WORKSHOP VIDEO #31: Sick of Beige standard PCB templates and cases
Are you sick of beige project boxes that hide your cool board and hard work? Wouldn’t it be cool if your project was case ready from the first revision?
Sick of Beige cases are simple protectors and enclosures for hobby electronics project. Design your project with our standard PCB templates and it’s ready for an enclosure.
Getting the Bus Pirate into a case we like has been a years-long journey. Sample after sample has been nothing but a boring beige box. Sick standard beige cases that hide your project under an ugly veneer. From Tokyo to Seoul to Shenzhen, the same dull containers where projects go to die.
No more! We’re sick of beige. Forum member dsm helped us create a set of standard PCB templates to use with our projects, and a couple simple case designs that match. These square and golden-rectangle shaped templates are designed to fit in the free version of Eagle, and the inexpensive PCB services offered by Seeed Studio and others.
The templates serve many purposes. First, they make life a lot easier on case designers – dsm would appreciate consistency between revisions. Second, user-created cases, and our own cases, can be more interchangeable. Maybe a case designed for Bus Pirate v3 will still fit v4 with no changes. Maybe an investment in an injection mold can be spread over many projects. Maybe that cool case on Shapeways will fit your project perfectly the first time.
Standards are great, but we actually have to use them. To make it effortless we made a Cadsoft Eagle part library with the standard PCB templates. Just toss the template on a schematic and you have a board with the correct dimensions and placement, ready for routing.
Our most common size so far is a 60mm x 37mm board (DP6037) used on the Bus Pirate v3.6, upcoming Bus Pirate v4, LCD adapter, and others. The ATX Breakout Board v1.1 uses the maximum Eagle 100mmx80mm template that isn’t really a golden-ratio rectangle.
To demonstrate the templates we knocked up two dead-simple, open source Sick of Beige compatible cases kits. Both sandwich a PCB between two sheets of clear laser cut acrylic. Everything is held together with aluminum standoffs and bolts. They are easy to assemble and cheap, cheap, cheap – only $3 at Seeed.
There’s no way to make a completely interchangeable case, but open source to the rescue. Customize our open source files and have your own custom laser cut cases made. Seeed will cut 5 copies of a design for as little as $7.50. We’ll show you how to cut customized cases next week.
Taking it further, we plan to try a batch of cases using a 3D printed standoff designed by dsm called called ‘Scheme G’. Magnets connect the case halves instead of screws, so it breaks apart fast for easy hacking.
Videos and tagged Sick of Beige, Workshop Video.