Over the past few days I've done a bit of work redesigning the frame for the PiStation. Everything now fits together very nicely with plenty of space for circuit boards and cabling while still leaving access to the Raspberry Pi GPIO pins. This post is a run down of the new design.
The first thing I needed to do was move the the button row to the bottom of the front panel to allow space for the PCB the buttons are mounted on. You can see how it all fits together in the image on the right (all held together with sticky tape for the moment).
I added mounting stubs for the button PCB so it can be glued or screwed in place to keep the button action firm. Use some small screws would be the best option, using glue would make it difficult to modify or repair at a later date if the need arises.
The new layout is not as wide as my original design so fitting the boards in was going to be even more problematic. One option would have been to increase the depth of the unit but that would have made the full unit too large. What I decided to do was mount the boards vertically and rather than use a simple piece of MDF as the base I designed a printable base with slots to hold the PCBs in place.
As you can see from the image to the left this makes a nice compact layout with everything fitting in neatly. Not exactly what I had envisioned when I started the project but it still looks quiet good. From the front it reminds me vaguely of the original Macintosh.
There are now a total of four printed components (seen in the image to the right) and the total print time is about 5 hours on my small Solidoodle 2.
All the parts can simply be glued together, I just used normal off the shelf superglue. Depending on the quality of your printer you may have to do a bit of post processing on the parts so everything fits together well, I had to sand down all the edges for a tight fit.
The mounting holes for the buttons and LCD screen are deliberately tight so don't be surprised if it is a tight fit. Use mild sanding with a fine grain sandpaper to expand the holes just enough to allow the parts to fit. With the LCD in particular the tight fit is required to keep it in place.
Now the hardware is sorted out it's time to do some work on the supporting software and configuration. I'll be building a few more of these over the next few weeks (I think I'll use a different color of plastic though, white shows any blemishes far too easily). If you want to build one of your own the OpenSCAD files for it are in the projects GitHub repository. I've tried to make them as parametric as possible so modifying the files to suit your requirements should be relatively simple.
Now I need to update the project page, add the printable components to Thingiverse and do some general cleanup of the GitHub repository. It seems like documentation and general maintanence takes just as long as designing and building the project itself :)