The PiVE

I do intend to make the SketchUp files available for download soon.  With these files you can resize my design or make other adjustments to fit your needs.

This is actually a continuation Pi 2/3 Wind Tunnel page.  It is after all the next logical progression wouldn’t you agree?

Please note that this design is specifically for the Pi3 utilizing no addition hardware, i.e., SSD drives, wifi/bluetooth dongles, ethernet cables.  It will support a LED to alarm on temp violation and a 5V DC fan for cooling.  Any hardware beyond this will require tunnel extensions and/or couplers, etc. as well as modifications to the assembly instructions.

What you will need:

  • a Raspberry Pi3 w/micro SD card loaded with your choice of OS
  • standoffs – M2.5 –and M3.0 M/F, F/F in various lengths.  For the Pi nylon is preferred because it is non-conductive
  • a 3D printer or access to a 3D printer (a friend or two)
  • ability to make connectors and to solder
  • M3 nuts and bolts – various lengths (the holes are sized slightly larger then M3 to allow some movement.

There might be a need for tools necessary to fashion connectors.  I am intentionally going to avoid the electrical side here.  I will make suggestions but you assume all responsibility for damage resulting from electrical wiring either to your Pi or environment.  There I have said it.

Before going further I need to state that the total print time for the PiVE is ~61 hours.

The PiVE consists of 4 complete “cells” joined together.  I will break down each piece with quantity and print time.  The required pieces for a single cell are:

Cell Parts

Two End Caps – 1.5 hours each. IMG_0137
One octagonal Cylinder – 6.5 hours. IMG_0115
These above connect to look like the picture to the right.  Please note that the fit is very tight. IMG_0142
One Pi3 plate – 1 hour.  Note it has holes for M2.5 nylon standoffs which match the holes in a Pi3.The plate fits into the cell like this: IMG_0149 - CopyIMG_0150 - Copy
3 grates – 1 hour each (4 are shown here) IMG_0419
2 shrouds – 1.5 hours each
NOTE:  You can cover the exit End Cap with a grate only and not use a shroud.  This will save some print time AND secure the Pi in the tunnel.
1 piece filter material sized of an 81MM fan. no image
1 81MM 5V Fan – two wire IMG_0305
LED, Resistor and Led Holder  IMG_0272

Cell Connectors

To make the PiVE you connect four cells together.  Here are the parts and times for those connectors:

2 Full Connectors– 1 hour each.  This will join 4 cells at the center.Note that two corners are “cut”.  These will go against the LEDs.  Explained later. IMG_0518IMG_0398
6 half Connectors -30 minutes each. These join the cells at the perimeter of the PiVE.  The reason for the square cut at the top left and right is to accommodate the fan wires. IMG_0612
One half  bottom connector – 30 minutes.  Has a notch out to accommodate power cables and two small holes for a tie wrap to which you can tie the USB power cables. IMG_0611


Assembly will provide a general overview to assembling the PiVE.  References to bolt, standoff sizes will be called out where appropriate as will part placement which if done incorrectly will cause lost time.

I would like you to follow these instructions by loosely fitting the parts together (rest the cylinders on the end caps because if you force them together they are very difficult to separate).  By doing this you can easily correct any mistake before compressing the parts fully together.
Our goal here is to assemble 4 cells.  What is vitally important  for you to note is the orientation of the “cylinder” portion to the front End Cap (where you will attach the fan).  Two considerations:  1. the cylinder  end with the power port must go towards the fan End Cap, and 2.  how the tunnel is oriented to the End cap.  What we want is for the power port to be to the outside on all 4 cylinders (two cylinders are shown here in the second image).  This is not the way I originally stated.  My original idea was to orient the power ports to the inside for a tidier look but it was impossible to insert the USB power connector into the PI.   Hence this change.The last image is an assembled cell with one cylinder and two End Caps.
The image below shows two cylinders with their Pi ports facing outwards.  To the right are the fans.  The other side will be the same way except that when inserting the Piz the will be upside down.  Don’t worry they won’t mind. This configuration make for connecting the USB power cables easier AND you can have access to the HDMI and speaker port.  Not how the USB wires thread toward the inside and then down.
IMG_0620Below is what you want when a cell is tightly assembled.  This picture does not sow the cylinder ports because they will vary based upon cylinder position in the hive.
Attach the Fans to the End CapThere is only one correct rotation direction for your fan.  The blade design will usually dictate this so be sure that you attach the fan to “blow into” the cylinder.  Also note that in this first picture there are 4 bars on the Fan  These are facing toward where the cylinder attaches.  This is important because the Pi plate has a flat edge that will rest against these bars at 6 o’clock and prevent the plate from contacting the fan blades. IMG_0493
In the second picture run the fan wires through the small hole.  Now would also be a good time to attach the LED holder only (not the LED).  Insert a brass  M3x5 F/F standoff in each of the Fan holes and thread an M3 bolt from the back.  It should fill the M3x5 F/F half way leaving room for another M3 bolt later when attaching the shroud IMG_0504IMG_0542IMG_0545IMG_0543IMG_0547
Assemble the cellsAt this point you have assembled 4 cells with fans attached.  Now join them together using the full and 1/2 connectors.  This image shows 3 cells joined by the center Full Connector and two 1/2 connectors.  One cell has a LED mount the others will have them added when I receive them.  Oops IMG_0514
This image shows one of the connected cells.  Note the 4 M3x5 F/F standoffs. These will secure the shroud with two grates with filter material to the Fan End Cap.  Please note:  The 4 M3 standoffs protrude above the fan.  This is absolutely necessary to “hold off” the fan grate so that it does not make contact with the fan. IMG_0516IMG_0525
.Assemble the shroudAssembling the intake shroud.  Requires one grate, followed by filter material, followed by another grate. IMG_0559IMG_0561IMG_0562
Attach shroud with grates and filters to the End Cap IMG_0565
From the side IMG_0618IMG_0620
From the bottom.  Note how the USB power cables are secured with a tie wrap.  The tie wrap is inserted from the front and the cables attached to the rear “loop” and then trimmed. IMG_0617IMG_0621IMG_0627
Note the orientation of the plate to cylinder prior to insertion IMG_0579IMG_0581
Wiring for Fan and Led.

Red is + and black is Grnd.

The pair of wires to the left are the LED wires and the pair of wires to the right are the FAN wires.  I am not an electrician or electrical engineer so proceed only if you are comfortable with doing this.  I assume no responsibility or liability so that means “you do”.

Double click the image for larger image.

Front, Rear and Side shots of the completed PiVE.

The rear image shows the grates attached to the End Caps without shrouds.  Also not the USB cables protruding from the rear and that they are secured to the bottom half plate with a tie wrap.

The side show the wiring for LEDS, FANS, and USB power cords.  Note the power cords teck in between the the cylinders.  Not so with the other wires.  Maybe I could print a perimeter panel for a “finished”
look.  Hmm.

This is the top left cell from the rear.  Note its Pi is normal side up.  The cell below would have the same orientation. IMG_0633
This is the top right cell from the rear.  Note its Pi is upside down.  The cell below would also have the same orientation.  Remember we wanted the cylinders to have their ports to the outside so we could easily connect the power USB cable. IMG_0634

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