusion 360. Since the Raspberry Pi Foundation provided a technical drawing of the 65x30mm device, which only came out yesterday, designers like those at Adafruit have been able to build customized accessories for the device before physically owning it. Adafruit, whose ethos has always been to provide a helping hand to creators whilst encouraging them to get their own hands dirty, has designed a template enclosure, which can be easily modified and adapted by makers using Fusion 360. The CAD and 3D printing tutorial is part of the company’s Layer by Layer series. You can download design file here.

The Raspberry Pi Zero differs from its predecessors in several important ways, including shape and size, meaning a new 3D printed enclosure would be required even for those who went to the trouble of 3D printing custom enclosures for their Raspberry Pi 1 or 2. Although it still packs a processing punch, the Zero, just a fifth of the size of the original Pi, naturally comes with fewer features. Unlike the full-feature models, the Zero comes stripped of camera and display interfaces, 4-pole stereo plug and composite video port. Rather than offer the multi-purpose flexibility of the pricier models, the Zero is better suited to specific individual tasks.

In spite of these reductions, the Zero is 40% more powerful than the original Raspberry Pi, boasting a 1GHz Broadcom BCM2835 processor and 512MB of RAM. The computer comes equipped with a microSD card slot, two Micro USB ports and a Mini HDMI socket which can support 1920x1080 resolution displays at 60Hz. The Zero can be purchased as a bundle with various adapters, for those who do not currently own the necessary Mini HDMI > HDMI and Micro USB > USB cables.

The British-made Pi Zero is being produced on a relatively conservative scale, with “several tens of thousands” of units being made. The sensationally cut-price computer is likely to arrive in UK stores in mid-December, making it the perfect stocking filler for young programmers.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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