Oct 11, 2016 | By Tess

How many times have you been stuck in class or at your desk wondering whether a Charizard or even a Mewtwo (can you imagine?!) is right by you? Well, Adafruit’s the Ruiz Brothers have released a 3D printing tutorial that is sure to get Pokémon Go users as excited as ever. In it, the innovative makers explain how one can easily build a Raspberry Pi based “reverse lure model” which notifies players what types of Pokémon might be in their vicinity, whether they are common, rare, or even legendary. If this sounds like just the device you’ve been looking for, we have to advise that you proceed with caution, as the device is against Niantic’s (the game developer) terms of service.

Nevertheless, the device and its 3D printed case are undeniably awesome, so we just have to tell you how its done. Basically, the Pokémon Go finder device is made up of a Raspberry Pi Zero, a 3D printed case, and three LED lights, which are programmed to light up when a Pokémon of a certain type is around you. For instance, when a common Pokémon is around the first light will turn on, for rare Pokémon the second light will turn on, and for legendary Pokémon the third light will turn on.

How does the device work? Well, by simply loading some python code onto your Raspberry Pi, you can connect to Niantic’s unnofficial Pokémon API through which you can determine when a Pokemon spawns near your location. According to the Ruiz Brothers, you can specify any location in the JSON configuration. Of course, this is where you may run into some issues, as Niantic expressly forbids using its API for such purposes. To avoid any major issues—like having your Pokémon Go account banned—the makers suggest using a second account with the device. (Additional exclaimer: it is entirely possible that Niantic will shut down access to their API, so best to double check before making the finder device.)

In any case, if you decide to make the device and the API is shut down, at least you’ll have an awesome Pokémon themed Raspberry Pi case to use. To make the compact case, you’ll need three STL files which the Ruiz Brothers have uploaded onto the Adafruit page: the case for the Raspberry Pi Zero, a cover snap that fits on top of the case, and the antennae for the LEDs. Both the case and the antennae were designed to be 3D printed, but the detailed cover snap is best made using a CNC mill or laser cutter (if you don’t have one of these, you can always 3D print it, though the nice details will not appear).

In terms of 3D print settings, the makers suggest the following:

  • 0.2mm layer height
  • 220C extruder / 65c bed
  • 20% infill
  • 4 top/bottom layers
  • 2 shells / parameters
  • 60mm/s printing speed with 120mm/s travel

With the case pieces printed, you can then move onto prepping your Raspberry Pi, installing the Pokémon Go API, wiring the device and installing the LEDs (the detailed instructions for which can all be found on Adafruit). Once you’ve successfully completed those steps, all that’s left is the assembly. Fortunately, everything was designed by the Ruiz Brothers to easily snap into place, so assembling the device should be done in a cinch. Simply install the antennae into the case through its large cutout and install the Raspberry Pi Zero making sure that the USB, microSD, and HDMI ports are all lined up with their corresponding cutouts. The final step is to install the laser cut (or CNC milled) acrylic case cover, which should snap tightly into the 3D printed case using just a bit of force.

If all goes well with the programming and assembly, you should have an awesome 3D printed  Raspberry Pi Pokémon finder that is sure to help you catch em all!



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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