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There is, perhaps, no better gadget for your DIY projects than a 3D printer. With a device capable of building every case, frame, arm, and more, it’s a must-have piece of kit.
Similarly, the Raspberry Pi is also a vital tool in the tech DIYer’s arsenal, suitable for everything from home media centers and smart home management, to launching into space!
So what happens when you put these two DIY staples together? Let’s take a look at these 12 Raspberry Pi projects that are available to 3D print.
Gaming Projects for the Raspberry Pi
The PiGrrl Nintendo Game Boy Clone
Perhaps one of the most popular uses for a Raspberry Pi is as a retro gaming center and this project takes the idea one step further, focusing the emulation on a single platform and building a suitable case.
The PiGrrl is, of course, a Nintendo Game Boy clone, developed by LadyAda, and you can find the full set of instructions on the Adafruit website, which also includes links to any additional hardware you’ll require. This build uses a cannibalized Nintendo game controller, but there are alternatives to this. We’re particularly impressed by the quality of the 3D printed Game Boy-esque case.
The Super Game Pi, Game Boy Advance Clone
Still in clone territory, Adafruit has also produced instructions for what they call a Super Game Pi, which is essentially a clone of 2001’s Game Boy Advance handheld.
The 3D printer file contains more buttons than the PiGrrl, but again relies on a cannibalized SNES controller. Just as fun as the PiGrrl, this has a larger screen, too.
Another great gaming 3D printer project for your Raspberry Pi, this relies on the Pi Zero, and the design can be downloaded from Thingverse.
While no formal details for this build are available online, it seems to require a small display and a compact controller, although you may prefer to simply add a dummy set of controls and connect a USB or Bluetooth controller to the Pi Zero, as the USB port is left open for this build.
Google Glass with Your Raspberry Pi
Want to get every fact and figure about every location you visit? Google Glass may have taken a back seat for now, but it is a project that can be put together with a Raspberry Pi as the brain, with a 3D printer providing a home for the display, complete with clamp to hook it to your glasses!
The file to 3D print your own Google Class replica can be found at Thingiverse, while the display is probably the most important component, cannibalized in this instance from a pair of immersive TV glasses.
We’re not saying you won’t get the same level of dismay and ridicule wearing these as you would with Google Glass, but it’s got to be worth a go!
Raspberry Pi Laptops
You may know that the Pi Top started life as a 3D printed laptop project for Raspberry Pi devices, before a successful Kickstarter campaign brought them commercial success – but it’s not the only Raspberry Pi laptop out there.
Not as laptop-like as the Pi Top, the Pi-To-Go is nevertheless an impressive project, with a tiny fold down display and keyboard thanks to this project file from Thingiverse.
Take a look at it in action here.
The lower portion of the Pi-To-Go is full of batteries pulled from an old Dell Latitude D600 laptop battery, while behind the screen and the Pi is a 64 GB SSD card.
It looks like a great project to try out; see the full guide for details.
Raspberry Pi Desktop Cases
We’ve already told you how a Raspberry Pi can be used as a desktop computer, so it makes sense to build a desktop-style case for your little computer.
The PiBook (3D printed file) is a Raspberry Pi in desktop computer form, with a base unit and a display sat on top.
Despite the name, the PiBook doesn’t look like a book (if anything, it resembles an Apple Lisa), but it should still satiate your need to slot your Raspberry Pi into something you just printed.
3D Printed Raspberry Pi Tablets
The CAD-designed case houses a Raspberry Pi A+ and has a 3.5-inch TFT display. The example in the video may not have a touchscreen, but several TFT releases are available with capacitive overlays.
Awesome 3D Printed Raspberry Pi Cases
Finally, we’re going to take a look at some of the excellent Raspberry Pi cases that can be 3D printed. This is a massive area, so feel free to go off and look for some that you think will suit your project or mood. Along the way, you might spot some of these…
This superb Raspberry Pi case is clearly inspired by the classic Nintendo Entertainment System, and even features a door providing access to the Pi’s SD card, right where the cartridge slot would be.
Here’s what it looks like in action!
It Had to Happen: A Raspberry PIE
We’re certain that you’ll already be drooling over this delicious looking 3D printed Raspberry Pi case, which is, of course, a literal interpretation (well, almost) of the device name.
Want an absolutely literal interpretation? Think 3.1416…
While we’re talking “literal interpretations” we could drop the “pi” and focus on the “raspberry”. The Very Berry Pi Case 3000 is one of the most stunning Raspberry Pi cases we’ve seen, and while bigger than most has enough space for cables and cards to be inserted.
While a big job for 3D printing, this project — which will also require a portable power solution for your Raspberry Pi – looks superb, and if you’re a Fallout fan or simply want to take your Pi with you everywhere you go, this would seem to be the ultimate case. Make sure you include a touchscreen display, however!
For more videogame-inspired fun, see this Halo case.
Raspberry Pi 3D Printed Case Compatibility
While we’re on the subject of Raspberry Pi 3D printed cases, it’s worth considering that differences between the various models mean that not all cases will be suitable. As such, when considering a Raspberry Pi case for your 3D printer, examine whether the case matches the port and LED locations of your Pi.
The Raspberry Pi and 3D printed projects go together like raspberries and cream, and as you’ll have seen, the possibilities are considerable. Have you used a 3D printer in one of your Raspberry Pi projects? Perhaps you have a 3D printed case? Tell us all about it in the comments, and share your favorite projects.
Image Credit: 3D printer by Scanrail1 via Shutterstock