How to Design and 3D Print Custom Cases for Your Devices

3D printers are exciting pieces of technology. We can create objects from reels of plastic filament. These objects are commonly toys or trinkets, found on sites such as Thingiverse or Printables. But what if we had an object, such as a Raspberry Pi, a custom electronics project or even a mobile device and we wanted to make a case for it?  If nobody else has made a free STL file available, we need to be able to design and make our own 3D printed case.

In the tutorial below, we’re going to learn how to custom design and 3D print a case by creating one for the Pimoroni Tufty2040, an RP2040-powered badge with a 2.4-inch LED screen. I wanted to wear the Tufty2040 to a conference, but when I went to look, there weren’t any cases available for it. So I set out to make an enclosure with holes for a lanyard and the USB-C port, along with enough space to hold a 1,000 mAh LiPo battery and protect all the internal components.

Designing your own product for 3D printing is relatively straightforward. We just need to apply an iterative methodology to the design and fabrication process. During the process, we will have many failures. In designing a box for the Tufty2040, we created five versions of the case before we got it right. Each failure is an opportunity to learn something new. In fact our first failure became a prototype. It forced us to rethink how we designed the top layer, enabling access to the buttons while offering protection for the large LCD display.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

The process will differ slightly depending on what you are creating a case for. However,in following the steps for the Tufty2040, we’ll learn the basic steps for creating and 3D printing a custom case.

For this project you will need

Getting the Measurements