Cases for Beaglebone

I've been looking at the Beaglebone and it is interesting. Is this
intended for people to use in products or is this just an eval board?
I am interested in this form factor for a low volume product but I
don't see any sort of case available. For me cases are always
problematic. It is too expensive to build a custom case or modify an
existing case for the connectors, etc. I prefer to use an existing
device in an existing case and add a daughter card if needed.

Any suggestions?


You can use the design in your product, but we do not sell BeagleBone boards for direct use in a product. All of the material to build it is open source and you are free to build it for whatever use you like. A case can be easily made depending on your requirements. It would nee t be customized for use with whatever daughter board your have in mind for it, taking into consideration whatever access to the connectors that are used is required.

Ther is a case out there, but I can’t say if it will fit your specific requirements.


While looking closely at Koen's 3D printed cases, I started wondering
how one could expand on the idea of having a case per board and have the
case mount vertically with the capes.

The advantage here is that each case can be tailor for the specific cape
taking into account connectors and such. The disadvantage is how to
providing mounting for the case and how to provide structural support
where the individual cases meet.

For mounting I was contemplating if the screw holes could be used to
mount the case to the individual cape. Tabs could be extended from the
side wall of the case to the screw holes.

For mating the cases, I was wondering if a bi-level edge could be used
to mate the cases together. We could standardize on the top horizontal
edge of the sides to have the extended edge on the outside and the
bottom horizontal being inside.

Forgive the ASCII graphics, monospace font needed:

Cross section of a case side.

   > >_
   > >
   ~~~~~ Next stacked case for capes
   >_ |

   > >_ Lower case for BeagleBone or cape
   > >
I hope I am communicating clearly what I'm thinking here. If not,
please ask questions.

The more I ponder this, the more I want to get my own makerbot to
prototype the cases with.


It comes with an Altoids tin. :slight_smile:


Not every bone, there has been a mixup with a batch that has been kitted by TI to include their SDK. So some of you will get a bone + tin + 2 SD cards and others just the bone + 1 SD card.



What sort of “mixup”?


Yes, your idea is clear. I don't think I fully agree with your
starting premise that special case components for each board are
really needed. A bottom component for the main board is important and
there is a DVI cape board in the works with some connectors, so it
would be useful to have a case component for that board. There may be
one or two other cape boards that would like to have their own case
components as well. But once you have some case components, other
boards can be designed to work with existing case components rather
than put the connectors in unique positions for every cape designed.
I know that if a case existed for anything remotely like a board I
wanted to build, I would just fit my board to the case rather than
develop a new case component.

Gerald seems to think a case can be "easily" made but my experience is
that it can easily cost more to have a case designed and made than the
board to go in it, at least for lower volumes. Standardization is
what it is all about.

To expound on your idea, the case component edge can be bi-level, but
I'm not sure that is needed. The boards all have mounting holes and
the case components will need to be part of those connections. Then
the case components will all be locked to the boards and each other.
The difficulty in the bi-level edge is accommodating the connector
openings. Some, like the Ethernet connector, rise far above the board
and will likely define the upper edge of the case component. To make
board mounting easy the cut out will need to run to the edge of the
case component, at least for all edges of the board but one.
Otherwise the connector will have to remain recessed behind the
plastic which can make usage harder. But if it can be made to work
well with connector cutouts, the bi-level edge will provide a better

So I see a case made up of at least three if not four component types
depending on whether the main board will ever have cape boards below.
If not, the first component will be the bottom case which holds just
the Beaglebone. The top component will be a lid that fits over this
layer and is held in place by bolts through the mounting holes. The
top component will be needed to support a variety of "front panels"
including an LCD/touch screen or just a "plain" top. Intermediate
case components will stack between these two pieces for cape boards.

To make the full use of the top case surface I expect the bolts would
run from the bottom upward through the stack and a captive nut or
other means of threading would be needed in the top cover. This also
puts some constraint on the case component heights to match the
available bolt lengths. Spacers will also be needed between the
boards or this can be incorporated into the case components. Here is
some ascii art back at cha'.

Just as a general comment on the "makerbot" type of machines... I
can't see how I could ever justify the cost of such a unit or the time
spent getting one up and running.

This is similar to the various milled PCB fab machines out there. But
they would be useful if a service owned them and made protos using
them. The cost could be amortized very readily this way. I've never
seen a PCB fab house to offer a milled PCB service. This makes me
think they really aren't economical.

Maybe there is a service house out there which makes plastic protos
this way. Certainly the other options for plastic prototypes are a
lot more expensive relatively speaking.


A standard case for all of the different version of Capes that can be stacked and their associated connector configurations is NOT easy to do. It is borderline impossible. When we created the stacking architecture, it with the idea that there will not be a standard case. Beagle boards have never had a standard case. I will not support a standard such as this as it is impossible to control, monitor, and supervise. .

We are not in business to supply thousands of boards to people to use in products. We are here to grow the community and support it. This has been our policy for over three years now and we have no plans to change it. If you want to build the board for use in a product, you have access to everything you need. If you want to hire the same company to build the board, you can even do that. At the end of the day it will be your board and your design. You will then be responsible for its use in whatever application you have in mind.

These boards were not designed with a specific application or product use in mind. The RMA load would be high as we have seen in the past with people doing this. We would have to raise the price of the board to support the RMAs for those people trying to use this in a product, finding some boards to not work in their application, and then expecting us to “repair” them. It is not fair for the community to have to pay for someone to use the boards we build, especially when they have everything to build it on their own.

As I have said. Anyone can build the board, modify it, remove parts, or change parts as they choose. That is what open source is about. We are a .org. Not a company. We have no resources to support companies that want to buy thousands of boards at a time fir use in an aplication that the board was not designed for…


My initial thoughts were strictly for one offs, like Koen has done.
They are what I might do if I had a weekend free and a 3D printer to
play with. I suspect that's how Koen's cases came into existence.


I’ve got a cheap enclosure design, and would be more than willing to make a “stackable” version or one offs for particular cape configurations:

Adafruit also started stocking a design yesterday as well:


If you are willing to share, you can put the design up on thingiverse. There are businesses who are willing to print objects for a fee.


He did. The Thingiverse link is on the page.


I don't know how I missed your post. This is very interesting. It
looks easy to modify to include cape boards.

Have you given any thought to how you might include a light pipe to
make the LEDs visible from the outside of the box? I know some people
don't like LEDs but as a hardware designer I find them very useful and
I have had positive feedback from customers about it and never had
anyone complain saying they should be removed.

The Adafruit box is interesting, but obviously getting mods made could
be harder.

I'm not clear on how your case bolts together. Do the hex screws
thread into the sides directly? I assume there is plenty of material
left once the sides are threaded? I guess I could plunk down $12 and
find out for myself!


I took a slightly different approach with my own case design - I wanted something where you could adjust the height depending on the capes you have on your BBone -: there are a few pictures at , let me know what you think. I am adjusting the final design and I will make the files available and try to find a way to have them manufactured if possible…

Opps, I just read the Build to Spec page and I see how you did it. I
was confused by the hidden panels. Very nice!