I short my Arduino boards quite often, as unlikely as it seems. Mostly because my desk is littered with solder blobs and steel rulers and other desperate conductors of electricity. Although, the shorts haven’t caused anything more than harmless reboots, I figured I should get a case before my boards are fried. So I get on my usual online marketplaces seeking nifty cases for my Arduino Mega ADK and Uno. In the meanwhile, my boards are seeking shelter in a “tiffin box”. Given my very choosy nature, all the cases I came across on the internet were either utterly bland with no consideration to aesthetics of my liking or simply out of my budget. What do I do? I do what I always do, make my own. Having scrolled through pages of different products offered by a variety of sellers over a range of prices, I set some fundamental design rules based on my observations.
1) Most products use the mounting holes on the Arduino board to secure it to the case using screws and if you ever took a close look at the holes, you can see they are uncomfortably close to exposed solder pads and other active components. Another potential issue I found with screw-mounting the board is that if you ever drop the case accidentally, chances are, the screws might transfer the impact stresses to the board which does not sound very good. In my design, I constrain the board by slotting the protruding female headers through the top plate of the case, nothing “holds” the board, rather it simply “floats” in a tight tolerance space on foam padding. When you do drop the case, the impact stress are likely to travel through the case’s outer structure and not the board itself.
2) Simple and elegant design without too much complication. Often, “simple” is tailed by “complex”, the iPhone is an example of a “simple” design with a “complex” assembly. As elegant as it must look, all you should ever need is a household screwdriver to put it together.
3) Anyone with access to a laser cutter should be able to DIY this in a swift. As much as I’m a huge fan of 3D printing revolution, I loathe how long an average printer will take to churn out something the size of a sturdy Arduino case.
4) And finally, it must be relatively inexpensive.
This is the first version of my cases and so I’m not saying all my design rules are completely satisfied, I will be upgrading and updating refined designs every time I get a chance. If anyone of you makers and hackers out there have ideas and suggestion, I’d love to hear and discuss about it. Other than that, my designs are available for free, built it and tweak it if you guys want to DIY. As for people looking to buy one, I also sell them as kits in a few of colors and ship to anywhere in India.
Raspberry Pi users, I promise I will get sketchy on the CAD the very moment I get my hands on a Pi and a vernier calipers.