Raspberry Pi - The Utility Box!
I am building an automation system, and I was thinking about various ways to use the raspberry pi in this process. One of the main problems I had was figuring out how to connect all my I/O for things like sensors and relays and so on. Then it occurred to me that twisted pair CAT3 and CAT5 would be perfect for this, along with RJ12 and RJ45 connectors, which is wonderful for fast reliable connection and disconnection. Home Depot, like most hardware vendors, sells wonderful modular wall plates that you can snap in various options, like HDMI, USB, CAT3/5, and so. (USB pass-through can be used as power if you'd like.) That makes this a natural solution for this sort of I/O problem. Though that brings up the problem what do you mount it to? Because the standard blue utility box is a poor fit. It's not designed for external use. So I designed a box that is.
I have included four different designs:
- A short design which cuts off the end corner.
- A long design which has the corner in tact.
- A dual end design, which doesn't feature the tilt up orientation, but which does allow you to have two different panels.
- A quad design which has two panels on each end.
Some people might wonder why I didn't build in mounting features inside the housing, this is mostly due to printing. These prints are designed to be printed face down. If I added mounting features they would be perpendicular to the print bed, and would be very difficult to get to print correctly, and worse, screws would be pressing against the laters. I think it would be better to design mounts separately, and then glue them into place. After all, the texture and layering of 3D printing lends itself amazingly well to glue and epoxy bonding methods. Additionally, by gluing mounts in after the fact, it add maximum flexibility in terms of hardware support.
I have decided to mark this as a work in progress, as I will probably continue to add things to this system as time goes on. Such as additional boxes with this general design idea in mind, as well as different mounts to be used with it. However, every item ought to be print ready.