Lasercut Plywood Board for Raspberry Pi

Need a quick way how to attach a LED, a push button and two resistors to the Raspberry Pi header? One way is to use some ‘flying’ wires. Or to use three pieces of lasercut plywood for a nice looking Raspy extension board:

Wood Board on Raspberry Pi

Wood Circuit Board on Raspberry Pi

Breadboards for electronics are a great way to make a temporary circuit. But what if that circuit should last a bit longer, and there is no time to create a ‘real’ PCB? I have found that making a plywood lasercut board is actually another way:

What triggered this was the need to have around 30 boards for students to wire a LED and a push button to the Raspberry Pi. But there was no real way to get a board done over the weekend. Instead I have cut things out of plywood:

Lasercut Boards

Lasercut Boards

The boards are designed in Inkscape with three pieces:

  1. Top piece (left) with a ‘silkscreen’
  2. Middle piece as a spacer
  3. Bottom piece (right) to as a distance holder to the Raspy bottom
WoodBoards

WoodBoards

Components are THT and holes keep them in place:

WoodBoardTop

WoodBoardTop

The wires on the bottom are soldered together with he header on the side:

WoodBoardBottom

WoodBoardBottom

One pice is used as a spacer:

Spacer

Spacer

And finally with the bottom board to close everything:

Cover

Cover

The three pieces then are glued together to build a block:

Assembled

Assembled

This nicely plugs now on the top of the Raspberry Pi board:

Wood Board on Raspberry Pi

Wood Board on Raspberry Pi

That hack worked out very well: it is solid, very cheap (I re-used small scrap parts of plywood) and it works nicely :-).

Happy Woodboarding 🙂

4 thoughts on “Lasercut Plywood Board for Raspberry Pi

  1. Nice! A laser cutter is still on my wish list. I picked up a laser marking system (it went for $160 at an asset liquidation auction and I couldn’t pass it up at that price) and it has enough power to mark stainless steel, but alas it’s not much good for cutting anything. For now I figure I’ll just confuse my competitors by sanding off IC markings and lasering on new ones. 😉

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    • How much power (W) does your laser have? In any case, a good laser engraver for $160 sounds like good deal. With my 50W machine I can cut plywood and PMMA up to 4 mm in one cut, for more I usually do a second pass which works fine too.

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  2. Hi! I’m always wondering if the edge (the burnt edge) leave mark on finger when you manipulate the pieces? For example, if the parts is for a toy/puzzle, do you need any sandind or sealant application to avoid staining finger? Also, do the face (the top face) have burnt mark or the air assist is powerful enough to avoid it? Finally, how fast can you cut 3mm ply for a one pass job? So many question buy when you try to prepare a business case and don’t have a laser available to do some proof of concept, you friendly ask the one’s who take the risk to buy one!

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    • Hi Eric,
      Cutting plywood is a process or burning, so yes: the pieces smell a bit like burned (it goes away over time) and the fingers will catch some of the asche. Sanding of course removes it.
      The ‘burning’ effect is not much notable with 3 mm and 4 mm plywood. But cutting 5 mm plywooed it gets stronger (here I always sand the pieces).
      Air assist is mainly to avoid any fire and to move away the smoke, I always have it turned on. There could be small burn marks on the bottom where the honeycomb metal touches the wood: but this can be easily removed.

      PMMA: I cut it with 10mm/sec at 80% laser power. Probably 12-15 mm would do it too, but I want to make sure it is going through.
      As a general note: good focusing/leveling is important for material > 3 mm.
      Erich

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