Assemble the Synthetos acrylic Bus Pirate case

The Bus Pirate is sold as a bare circuit board to keep costs down, but a little protection is helpful when you toss it in your bag for hacking on the go.

We’ve seen lots of great cases, but Ril3y’s laser-cut acrylic case is one of our favorites. It protects the bare circuit board, and it’s etched full of helpful connection info.

Ril3y sent us clear, red, and black cases to play with. We documented the assembly process below.

Get your own laser-cut acrylic Bus Pirate case from Synthetos for $14.99. Cases are available for both the Seeed and SparkFun PCB versions.

We’re giving away the red case to a random commenter. Leave a comment below and we’ll send it to someone next week.

The case arrived assembled, but there’s a protective cover over the acrylic layers.

Separate the layers by removing the nuts and gently unscrewing the bolts. Be patient, it should only take light finger pressure to remove them. Forcing the bolts could crack the acrylic.

Separate the layers and discard the extra material from the middle layers.

The front is etched with the IO header pinout, the back has a pin reference that shows the connections for each mode.

Cases normally have the Synthetos logo on the front, but Ril3y custom-etched this one with the Dangerous Prototypes logo. Thanks Ril3y!

The protective paper layer is burnt away wherever the laser etched the acrylic. Gently lift and peel the paper off each piece.

Some paper sticks in places with detailed etching, we removed it by rubbing with a finger. A final shine with glass cleaner removed fingerprints and sticky stuff.

Assembly is straight forward. Stack the bottom layer and uncut middle layer, then place the Bus Pirate on top.

Next, add the layer with a notch cut for the USB connector.

Finally, add the top layer with slots cut for the headers.

Screw the layers together carefully. If the bolt sticks, back it off and try again. Put the nuts back on the bottom of the bolts.


The IO header is keyed the correct way, but opposite how most people would use the Seeed Studio probe cable (and the colors won’t match the ‘i’ menu). We pulled apart the probe cable connector, and reversed the direction of the probe cable.

Get one

Get your own laser-cut acrylic Bus Pirate case from Synthetos for $14.99. Cases are available for both the Seeed and SparkFun PCB versions.

Join the Conversation


  1. Ian, can you post a picture of the reverse side? I wonder if the connection table is easily readable?

    Only thing that bothers me is this design has strange corners with big bolts. I’m planing to manufacture one with smaller bolts and nuts.

    1. Actually the big bolts make the assembly heavier … rather helpful so the BusPirate will stay in place where you put it.

      1. Of course that’s true. But I put all of my things in a hard camera case which is kind of small so space is important to me. A great engineering design case, every design has advantages and disadvantages. :)

  2. Hmm, sounds interesting, I’ll play. The case looks exceptional, I might have look into getting one.

  3. Well I tried a few longer random comments but none of them worked, here’s a short one.

    cat /dev/random | dd bs=1 count=20 | openssl enc -base64

  4. Seems like this case has the same problem, as simple cheepo white seed’s plastic case has: PCB seets not tight, and easily moves inside..
    Or maybe top layer sits right on mini-usb connector, preventing PCB from moving?

  5. The creativity of the individuals making this stuff available is incredible – to get a freebie would be the cherry on the top!

  6. Hi,
    Great job , it gives to the bus pirate its missing sexy touch …
    Seeing it immediatly means wanting it ..
    Have a nice day

  7. That’s a dreaming case …
    Of Course I would like one for taking care of my pirate bus… and induce jealousy of my colleague
    Thank you

  8. I bought three cases (I use BP at work as well as at home), and they are *great*! Highly recommend them.

  9. Hey guys, I dont know how I missed this :)

    Anyhow to answer a few questions. The pcb does not move at all once its enclosed.

    Ians case was special made and not a production version. In fact Ian’s case is a bit dated as now I am using 1x 3/16″ thick piece to provide a bit more room for the USB connector. Early versions were being “squeezed”. This has now been fixed. I took a pic of my personal BPv3 that I was using a few days ago. You can see it here:

    Here is the Sparkfun Case. I made this look differently as to avoid confusion during purchasing.
    It uses smaller screws too..

    Logic Sniffer case does exist:

    As far as the headers go guys. They are key’ed the “correct way” however I have heard / been emailed that people would like it to face the other way. This is one of those things where, when I flip this I will get emails about it facing the wrong way from the other side of the room :). Not exactly sure which is the best way for it to face. Thoughts.

    I plan on posting design files for ppl with cutters. However have not got around to it yet. Sorry.

    I wanted to thank everyone for the compliments too.
    @Ian, we need to think of a good challenge / giveaway for a few logic analyzer cases too! Thoughts? :)


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