3D Printed Server Case Holds 14 Raspberry Pis

If you ever need to cluster up to 14 Raspberry Pis and an equal number of 2.5 inch hard drives, you might want to look at the Raspberry Pi Server Mark III case from [Ivan Kuleshov]. The original Mark I design came from Thingiverse, but the Mark III is a complete redesign.

The redesign allows for more boards along with a reduction in the number of parts. That takes less plastic and less time to print. The design is also modular, so there should be new components in the future.

In addition to the 3D printed parts and the electronics, you also need five fans and some miscellaneous hardware and cables. The setup is made to accommodate a power over Ethernet HAT, but apparently you can also get it to work without it. You also need a power supply for the fans, so we aren’t sure the Ethernet power matters that much. We have to wonder what [Ivan]’s up to with all these computers and hard drives in a rack mount.

The 10 STL files and some other data is in one downloadable ZIP file. Of course, some of these you print multiple times, so expect to keep your printer busy for awhile.

With 14 boards, you’ll be well on your way to Raspberry Pi clustering, but you’ll still have a ways to go to match Oracle. But it is plenty compared to some builds we’ve seen.

26 thoughts on “3D Printed Server Case Holds 14 Raspberry Pis

    1. I thought about it. I think you will agree that making a switch comparable in functionality, reliability, and security with Cisco or HP is quite difficult :)
      We use them with old HP 5120 (you can buy used for ~200 euro from eBay), which can give up to 370W power, has SNMP for monitoring (we use Prometheus and Grafana) and you can restart remotely any port you want.

      1. i were more thinking about an unmanaged switch. I would not need a managed swtch for some pis. (for anything else i’m using Juniper EX switches)

        There are some cheap 8 port gigabit switch boards available in china. Two of them of one stripped down netgear or tplink unmanaged switch

  1. Still weird that the picture shows 18 slots .. while the article talks about 14 🤔.
    The main picture on his site also prominently shows the 18 slots picture, but has the 14 slots version in renders of the STL files.

      1. Thank you very much!
        Of course, I thought about that :) I don’t think that’s a good idea.
        I’m using a pretty old PoE switch (HP 5120). From the point of view of convenience and reliability, this is the best option. It will take a lot of time and money to do something like this.

  2. Thanks for sharing, Ivan! I wonder… Have you or your team considered using a commercial ARM-based server such as the Avantek R series or similar ARM servers based on Marvell ThunderX2 and the like? How does it compare?

    1. Thanks for your feedback!
      We ordered Gigabyte R281-T94 (based on 2*ThunderX2) and in parallel, I started assembling the first group of 8 raspberries. But unfortunately, the server worked for about 2 weeks in six months. The rest of the time was in the guarantee. Now we are waiting for a replacement. Looks like a very raw product. In terms of performance, 4 cores on Raspberry are faster than 4 server cores. Unfortunately, raspberries have slower storage and less memory. But, not a single raspberry failed in six months.
      BTW the mac mini with M1 is much faster, so we’ll add them to our farm.

  3. What I like about the RPI is EXACTLY THAT IT IS FANLESS and not a loud crap like a 1U server. BTW you can get a 4 CPU 128core server with TBs of ram which will beat your raspberry pi cluster to the ground like 1000x times. So for me the point of using pis is zero noise. Your design not just adds huge ass unnecessary fans at the end but even plus fans on the PIs…

    1. Rack mounting kind of hints that it is for enthusiasts, isn’t it? :) Whose who overclock it and uses it 24/7.
      You can’t find an ARM server with such characteristics for that money. Please don’t compare it to the x86 platform. For my purpose, I definitely needed ARM.
      This platform has shown itself so well that we are planning to install the fourth one.

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