The Raspberry Pi has some wonderful cases. In my opinion many of them are oversized to fit as many luxuries or look as pretty possible. I wanted a case I could sit on my desk and be small yet functional. I saw the Kintaro Old Skool Tools “Raspberry Pi NES Inspired Case” and immediately knew that this was the case that would fill that need.
This is a very bare-bones case with no buttons, no LEDs and basic port access. The case does have room under where the Pi sits to allow for some wiring but it is pretty cramped. I decided that for my needs I require this case to have a Power/Reset button with a front LED to help interact with RetroPie.
You will need some experience with the Raspberry Pi, Linux, soldering and 3D printing. If you do not have experience in these areas I suggest finding a Maker Space/Hacker Space [Link] or watching YouTube to learn more about these topics.
Below are a bunch of items I used and are being linked as suggestions via Amazon Smile. If you have never used Amazon Smile it allows nonprofits to benefit from your Amazon purchase. I support 1UpOnCancer via smile, you can too by clicking on this link.
What you will need for case modding:
- Kintaro NES case (v1) [Link]
- Solder gun with solder
- 3D Printer with filament
- Digital caliper or ruler with millimeters
- Sharp-Tipped X-Acto [Link]
- Dremel or drill or hand tool set
- Wire cutter [Link]
- Wire [Link]
- PCB (prototyping circuit board) [Link]
- Board needs to be longer than the Raspberry Pi board, minimum 60mm.
- 2x Momentary push button switch [Link]
- Red LED [Link]
- 270 – 2k Ω resistor [Link]
- 6 pin header [Link]
- Header Wire Jumpers [Link]
- Rubber feet [Link]
- Electrical tape [Link]
- Foam mounting tape [Link]
What you will need to install the Raspberry Pi software:
- Raspberry Pi [Link]
- Micro SD card [Link]
- SD Card reader [Link]
- USB or Bluetooth Keyboard [Link]
- PC / Mac
- Access to the internet
Ready, Set, Start!
1) Add 2.5mm holes to Power and Reset
I found that finding the absolute center and slowly twirling the tip of the X-Acto would give me a great hole to start with. I then used some hand tools with different tips and turned them to drill out a 2.5mm hole. You could use an auto tool to do this but I worry about slipping so I’d rather manually make these holes.
2) Cut off the plastic feet on case
From inside the bottom of the case drill down to the bottom of the feet to hollow them out, I suggest use either the X-Acto or a 2-3mm drill bit. Afterwards score the bottom of the case where the plastic feet started with my X-Acto and when I felt the groove was deep enough I popped the feet off with a pair of pliers. Shave off any excess plastic so the bottom is smooth.
3) Place rubber feet where plastic feet were
You could do this later but with what you will be doing inside the case it may be useful to do this now. It’ll give the adhesive on the feet to cure on the plastic as well. If done well you should not see your handiwork under the feet.
4) Print and test your case parts
The parts that will print will be the mount and buttons for our future circuit board.
You will need to clean your 3D print by:
- Cutting the sprue connecting the buttons to the mount.
- Clean any excess around the holes on the mount
Once the parts are clean, make sure they fit correctly:
- The mount should slide down the front poles in the case, flat side facing front of case. This will be a snug fit but it should be removable as well. If it is too snug sand the inside of the hole and try again.
- The buttons should insert from the inside in a lose but stable manner. The feet on the buttons should be touching the floor of the case and should make removal difficult when we put this together later.
5) Cut the motherboard to size
The Raspberry Pi board has a low clearance so you need to make sure that you sand the board to give clearance. The size I am using for the height is