Build your own stackable Raspberry Pi Tower (part 4)

Assembly

After we finalized our plans and all the stuff we bought online slowly made its way from China to Switzerland, we could start assembling the tower. We started by constructing the frame.

Photo 19-06-15 18 43 29
Concentrated

Frame

The Frame is made of 4 aluminum bars on each corner. They are held together by threaded rods, nuts and bolts.

IMG_20150824_201326
Close up of the frame

The first step is to drill holes into the aluminum bars. In the end The Acryl Glass will sit on the threaded rod and will create a “level”. So we had to think and calculate the distances between the holes. We also took into account of how high a Raspberry Pi v1 and v2 is.

Photo 19-06-15 17 44 41

levels

As you have seen on our plan, we chose to have 4 “levels”. They are made of 5mm acryl glass.

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The frame is almost finished

The cutting plans with and without holes can be downloaded here:

Tier_v0.3.vsd
Tier_v0.4_1.vsd
Tier_v0.4_1.dxf

IMG_20150603_201747
Laser cutting

The “levels” where the Raspberry Pis sit should also have some kind of drawer mechanism, so that we can pull the Pi holder out easily. This is made with the curtain rails we bought from a local store. The holes in the cutting plans serve as screw holes.

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Raspberry Pi holder

The Raspberry Pi holder is a piece of acryl glass where the Raspberry Pi is mounted. We made plans to cut holes for a Raspberry Pi, but you can adjust them to mount a 2.5″ hard drive for example.

Pi_holder_0.6.vsd
Pi_holder_0.7.dxf

The Pi holders with Raspberrys

Stabilizer

Unfortunately the structure wasn’t stable enough. A solution we found, was to cut long traversal pieces and mount them on each side of the tower. This resulted in a massive improvement of stability.

stabilizer_0.1.vsd
stabilizer_0.1.dxf

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Decoration

As engineers we’re not really gifted in creating art and decoration. But we tried our best and decorated the tower. So we made plans to engrave acryl glass and mount it on the front of the tower.

drawing_0.0.vsd

Tobias FIechter’s masterpiece
Philippe Wanner’s masterpiece
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Build your own stackable Raspberry Pi Tower (part 4)

Build your own stackable Raspberry Pi Tower (part 3)

Material

Before building the tower we had to organise and buy some material. Here is a shopping list which can be used as an example to build the tower. As mentioned before, we could use some really great tools like the laser cutter and professional drilling tolls from the FabLab Bern. If you don’t have access to such tools a short search on Google will probably help (like how to cut Acryl Glass).

Shopping list

All the stuff can be found on Amazon, Ali Express, Element14 or local stores

  • 3mm x 1500mm x 500mm and 5mm x 1500mm x 500mm Acryl Glass
  • 4x Aluminium bars
  • 1.5m curtain rail
  • enough bolts and nuts 3M & 2.5M
  • 2x 1500 threaded rod 3M
  • 20x plastic standoff 2.5M

Photo 19-06-15 17 44 54

  • USB Hub which can support 5x 5V
  • 10Port Ethernet Switch
  • 5x Ethernet Cable
  • 5x Micro USB Cable (for power supply)
  • 5x Rasperry Pi 2
  • 5x Micro SD Card
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Finally some cool new hardware!

Tools

  • ThunderLaser Lasercutter (for cutting Acryl Glass)
  • drilling machine
  • hacksaw
  • all kind of tools to tighten screws and so on
  • … and beers to keep the efficiency high  😉
IMG_20150603_212647
hard working

Software

  • Visio – Microsoft Office
  • LaserGraph – ThunderLaser
  • Dropbox (for teamwork)

Photo 08-06-15 18 50 36

Build your own stackable Raspberry Pi Tower (part 3)

Build your own stackable Raspberry Pi Tower (part 2)

Draw the concept

Forword

I would say that the concept is the most important part of all! If you forget to think about the details, the cost will be higher, you will be wasting more time or your project will be useless. So, be aware! But keep in mind that “a simple concept is usually the better one”! Don’t do over-engineering!

IMG_20150824_201315
Almost finished tower with stabilization

We have drawn 2-3 concepts before we were convinced we got the one which could be our best shot. To get some inspiration, we searched the Internet for some other Raspberry Pi Tower projects.  We were happily surprised that the official Raspberry Pi forum is full of amateur projects and ideas. Our concept was inspired great ideas and mistakes of other projects.

Requirements

Let list some properties we want for this tower:

  • Scalable
  • Medium size (even if it is suggestive what medium means)
  • Modulable
  • Maximum 200$ with 4 RPis
  • Can be easily carried from place to place (it would be nice if we could take our prototype home…)
  • Can be prepared and assembled in less than one day

Draw the concept

In a logical way, we should draw the concept before going to the online-shop and buy thousands of things we won’t need. Here are the drafts we made.

First draft

blog-concept-first-v0.0

Pro / Cons:
– Waste of space (only a few RPis can be placed on each level)
– Cable management: the RPis are not near to each other
– A fifth additional RPi would need a new level
+ Modularity: Each level can be swapped and they are similar

 

Second draft

blog-concept-second-v0.0

Pro / Cons:
– Scalability: the height of each RPi stack is very limited
– Cable management
– Access to each module

– Stack stability
+ Modularity
+ Space management

Final concept

blog-concept-final-v0.2

Pro / Cons:
+ Modularity
+ Extensibility
+ Scalable
+ Cable management
+ Easy access to each module
+ Space management
+ Each blade can contain a RPi, HD, SSD, Arduino, …
– Each RPi has to be mounted on a blade

Other concepts

Bitcoin mining Tower: How to make stackable tower Gridseed Rig with Raspberry Pi!

120 Raspberry Pi cluster: What would you do with 120-Raspberry Pi Cluster?

Build your own stackable Raspberry Pi Tower (part 2)