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raspberry pi homemade caseAs the owner of a Raspberry Pi, I’ve spent a bit of time looking for a suitable case for my versatile miniature computer. For a time I settled on the popular “punnet” design that other RaspPi users can download, print out and construct from card, but this wasn’t the most ideal solution.

While useful, the punnet case wasn’t quite what I was looking for. Instead, I hit the web, determined to find out what other owners had been doing. It came as quite a surprise to find that the number of options had snowballed – Raspberry Pi owners are certainly a creative bunch!

From discarded card boxes to old hardware repurposed to make way for the small 3 x 2 inch device, constructing homes for these computers seems to have become as popular a pastime as actually using them!

The Cigarette Packet

Unless you’re prepared to pay through the nose for one of these, you should be a smoker already if you plan to use an empty cigarette box to house your Raspberry Pi!

raspberry pi homemade case

Various cuts and slots will be needed in order for you to access the USB ports, Ethernet connector, HDMI, micro-USB power connector and to accommodate the SD card – but this is true of every solution on this page.

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This solution has proved popular, and the original even sold on eBay (a good source of Raspberry Pi cases if you prefer the manufactured look).

A Matchbox

Inspired by the previous suggestion, why not adapt a large matchbox (often described as “cook’s matches”) as a home for the Raspberry Pi?

Once again you’ll find the dimensions are spacious and the interior separator card can be used to secure the motherboard in place. Like the cigarette packet solution, a matchbox is light and portable and requires just scissors and/or a knife to successfully cut the required slots and holes for the Raspberry Pi to run.

Thanks to the sturdier construction, the matchbox is arguably a better solution than a cigarette packet, and much cheaper (although possibly not as visually striking).

Papier Mache

The practice of using glue, water and paper to create a moulded or crafted shape which when dry hardens, papier mache was in high demand in the 19th and early 20th century as a crafting material. As it is inexpensive and easy to use it makes a great solution for anyone wishing to add a degree of creativity to their home-built Raspberry Pi case, and can be used either to decorate or for building a case from scratch.

Designs resembling books, treasure chests and much more can be created, and all you need to do is to ensure that the ports are accessible and the case is well-ventilated and dry.

Full details on this solution and some alternate designs can be found at PenguinTutor.com.

Discarded Hardware

The way we get through computers and hardware these days, it should come as no surprise for you to learn that there are many ways in which you can use old equipment to house your Raspberry Pi.

homemade case for raspberry pi

From keyboards to games consoles – even game cartridges – the Raspberry Pi feels at home in any old gear you can get your hands on!

The accompanying image of an ADSL modem/router is a case in point. Using just a Dremel-style tool (or for the old school approach, a drill and file) the case can be customized to create a new home for the RaspPi with just a few minutes work.

Use a VHS-C Cassette Box!

Those of you who own old video cameras may well have a few empty cassette cases lying around. One type that is particularly suitable is the VHS-C case; the closeness in size between this and the Raspberry Pi is astonishing! One might even wonder if the computer was designed to these dimensions intentionally for storing the device in such a case…

Again, some work with a powered multi-tool device will be required but you should be able to convert an empty cassette case into a Raspberry Pi case in a matter of minutes with comprehensive planning and preparation.

Principles Of a Raspberry Pi Case

While these suggestions are all ones that you can try yourself, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t look into constructing your own Raspberry Pi case. There are countless ways in which you might do this, although there is poetry in repurposing old hardware and components to create a home for the small computer.

raspberry pi homemade case

The only things you really need to worry about is keeping the motherboard cool and away from water. Other than this – and avoiding poking bits of metal at the various contacts on the board to stay safe – anything you can find can be used to build a case. Lego is a popular solution, as are other easy-to-use brick building systems.

You might use any of the following, however:

  • A disused mouse
  • A book
  • An old digital camera

The only limits are in your imagination! Our previous look at Raspberry Pi cases explains the full dimensions of the device and what you need to take account of when building your own case.

If you’re prepared to spend a bit of cash on building a great Raspberry Pi homemade case, don’t forget to consider your local hardware store where various components can be purchased to help you construct a unique-yet-professional case.

Conclusion

Raspberry Pi owners love to place their impressive-yet modest investments in visually interesting cases, so what better than to squeeze the motherboard it into a discarded cigarette packet or matchbox, make use of an old computer keyboard or purchase components from a hardware store to build a completely unique piece of kit?

The Raspberry Pi can be squeezed into any container as long as it is well ventilated and non-conductive, enabling owners to proudly present their mini PCs in a variety of off-the-wall cases and containers!

Cigarette box credit: J. Helgason / Shutterstock.com

  1. Daniel Carlos
    November 30, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    I know, I'm resurrecting this post, but I've an interesting idea: an old telephone! You can use the phone keypad wired to the gpio pins to control a system like Lakka or Retropie, that just needs arrows to move the cursor and other keys to select and go back. I'll get mine in a few weeks and wanna do it, or use an old dat backup, network hub or something like this...

    • Christian Cawley
      November 30, 2015 at 10:27 pm

      Great idea - let us know how it goes!

  2. William Lewis
    February 11, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    After reading this, I just remembered that I have a lot of old broken linksys B routers in storage. I could use them as a Pi shell to save me some time and money, and it'll be something more personal than buying a normal acrylic case. Nice post.

  3. juisuk
    November 4, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    Your articles suck. Just random nonsense and blabla. Have you even ordered or booted the RPi?

  4. Kao Vang
    October 8, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    I want one of these... maybe in a few months.

  5. Daniel Escasa
    October 8, 2012 at 5:20 am

    BTW, is it only me, or does the "share" banner stick to the left margin of the page and cover the first few characters of each line?

    Using Firefox 8.0.1 on KahelOS (ArchLinux derivative).

  6. Daniel Escasa
    October 8, 2012 at 5:11 am

    <quote>
    enabling owners to proudly present their mini PCs in a variety of off-the-wall cases and containers!
    </quote>

    Or to hide it :)

    • Daniel Escasa
      October 8, 2012 at 5:30 am

      Speaking of "hiding", some of the links that the other commenters provided show cases where the cables are, frankly, a mess. I'd like to see a case that organizes the cables so they all come out on one end of the case.

  7. Edwin Williams
    October 7, 2012 at 12:13 am

    Nice ingenuity! Makes me wish I was that creative!

  8. Declan Lopez
    October 6, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    sugru?

  9. Ahmed Khalil
    October 6, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    good artical we need more of this one

  10. Alex Perkins
    October 6, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    One inside of a flat screen TV would be awesome.

  11. Alex Perkins
    October 6, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    One inside of a flat screen TV would be awesome.

  12. kendall sencherey
    October 6, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    was not expecting that.

  13. Richard Borkovec
    October 6, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Haha, these are great. I just purchased one, now I just have to wait for it to show up and make a case for it.

  14. Mac Witty
    October 6, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Great to see all the creativity

  15. Roman Vávra
    October 6, 2012 at 9:11 am

    Really crazy ideas :)))

  16. Peter Everett
    October 6, 2012 at 8:24 am

    Ive been looking into the prospect of bundling a Pi into an old nintendo 1st edition dual screen but im having issues for how to connect the screen to the pi :/ - im not that technically minded, just wanted to give it a go. would be ace.... wonder if you can use the battery module to power it too

  17. Adrian Rea
    October 6, 2012 at 7:13 am
  18. Adrian Rea
    October 6, 2012 at 7:10 am

    A nice article but you did not put in about using a 3D printer. Also one of the best way to see what others have done is to put "raspberry pi case" into a google image search like this -
    http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=raspberry%20pi%20case&rlz=&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=C9hvUJTVH-eN0AXR7YGwCQ&biw=1024&bih=544
    Thanks for the piece

  19. Dustin W.
    October 6, 2012 at 1:51 am

    Expanding on the cigarette packet idea, there are plastic cigarette cases that the sell for folks that roll their own cigs. With a couple well placed dremel holes, that could work out well.

  20. Kavita Shah
    October 5, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    now that was an unexpected lot of info...

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