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Raspberry PI Zero Round Cluster Case

by BuckRogers1965, published

Raspberry PI Zero Round Cluster Case by BuckRogers1965 Feb 27, 2016
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Summary

Update on 2017 June 13

v3 looks great. Full access to both usb ports and the hdmi ports.

Since my plan now is to have the control node be a pi zero w and accessing the device wirelessly, then the fan unit could just be an 80mm fan. A much smaller box than I originally planned could be under it that bolts to the fan and then have feet be screwed on by the same screws that hold the fan on.

Update on 2017 June 12

Just finished the 3rd version of the build with just a few minor tweeks. Printing it right now, will pull v3 if there is anything major comes up during printing.

Going to design the base next and get a raspi 2 installed into it by the end of the week. Work out some proof of concept things. Planning on hitting micro center next week, and picking up some micro sd cards so I can program all of them, I may put a raspi zero w into it instead of a raspi 3 just to keep it pi zero only

Update on 2017 June 11.

Finally got 12 raspberry pi zeros. It took a long long time. L

I printed the case and it was close, but just didn't fit correctly. So I made adjustments and am in the middle of printing again. I have uploaded my current work which is v2... if I make more changes it will be v3.

Getting closer and closer, will have the final project tomorrow night.

There is a base file that this cluster is designed to fit onto, with a 120 mm fan in the bottom. A raspberry pi 3 is supposed to be screwed into this base and then a fan added. Need to make a few more holes for power and a power switch.


This is a work in progress. Just posting it now to get some feed back. My write up of the project is at blogger.

This case is designed to allow you to put up to 12 PI Zeros into a single small computer case, wire them up with one pair of wires between each PI and run serial networking between them all. The benefit of this is very low latency communications but at the cost of low bandwidth. This is actually a very acceptable trade off with tasks that have frequent small messages that must be processed as quickly as possible. A single master node would be connected to a network switch and this would be used to dispatch jobs to the cluster. The short wire paths between boards should improve latency. I got this idea after reading about how the early Cray computers were constructed in a C shape to reduce wire length.

Eventually this will be a stack-able design and allow you to cluster many more machines in a small area. If this works for pi zero computers, then it would work even better using a Raspi 2 and a Raspi 3 when it comes out will have even more performance, or even some other computer board that is even higher performance and low power consumption. It should be straight forward to modify the function that is called to cut out the proper holes and slots for any of a dozen or so boards and adjust the quantity that you want in the case.

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I saw your project a while back (before you posted any stl's or source) and just re-discovered it.
Thought I could contribute a code snippet to smooth the vent holes on the end. It also leaves a little more material between the holes near the centre for additional strength.

Replace the 4 lines of "Bottom hole" code with:

translate ([-4,5,0])
rotate (90, [0,1,0])
linear_extrude(height=10)
hull()
{
  translate ([0,17,0])
  circle (r=6);
  circle (r=2.5);
}

Hope it's of use,

I need a few more Pi's before I print it myself!

regards,

Drew

Great idea! I just started using hulls for other things but didn't even think about using them there. :D

Very interesting cluster project! almost reminds me of the style of the ancient cray 1 systems. I do wonder why you haven't included screw holes in the base of it for fan mounting?

Jul 28, 2017 - Modified Jul 28, 2017
BuckRogers1965 - in reply to SashaGelert

I was just going to have it sit on top of a case that holds a 120mm fan that runs at a slow speed to control the noise. And have a ring connector that would let people keep stacking them up. I have a first cut, but need to put in some mounts for the fan still and want to try to print it once.

So you are basically daisy chaining them via the sub port?.. Also I was wondering if you could share the file as an STL

connecting/clustering them up via usb-gadget mode as cdc_ether (usb-network device) might be faster and maybe easier than running serial wires back and forth :-)

Feb 27, 2016 - Modified Feb 27, 2016
BuckRogers1965 - in reply to Jooxoe3i

That is certainly an option and there are already a dozen or more projects doing that very thing. I am interested in trying out the low latency serial communications of a tiny low power cluster of computers to see if it actually would make a difference in message passing. Going through usb and then network and coming back in through usb adds a tremendous amount of latency to every message, and doubles the cost of each cluster segment. And certainly, since the usb ports are facing out and are open you could easily plug in a dozen usb network devices.

Why not just slap on a WiFi dongle? Check my case. Granted it's squarish, and the dongle adds roughly 1/2 inch to the width of the face, but the throughout is a bit nicer.

Mar 12, 2016 - Modified Mar 12, 2016
BuckRogers1965 - in reply to txdo_msk

Again, latency. The most important measure in a message passing architecture is how long does it take to get the message from one node to the other. Also cost and power, you would double the power and cost and also need a network switch.

https://learn.adafruit.com/turning-your-raspberry-pi-zero-into-a-usb-gadget/ethernet-gadget
was what i had in mind - not usb-ethernet adapters.
the only thin you would need is a couple usb-otg cables and one usb-hub with one pi-zero as master -> not much extra cost :-)

Feb 29, 2016 - Modified Feb 29, 2016
BuckRogers1965 - in reply to Jooxoe3i

That looks very cool and would be much better than putting usb ethernet on each node. :D

But still a higher latency than a direct serial connection between every peer.

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