Introduction Space Station enclosures are modular, laser cut acrylic plates designed to house and protect electronic circuit boards. Space Station enclosures are intended for students, engineers, artists, makers, tinkerers, hackers and inventors who use Arduino and Raspberry Pi in their projects. In case you are not familiar with these devices, the Arduino is a simple, easy to use family of micro-controllers, which can be programmed to sense, control and communicate with external devices. The Raspberry Pi is a low cost and versatile micro-computer which runs a Linux based operating system and comes compete with HDMI video output and flexible digital interface.
There are currently 2 sizes of Space Station enclosure: a compact and extended version. The compact version is designed for Arduino UNO (and compatible "clone" boards) and the extended version is designed to house an Arduino UNO (+ battery or mini bread board), Arduino Mega or Raspberry PI. Due to its unique stacking properties, you can build towers by adding extra layers. There are endless possibilities for customizing your Space Station with panel mount switches, LEDs etc. The clear lid allows you to see the inner workings and the result is a simple, compact and practical housing solution.
Key features of Space Station modular enclosures:
1. To protect electronics, prevent short circuits & keep work space tidy.
2. Allows projects to be securely mounted and embedded in installations, cars, robots etc.
3. The open-sided enclosure provides access to reset button & ports. Assembly takes around 3 minutes; removable lid for quick access to boards or to replace shields.
4. Allows safe transport: carry a project in your pocket or bag, or send in mail.
5. The modular system enables multiple configuration possibilities e.g. stack in towers, linear arrays etc.
6. Easily customized using panel-mount LEDs, switches, knobs, displays etc.
Work in progress. Space Station enclosures are great for prototyping on the workbench. Here is an example of an Arduino UNO housed in an "Original UNO" Space Station enclosure. A prototyping breadboard is mounted on top, populated with components, and connected via wires to the Arduino below. In this example, a "74HC595" shift register is being used to drive a "vintage" Hewlett Packard 7-segment LED display.
Completed projects: Projects are sometimes so cool, they have to be preserved! Here's a desktop Arduino clock housed in a SpaceStation "RED UNO" enclosure. The project was built using an Arduino UNO, proto-shield, Real Time Clock module and vintage "bubble magnifier" LEDs from the 1980s.
Raspberry Pi. Space Station enclosures have the benefits of open sides, for quick access to the connectors, and the simple design also allows air circulation to "keep the Pi cool". Space Station "MEGA" enclosures share the same "footprint" and may be stacked with "Raspberry Pi" enclosures.
Raspberry Pi - in it's natural habitat.
Raspberry Pi - in action.
The original idea for Space Station enclosures arose through necessity. I required a solution to securely mount an Arduino project that I was working on so that it could be transported to and from work and to sites of installations. I designed a simple base plate that insulated the Arduino circuit board from the surface it was resting on and a lid to protect the electronic components. There were several stages in the design and testing. Early prototypes were made from hand-cut acrylic, in a variety of thicknesses, and later I moved on to laser cut acrylic. I have spent several months sourcing the best quality hardware, components, testing configurations, optimizing designs and building a variety of examples.
Examples of different projects built using Space Station enclosures.
Below are examples of completed projects made in my lab using Space Station enclosures.
Example 1. Arduino Voice Box
Example 2. Space Station "Mega" BASE with Mini Bread Board and Bitmapped, daisy chained LED displays.
Example 3. Animated LED Sprite.
Example 4. Raspberry Pi / Arduino Double-Decker!
Please share your inventions! – I will post the best on the website http://www.weeblackbox.com and I will award prizes for my favorites.
"Original UNO" Space Station enclosure – All you need to get stated with an Arduino – a black base and clear lid with all the mounting nuts, screws, posts etc.
"RED UNO" Space Station enclosure: All red version – transparent red acrylic LID and BASE, ideal if you are using vintage red LED displays.
"JET-BLACK UNO" Space Station enclosure: All black version, for "stealth" projects!
"Fluorescent UNO" Space Station enclosure - Space Station: Black BASE and 3 fluorescent LIDs - highly fluorescent under blue or UV light.
"MEGA" Space Station enclosure - houses either UNO or MEGA sized boards. If you are using an UNO it gives a little extra space to mount a battery or prototyping bread board.
"RED Raspberry Pi" Kit. Also available in CLEAR.
Hack in the LAB - Learn to solder, write some code, pick my brain, tinker, hack, invent and have fun!
Why I need your support.
I require funding to build the first production batch ~500 units. I need to order laser cut plates, mounting hardware (nuts, bolts, sticky feet, standoffs etc) and package them up (with the help of some friends!). Kits will come with instructions and I will post videos and examples of some nifty projects together with schematics, bill of materials, source code. Currently SpaceStation enclosures are available in a mixture of colours and configurations; through the Kickstarter project, I hope to gain a feel for the demand for particular colours and, even more importantly, establish a user base. In future I hope to grow the team (hire staff), improve the product range and develop exciting new accessory kits. One of my passions is rare, vintage LEDs from the 70s, some of which are featured in examples above. The laboratory is entirely self-funded - without support through this Kickstarter project, I will be unable to expand the company into this exciting market area. This is an opportunity to buy one of the first production batch of Space Station enclosures - they are currently not available anywhere else. I value your feedback as this will help develop new projects and expand the Space Station range.
Have you got an Arduino or Pi? Then you’ll probably want one of these..."PIMP" your Arduino, add "Bling" to your Pi. Have fun...
Risks and challenges
The main risk is that I do not receive enough orders to make the project feasible. To keep the kit price low, I have to order bulk quantities of components and laser cut plates. If I do not receive sufficient orders, the production will be delayed and the price of kits will increase, or in the worst case, will not happen at all. I don't want this project to fizzle out!
If the Kickstarter project is successful, I will immediately place the order for laser cutting the acrylic plates. The designs are all ready, and we have working prototypes. It will take around 10 days for the laser cut plates to arrive. With the help of family and friends, I hope to have the kits packaged and shipped within 2 weeks; this will be a challenge and I will keep you informed if I expect any delays. I value the support from this Kickstarter project and I will endeavor to keep in contact with all backers, providing updates, technical support and news of upcoming products.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)