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Clay your own case failure

posted on 2013-01-22

I tried to clay a case for my Raspberry Pi, but failed. Here is what I did.

First I modeled the Raspberry Pi using cardboard. It was fun to do, I don't think you need to be that secure while doing it. The idea was to surround the cardboard replica with clay so it would create a case.

Cardboard raspberry pi replica

I then started to surround the cardboard replica with clay keeping Ethernet connector side open, making it possible for the Pi to slide out. The idea was to have a case where one side was open and the Pi could slip in. It took quite a bit of clay to surround the cardboard model.

Cardboard with Fimo clay around it front Cardboard with Fimo clay around it back

I then put the model in the oven but as the clay began to harden, it also sinked in a bit. This made a dent between the capacitor and the Ethernet connector, which meant the Pi would no longer be able to slip in and out of the clay case! I quickly removed it and tried to fix it with a piece of cardboard, but because the clay already partially hardened it got completely destroyed


What I learned:

  • It takes quite a bit of clay to actually surround the Pi.
  • Make sure you keep plenty of space for sliding it in and out.
  • As the clay gets hot, it will droop a little. I thought this would make for a cool effect, but it actually worked against the practicality of the case.
  • It is really hard to make the case look cool without being a master-clay-prodder.
  • The case will probably end up to brittle to be usable on a daily basis.

It was a nice experiment, but I don't think I'm going to try it again. One choice might be to use a simple square clay case and drill some holes in it afterwards. But my next attempt will most likely be using a normal piece of plastic.