Atomic Pi Gets A 3D-Printed Mac Makeover

The Atomic Pi is a pretty impressive piece of kit for the price, but it’s not exactly a turn-key kind of product. Even to a greater extent than what you might normally expect with a “dev” board like this, the user is responsible for putting together the rest of the pieces required to actually utilize it. But with this design by [Renri Nakano], you can turn the Atomic Pi into something that’s dangerously close to being a practical computer, and a trendy one at that.

Inspired by the 2019 Apple Mac Pro “Cheese Grater”, this 3D printable enclosure for the Atomic Pi is equal parts form and function. It integrates the necessary power supply to get things up and running without the need for the official breakout board or power module, which is good, since at the time of this writing they don’t seem to be available anyway. Plus it has a cool looking power button, so that’s got to count for something.

There’s also an integrated USB hub to give the Atomic Pi a bit more expandability, and a short HDMI extension cable that puts a video port on the back of the case. [Renri] even thought to leave an opening so you could run the wires for your wireless antennas.

At this point, we’ve seen several projects that mimic the unique case design of the 2019 Mac Pro. The level commitment ranges from recreating the design in CAD and milling it out of aluminum to just sticking a Raspberry Pi inside of a literal cheese grater from the kitchen. Naturally we enjoy a well executed Internet meme as much as the next hacker, but all the same, we were glad to see [Renri] put in the effort to make sure this case was more than just a pretty face.

[Thanks to baldpower for the tip.]

Hackaday Links: June 30, 2019

In our continuing series of, ‘point and laugh at this guy’, I present a Kickstarter for the, “World’s First Patented Unhackable Computer Ever”.  It’s also a real web site and there’s even a patent (US 10,061,923, not showing up on Google Patents for some reason), and a real product: you can get an unhackable laptop, and you can get it in either space gray or gold finish. This gets fun when you actually dig into the patent; it appears this guy invented protected memory, with one section of memory dedicated to the OS, and another dedicated to the browser. This is a valid, live patent, by the way.

The 2019 New York Maker Faire is off. Yeah, it says it’s still going to happen on the website, but trust me, it’s off, and you can call the New York Hall of Science to confirm that for yourself. Maker Media died recently, and there will be no more ‘Flagship’ Maker Faires. That doesn’t mean the ‘mini’ and ‘featured’ Maker Faires are dead, though: the ‘Maker Faire’ trademark is simply licensed out to those organizers. In the next few weeks, there is going to be a (mini) Maker Faire in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Gilroy, California, Edmonton, Alberta, Kingsport Tennessee, and a big ‘ol one in Detroit. This raises an interesting question: where is the money for the licensing going? I’m sure some Mini Maker Faire organizers are reading this; have your checks been cashed? What is the communication with Maker Media like?

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. It’s valuable words of wisdom like that and can apply to many things. Commenting on blog posts, for example. Yes, you can throw sticks at a wasp’s nest, that doesn’t mean you should. Yes, you can 3D print Heely adapters for your shoes, but it doesn’t mean you should. It does look dope, though and you’re automatically a thousand times cooler than everyone else.

The C64 Mini is a pocket-sized Linux device with an HDMI port meant to play C64 games.   There were high hopes when the C64 Mini was announced, but it turned out the keyboard isn’t actually a mini keyboard. Now someone had the good sense to combine one of these ‘smartphone chips running an emulator in a retro case’ products with a full-sized keyboard. The C64 will be around by Christmas, and yeah, it has a full working keyboard.

The Cheese Grater In Fusion 360

By now you will all have heard so much about the grille on Apple’s new “Cheese grater” Mac Pro that you might think there was nothing more to say. Before we move on though there’s one final piece of work to bring to your attention, and it comes from [Andy Pugh]. He’s replicated the design in Fusion 360, and used it to produce rather an attractive Raspberry Pi case.

It seems that for Fusion 360 users the problem lies in that package’s method of placing spheres which differs from that of some other CAD software. Using the page linked in our previous coverage of the grille he’s taken its geometry information and produced a video detailing every step in recreating it for Fusion 360. This is where following someone who really knows your CAD package pays dividends, because we suspect it would take us days to figure out some of the tricks he shows us.

The result is the Raspberry Pi case, which is for the Pi 3 and others like it. Sadly we couldn’t break our embargo and tell him about the Pi 4 and its different connector layout, but we’re guessing a halfway competent CAD operator could put together a Pi 4 case. Andy’s files can be found on Thingiverse, so you can all make one for yourselves.

Andy’s appeared here before a few times, not least for his Ner-A-Car motorcycle, and for designing a Robot Wars robot.

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Does The Cheese Grater Do A Great Grate Of Cheese?

Apple’s newest Mac Pro with its distinctive machined grille continues to excite interest, but until now there has been one question on the lips of nobody. It’s acquired the moniker “Cheese grater”, but can it grate cheese? [Winston Moy] set out to test its effectiveness in the kitchen with a piece of Pecorino Romano, a great cheese.

Of course, the video is not really about cheese grating, but about the machining process to create that distinctive pattern of intersecting spherical holes. He doesn’t have a real Mac Pro because nobody does as yet, so like others his approach was to reverse engineer the manufacturing process. He takes us through the entire thing and the rationale behind his decisions as he makes a 13-hole piece of Mac Pro-like grill from a billet of aluminium. It’s first roughly cut with a pair of decreasing-size end mills, then finished with a ball mill. He’s added an extra cut to round off the sharp edge of the hole that isn’t there on the Mac.

An unexpected problem came when he machined the bottom and the holes began to intersect, it was clear that they were doing so wrongly. Turning the piece over must be done in the correct orientation, one to note for any other would-be cheese-grater manufacturers. Finally the piece is blasted for a satin finish, and then anodised for scratch-resistance.

So, the important question must be answered: does it grate? The answer’s no, the best it can manage is something close to a crumble. He doesn’t seem bothered though, we get the impression he likes eating cheese whatever its form. The whole process is in the video below the break.

For more Apple grille examination, take a look at this mathematical analysis.

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Grate Design On This Cutting Edge Raspberry Pi Case

Love ’em or hate ’em, you’ve got to hand it to Apple: they really know how to push people’s buttons with design. Their industrial designers can make a product so irresistible – and their marketing team can cannonball the hype train sufficiently – that people will stand in line for days to buy a new product, and shell out unfathomable amounts of money for the privilege.

But what if you’re a poor college student without the budget for such treasures of industrial design? Simple – you take matters into your own hands and stuff a Raspberry Pi into a cheese grater. That’s what a group of engineering students from the University of Aveiro in Portugal called [NeRD-AETTUA] did, in obvious homage to the world’s most expensive cheese grater. The video below for the aptly named RasPro is somewhat less slick that Apple’s promos for the Mac Pro, but it still gets the basics across. Like the painstakingly machined brushed aluminum housing on the Mac, the IKEA cheese grater on the RasPro is just a skin. It covers a 3D-printed chassis that houses a beefy power supply and fan to go along with the Raspberry Pi 3. There’s also a speaker for blasting the tunes, which seems to be the primary use for the RasPro.

All things considered, the cheese grater design isn’t really that bad a form factor for a Pi case. If that doesn’t appeal, though, take your pick: laser-cut plywood, an Altoids tin, or even inside your PC.

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