Overview

Adafruit Feather Box

This is our 3D printed case for the Adafruit Feather. It’s for anyone looking to put their project in a box. It’s a multipurpose enclosure, so you can use it for a number of different projects. It’s designed to house different battery sizes, so it’s nice and portable. The enclosure itself is made up of three different pieces that all snap fit together. Each part has different versions, so you can make it better fit your project and there’s no wrong way to configured it.

New Update!

Now we have a special version of the Feather Box for the 2.4" TFT Feather Wing – Sweet! This comes in two version, one exposes the Adafruit Feather, and the other covers it all up. The topper features a cutout for the display. 

Check out the TFT Feather Box

What If I Don't Have A 3D Printer?

Not to worry! You can use a 3D printing service such as 3DHubs or MakeXYZ to have a local 3D printer operator 3D print and ship you parts to you. This is a great way to get your parts 3D printed by local makers. You could also try checking out your local Library or search for a Maker Space.

Parts, Tools & Supplies

Here are some parts you may need to 3D print your Adafruit Feather Case. Some of them are optional, so you'll have to base the parts by your choose of components.

Prerequisites

If you are planning to use the integrated on/off switch, we suggest walking through the JST switch adapter guide. It'll walk you through all the necessary steps to build your own.

Choose Your Parts

We designed the enclosure with different applications in mind, so as a result we've created different versions for each part. For folks interested in portable projects, we have a battery holder that snap fits onto the bottom of the case. The case and battery holder have version with mounting tabs for projects that need to be surface mounted. The topper can fully cover up the feather or if you have a wing, you can expose the components using the wing topper. Look through the different versions and choose the ones that best suit your project.

Feather Case

This is the main enclosure which can house any of the Adafruit Feather boards. It features four standoffs, each with mounting holes. Two of standoffs are slotted to accomodate for different Adafruit Feathers. The mounting holes are 3mm in diameter. The Adafruit Feather requires machine screws to securely mount to the enclosure. Use either M2.5 or #4-40 sized screws. 

Case

Main enclosure, no switch holder or tabs.

feather-case.stl

Case with Switch Holder

Features holder for slide switch, no tabs.

feather-case-switch.stl

Case with Tabs

Features mounting tabs, no switch holder.

feather-case-tabs.stl

Case with Tabs & Switch

Features mount tabs and switch holder.

feather-case-tab-switch.stl

2.4" TFT  Case

Case for the Adafruit 2.4" TFT Feather Wing

feather-tft-case.stl

2.4" TFT Case (slim)

Exposes the Adafruit Feather on the back of the case.

feather-tft-case-slim.stl

Battery Holder

The battery holder can house a 2000mAh lithium ion 3.7v battery (or smaller). It features two connectors that snap fit onto the bottom of the case. It has a version with a spot dedicated to housing an integrated slide switch. There's also a version with mounting tabs.

Battery Holder

Battery holder with no switch holder or tabs

feather-bat.stl

Battery Holder with Switch

Features a slide switch holder.

feather-bat-switch.stl

Battery Holder with Tabs

Features mounting tabs

feather-bat-tab.stl

Battery Holder with Switch & Tabs

Features switch holder and mounting tabs

feather-bat-tab-switch.stl

Case Topper

This part fits over the case. It's features indentations in the inner lip that lock onto the top of the case, making a nice and secure fit. The topper can fully enclosure the case. It also comes in a version that exposes the entire Feather Wing and headers.

Topper

Fully covers the case

feather-top.stl

Topper with Wing

Features a cutout for any Adafruit Feather Wing.

feather-top-wing.stl

Topper for Headers

Features two cutouts for headers.

feather-top-headers.stl

Topper for 2.4" TFT Feather Wing

Includes standoffs for mounting PCB. Features cutout for display.

feather-tft-top.stl

Download the Files

Use the links below to download the files. You can download individual STLs or all of them in case you want to try out all the different versions. We also have the Autodek Fusion 360 source file, so you can modify the design. 

Modify, Adjust & Tweak

The design source files are available to download if you're interested in making adjustments. The enclosure was designed in Autodesk Fusion 360. Use the public shared link below to access the design source. You can download the solids in your preferred CAD format (Fusion 360 Archive, STEP, SAT, IGS, etc.) by clicking on the dropdown labeled as download in the upper top right of the design source page.

User Parameters

It's really easy to make parametric adjustments by simply updating a user paramater. We took advantage of user parameters in Fusion 360 so you can easily make changes without having to  edit a sketch and update dimensions. It's parametrically driven, so design features will automatically update. Below are the available user parameters.

Snap Tolerances
This parameter allows you to change the overall tolerances of all of the areas that snap fit. It's set to 0.3mm by default.

Case Length
You can adjust the overall length of the case by increasing or lowering this value. By default the case is set to be 68mm long.

Case Height
Need it to be taller? Or maybe you want it to be as slim as possible. Adjust this value change the height of the case.

Case Thickness
More of an extra, you can make the case thinner or thicker. It's 1.5mm thick by default.

Mounting Tab Holes
Want bigger/smaller mounting holes? Lower/increase this value to adjust the overall diameter of the mount tab holes.

3D Printing

Material

PLA is our filament of choose and a great option for people just getting into 3D Printing. Other materials such as ABS, Nylon, PETG might produce different tolerances, so be aware of that if the parts don't fit exactly. 

Slice The Files

You'll need to slice the parts using a profile made for your 3D printer. You can use free software such as CURA to slice your parts. We recommend using a slicing profile that works for your specific type of 3D printer. Below are some suggested slice settings.

Suggested Slice Settings

  • 0.4mm Nozzle
  • 100% (1.0) Extrusion Multiplier
  • 0.48mm Extrusion Width (for Simplify3D)
  • 0.5mm Line Width (for CURA)
  • 0.2mm Layer Height
  • 6 Top/Bottom Layers
  • 20% Infill
  • 60mm/s printing speed
  • 210C Extruder temperature
  • Non-heated bed – PrintInZ  Skin (Printing Surface)
  • Heated bed – 60C temperature

Optimize Tool Paths

It's important to thoroughly check your slicers tool path. Most slices have a visual "layers" mode to see the individual layers and movement of the tool head. Step through the layers and inspect how the walls/perimeters will be printed. You should have a solid 3-wall count. If there's a noticable gap between the inner/outer walls, you may need to adjust your slice settings until it produces a 3 perimeters. In Simplify3D, the desired setting is under Advanced > Thin Wall Behavior > Allowed perimeter overlap: 50%

Line Widths

It's important to set the slice settings so that the walls are printed with 3 perimeters. This gives the part rigidity and provides a clean tool path. This does not relate to the "Outline/Perimeter Shells" that should be set to 2 (referred to Wall Line Count in CURA). The thickness of the walls ought to provide 3 solid perimeters. You'll have to adjust the Extrusion Width (referred to as Line Width in CURA) in order to produce 3 perimeters.

First Layer

Getting a good first layer is crucial for succesfully printing the parts. It's also important to have good bed adhesion to avoid warped corners. Depending on your 3D printer, you'll may or may not have a heated bed. You might use blue painters tape but I suggest using a printing surface such as a PrintInZ skin. This subtrate is great for non-heated bed and offers really great bed adhesion to minimize warping.

Assembly

Mounting The Feather

You'll need machine screws in order to secure an Adafruit Feather to the case. In this example, we're using M2.5 nylon screws with nuts. 

Set & Align

First thing we'll need to do is set the Adafruit Feather into the case with the USB port facing the cutout. The PCB should rest over the standoffs. Position the board so the mounting holes line up with the holes in the standoffs. With the board positioned in place, hold it down using your finger and flip the case over.

Install Machine Screws

Insert a single machine screw into one of the mounting holes on the bottom of the case. If it's a M2.5 sized screw, the threading will be loose so you'll need a nut to secure the board to the case. If your using a #4-40, the threading will bite into the standoffs and mounting holes. I recommend using a screw with a chamfered head so that it can be flush with the surface of the case. The M2.5 nylon screws we offer have a beveled head, so it will slightly protrude from the bottom of the case. Once the first screw is secured, fasten it all the way. Then, insert and fasten the remaining screws into the standoffs. You can secure all four mounting holes, but you could also just secure the two nearest to the microUSB connector. 

The Battery

Before we fit the battery into the battery holder, we need to think about how we plan to use it. First, pick your battery size (2000mAh being the biggest that fits into the holder). You have the option to use a slide switch JST adapter or wire a slide switch to the enable and ground pins on the Adafruit Feather.

The slide switch JST adapter will allow you to cut the power from the battery. However, when you recharge the battery over microUSB, the Feather will stay powered on. You may or may not want the Feather powered on while recharging.

Connecting a slide switch to the enable and ground pins allows you to power off the Feather but still allow the the battery to recharge over microUSB. However, you'll have to use up one of the ground pins and connect directly to the enable pin – If you're using an Adafruit Feather Wing, you might find it cumbersome.

Either option, you'll have to determine which solution is best for your project. 

Install Switch

Once you've determined which powering method is best for your project, you'll need to mount the slide switch to either the case or battery holder – These parts come in different versions, so you get to pick which part should have the switch. The case and battery holder have options for a dedicated spot for the switch. It features three little walls that hold the switch in place without having to use any glue. A little cutout allows the actuator from the switch to protude out, giving you access to the set the switch on or off. To install the switch, simply insert it at an angle and press it down until the body of the switch is fitted between the three walls.

Connect & Install Battery

The battery itself is housed in the holder. If you're mounting the switch to the battery holder, you can route the wires to the case by feding it through the bottom square cutout on the case. 

Connect Battery Holder to Case

The battery holder features two little connectors that protude from the top. These are to be inserted into the two slots on the botton of the case. You'll need to apply a good amount of force to connect the two parts together. Once they click into place, they'll be locked together. If you ever want to detach the battery holder from the case, you can wedge a flathead screw driver inbeween the two and pry them apart.

Install Topper

Lay the topper over the case and press it down until the lip is fully inserted into the case. The lip of the topper will actually lock onto the nubs on the inner edge of the case, so it's nice and secure!

Mounting Tabs

If you're looking to mount your Feather to a wall orwork surface, you can use the "tabbed wings" version of the case or battery holder. The two mounting tabs have a hole with a diameter of 4mm with a distance of 55.86mm between them. 

Prototyping Headers

If you want to have access to the headers, you can use a topper wing to expose them. This topper has a cutout in the exact shape of the Adafruit Feather, so you can connect jumper wires from the headers to a breadboard.

Comments, Suggestions, Discussion!

Did you print one and wanna tell us about it? Do you have any suggestions for a new topper? Maybe you have a specific project that needs a special case? We want to hear about it! Drop us a comment in the Adafruit Forums, we have a dedicated topic there so we can have discussions there. 

TFT Feather Wing

TFT Feather Wing Enclosure

You can now use the TFT Feather Wing in your 3D printed feather box. This is a great way to make a portable project with a 2.4" TFT display. You'll need an Adafruit Feather, the TFT Feather Wing, and a 500mAh battery (optional).

Prerequisite Guide

Please make sure you've walked through the TFT Feather Wing tutorial before assembling this project – That guide will show you how to install header pins on the header, explains pinouts and software setup.

3D Printed Case for TFT Feather Wing

The enclosure is slightly different than the Feather Box. It's larger because it needs to enclose the entire display and PCB. The topper has a perfect cutout for the display and features the same "snap-fit" functionally – Just press it down on top of the enclosure to install it. The display requires M2.5 machine screws to secure the PCB to the topper.

 

The case comes in two different versions, one that exposes the Adafruit Feather and the other fully encloses it.

 

  • feather-tft-case.stl
  • feather-tft-case-slim.stl
  • feather-tft-top.stl

Install TFT Feather Wing to Topper

Start by laying the PCB over the topper with the display facing down and the topper facing up with the standoffs visible.

Orient Screen

Orient the display so the cutout is lined up with the screen. The cutout should only expose the viewing area and not any black borders. 

Mounting Holes

Line up the mounting holes on the PCB with the holes on the standoffs of the topper. The holes in the standoffs are ~2.5mm in diameter and ~4mm deep.

Fasten Machine Screws

Install and fasten a 2.5M 4mm size machine screws into each mounting hole. Hold PCB up against topper and keep it flush while fastening screws.

Secured TFT Display

Check PCB to ensure the TFT display is fully secured to the topper. Flip it over and double check the screen cutout is still properly oriented.

Install Feather to TFT Feather Wing

Now it's time to install the Adafruit Feather onto the TFT Feather Wing. Before we install it, we need to make sure the short header pins are installed on the bottom of the Feather. If you have regular header pins, use wire cutters to trim them short.

 

Start by orienting the board so the pins line up. Then, lay the board over the female headers and guide the pins into the holes. Press board down until pins are fully seated. The two plastic pieces from headers should be flush with each other.

Slide Switch (Optional)

If you'd like to use a slide switch to power your project on/off, then you'll need to wire up your own. This one is a bit special because the ends of each wire have short right angle header pins – These can easily plug into the second pair of female headers on the back of the TFT Feather Wing. Use the enable and ground pins to power off the circuit. Battery recharging will still be functional.

 

Thread Wires from Switch

Insert the two wires from the slide switch in between the Adafruit Feather and TFT display – Going through the side with the USB port. Pull the wires through the other end. This will allow us to connect the slide switch to the TFT display without too much excess wiring.

Connect Switch to TFT

Now we can connect the wires from the slide switch to the female headers on the TFT.  Plug in one wire to the enable pin and the other to the ground pin. Note: If the header pins from the switch are too tall, you won't be able to close the case. So, make sure they're low-profile!

Thread Wires from Battery

Next, we'll insert the cable from the 500mAh battery through the opposite side of the feather. Pull the cable through until it's about half way.

Connect Battery to Feather

Now we can plug in the male JST connector from the 500mAh battery to the female JST connector on the Adafruit Feather.

Secure Battery to TFT

You can secure the battery to the back of the TFT Feather wing using a blob of mounting tack. Stick it on the battery and place it on an area away from the on-board reset button and on/off switch.

TFT Feather Assembly

Now our TFT is secured to the topper! Next, we'll work on installing the slide switch (optional) and closing it all up!

Install Switch to Case

Next, we'll work on securing the slide switch to the case. Insert the body of the slide switch at an angle into the three walls inside the case – These will hold the slide switch in pace. The actuator from the slide switch will stick out slightly from the side of the case. 

Install Topper to Case

OK! Now it's time to close it all up. Orient the case so the the cutouts line up in the appropriate spots (microUSB and SD card slot). Then, insert the topper over the top of the case. Press the two parts together until they snap together. Make sure all of the wires all contained within the case! You don't want any of them to get kinked.

Complete Assembly!

Alright, looks like we're all done. Give it a try, test to see if everything works. If you installed the switch, turn it on! Test out battery charging, see if your USB cables connect properly. 

ESP8266 Feather Weather

If you're interested turning your TFT Feather Wing into weather station, you can check out the project linked below. Use the Adafruit Feather HUZZAH with ESP8266 WiFi and awesome software by Squix

This guide was first published on Mar 29, 2017. It was last updated on Mar 29, 2017.