Jul 5, 2016 | By Andre

Adafruit has been building a fairly extensive Maker driven database of useful tutorials for years now and their offerings continue impressively to this day. One of their newest additions to this library is a compact and wearable camera based on the Raspberry Pi Zero along with a simply designed 3D printed enclosure.

Meant primarily as a wearable device to be hung around the users neck, the camera is capable of shooting 8 megapixel snapshots every few seconds, is equipped with an expandable microSD slot (2.5gb limit unfortunately) and can run for up to two hours on a single charge.

From a 3D printing perspective, all of the necessary STL files are available for free on Thingiverse and should be a piece of cake to print on any decently reliable desktop 3D printer. The files can be printed without supports at just about any density (20% infill is recommended) and shouldn’t take more than 3 hours to print even at my conservative estimate.

It’s worth noting that PLA is recommended but if ABS is your weapon of choice, scaling the model up by about 2% might deal with any shrinkage that might occur. From my experience I feel that’s a bit much for such a small part but I’ll trust their advice on the matter.

In its current state, the 3D printed case needs to be glued together to complete the project. In theory some model design revisions could be done to allow for a snap fit and material tolerances would need to be further considered. Luckily, anyone up to the ask will have a headstart as the design files are available to download free of charge for any manner of tweaking things into their new place.

Of course, just like many electronics based projects, the printing portion is often the most straightforward out of the many tasks that follow. Basic soldering skills, familiarity to loading boot software onto the Pi (a 373 meg file is provided) and a slew of post-assembly tests will need to be addressed to ensure everything is put together properly.

Once the components work, all that’s left to do is to fit everything into the 3D printed enclosure, close it up and glue it all together. On top of the assembly tips found on Adafruit to ensure a snug fit, you might find luck in switching your print settings (from 2 shells to 1 for example) to allow you to capture that extra 1/2 mm you need for the perfect fit. Just like most maker project, trial and error is part of the proecess and not all 3D printers are made the same, so some reprinting to ensure tolerances are correct might always be necessary.

In the end, while this isn’t the state-of-the-art in terms of what wearable cameras like the GoPro are capable of, you’re looking at under $100 all-in for the parts and just a dollar or so worth of filament so you won’t break the bank with the device. It’s also simple and straightforward to operate once everything is put together (just turn the camera on and it automatically starts capturing the 1280x720 JPEGs at whatever interval you set it at (minimum of 2 seconds).



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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David R. Haykus wrote at 7/7/2016 3:12:13 AM:

That's great if you could actually buy a Pi Zero without someone trying to sell you one with overpriced accessories I already have in my parts stock! The P.Z. is becoming a big vaporware scam! And I'm certainly not paying the international shipping to get one from the UK here to the U.S.!

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