Raspberry Pi: Manufacturing Astro Pi box replicas

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Tim Rowledge produces and sells smashing replicas of a cases that a Astro Pis live in aboard a International Space Station. Here is a story of how he came to do this. Over to you, Tim!

When a Astro Pi box was initial suggested a integrate of years ago, a common escape of ‘Squee!’ it elicited competence have been listened on house a ISS itself. People wanted to buy it or build it during home, and someone wanted to know either it would blend. (There’s always one.)

The finish Astro Pi

The Sense HAT and a Pi tucked snugly in a strange Astro Pi moody box — gorgeous, isn’t it?

Replicating a Astro Pi case

Some months after a STL files for copy your possess Astro Pi box were released, and people jumped during a possibility to use them. Soon reports seemed observant we had to make utterly a few attempts before removing a good imitation — normal for any formidable 3D-printing project. A associate member of my internal makerspace successfully done a integrate of cases, though it took a lot of time, filament, and post-print finishing work. And of course, a cosmetic Astro Pi box simply doesn’t demeanour or feel like a strange done of machined aluminium — or ‘aluminum’, as they tend to contend over here in North America.

Batch of tops of Astro Pi box replicas by Tim Rowledge

A collection of tops designed by Tim

I wanted to build an Astro Pi box that would some-more closely compare a original. Fortunately, someone else during my makerspace happens to have some critical CNC machining apparatus during his tiny production company. Therefore, we focused on formulating a box pattern that could be constructed with his three-axis device. This meant simplifying some tools to equivocate expensive, slow, formidable multi-fixture work. It took us a while, though we finished adult with a pattern we can good make regulating his machine.

Lasered Astro Pi box reproduction by Tim Rowledge

Tim’s initial lasered case

And a ensuing box looks really, unequivocally like a strange — in fact, on receiving one of a final prototypes, Eben commented:

“I have to say, during initial peek they demeanour spectacular: unless we reason them side by side with a originals, it’s tough to pinpoint what’s changed. I’m looking brazen to saying one built adult and afterwards saying them in a wild.”

Inside a Astro Pi case

Making only a unclothed box is nice, though there are other tools compulsory to reconstruct a finish Astro Pi unit. Thus we got my internal wiring association to pattern a tiny HAT to yield most a same support a passageway house offers: an RTC and nice, purify connectors to a 6 buttons. We also combined well-labelled, grouped pads for all a other GPIO lines, along with space for an ADC. If you’re creation your possess Astro Pi replica, we competence like a Switchboard.

The wiring supply attention only loves to offer *some* of what we need, so that one retailer never has everything: we had to obtain a compulsory stand-offs, screws, spacers, and JST wires from assorted other sources. Jeff during my circuitously Industrial Paint Plastics took on a laser cast of a cases, withdrawal out copyrighted logos etcetera.

Lasering a tip of an Astro Pi box reproduction by Tim Rowledge

Lasering a tip of a case

Get your possess Astro Pi case

Should we like to buy one of a Astro Pi box kits, cocktail over to www.astropicase.com, and we’ll get it on a approach to we pronto. If you’re an institutional or corporate customer, a entirely built choice competence make some-more clarity for we — grouping a Pi and other components, and carrying a staff member arrange it all, competence good be some-more work than is sensible.

Astro Pi box reproduction Tim Rowledge

Tim’s initial full Astro Pi box replica, finish with glossy APEM buttons

To put a pack together yourself, all we need to do is supplement a Pi, Sense HAT, Camera Module, and RTC battery, and select your buttons. An illustrated primer explains a routine step by step. Our chronicle of a Astro Pi box uses a same APEM buttons as a units in orbit, and while they are expensive, only clicking them is a source of good joy. It comes in a good transport box too.

Tim Rowledge holding adult a PCB

This is Tim. Thanks, Tim!

Take partial in Astro Pi

If carrying an Astro Pi reproduction is not adequate for you, this is your chance: a 2017-18 Astro Pi plea is open! We’re charity immature people dual missions, one of that guarantees removing your formula into space. Could you, or someone we know, be partial of a subsequent era of space scientists? Head over to a Astro Pi website to find out more.

Source: Raspberry Pi blog

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