Arduino Esplora Case

by JoeyC, published

Arduino Esplora Case by JoeyC Feb 1, 2013


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This case is for the Arduino Esplora board. It includes a bezel for use with the Adafruit 1.8" display. It has clear windows with light guides for the RGB LED and light sensor, and tubes to guide sound to/from the beeper and mic. All the buttons including reset are brought up to the case top.


  1. Print the Bottom, Top, Buttons, Bezel, and LightGuides STL files at .3mm layer height, 50% fill, 0 extra shells. I recomend PLA for the Top and Bottom to minimize shrinkage issues. You may want to use support for the Top.stl file because of the tabs on the switch pushrods.

  2. Print the Windows.stl file using clear PLA at .3mm layer height, 100% fill, 0 extra shells.

  3. Glue the connector cover to the case bottom. It goes in the slot in the back all the way down with the thinner side up so the top case can go inside it. (I recoment test fitting everything together before gluing anything)

  4. Put the windows in the holes over the light sensor and the LEDs. They should be a tight fit and not need any glue. You may need to trim them to fit. I find that putting them in smooth side out looks best.

  5. Put the switch pushrods (the round things with the tabs on the side) into the holes in the top over the switches. They go with the tabs to the bottom. Make sure the slide freely. Glue the button tops onto the pushrods.

  6. Install the Esplora board into the case bottom. It is attached with #2 x 3/16 screws.

steps 7 and 8 are for using the display:

  1. Plug the display onto the Esplora board. I used two extra connector pins with the top halfs cut down to the plastic to support the other side of the display.

  2. Put the case top on the case bottom. Line up the display bezel over the display and tape it in place on the case. Take off the top and glue the bezel in from the back.

  3. Put the reset pushrod into the hole in the top over the reset switch. Make sure it slides freely.

  4. Put the case top onto the bottom. Do this with the top and bottom upright so the reset pushrod does not fall out of the top.

Parts list:

  1. Arduino Esplora board: Currently only avalible at Radio Shack. Online or in a store.
  2. Display: Adafruit 1.8" display. http://www.adafruit.com/products/358
  3. 2 x 3/16 sheet meatal screws: J&R Hobby hardware. http://www.jrhobbyhardware.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=122&products_id=315

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What would the screen do? Can you load something like Retopi onto it to emulate games?

No, but you can write an Arduino app that can draw lines, circles, boxes, and text. I used it to display data from a robot I was controlling over a radio link, using the Esplora.

It's just awesome ! Just printed it. Nearly perfect ! Used a 0.2mm per layer, so the rendering is pretty cool !

Just the pushrods that are a little bit too big (maybe because of the print, maybe not), so I will have to use a drill to enlage the holes.

I do not have an official esplora, so I will have to adapt a bit the screen hole (enlarge it a bit on the left), slightly trim the internal cylinders because of my screen more one the left than the original one and to enlarge the slider hole too. Nothing important, just a minute or two with my dremel :D

Thanks for this thing !

Your welcome. Glad you liked it.

When I have finished (almost already done), I'll post some pictures.

BTW, On my esplora, the slider tip is too short and only reaches the surface of the top. So I cannot use the "slider button" as it is intended to. I will just leave the small amount of the tip that is on top to use the slider. It's not a real problem, it's just to say for someones who could have bought the same kind of esplora.

Thanks again.

I have tested the EsploraTest.ino program with the latest Adafruit libs and Arduino IDE and it works.

I did find one issue with the libs. I have an older display that needs the following init line: disp.initR(INITR_REDTAB);

The newer libs support a 1.44 inch display as well as the 1.8 inch version used on the Explora. If you have an older display like mine, the added constant for the 1.44 display is the same value as INITR_REDTAB, so the display is not setup properly. (Not all the display area is used)

If you have this issue, change the line in Adafruit_ST7735.h that reads: #define INITR_144GREENTAB 0x1
to read: #define INITR_144GREENTAB 0x3

I have added the ino file I used to test all the Esplora functions, including the display. It uses the Adafruit display libs. I was able to build it with the latest IDE and Adafruit libs, but I haven't had a chance to test it. I'll check it out in the next couple of days and if there are any issues I'll update the ino.

The Adafruit libs can be found at:

They also have a great tutorial at: https://learn.adafruit.com/1-8-tft-display/overview

Hi Joey, I have made this thing and I am looking for a test program with the TFT display installed. Can you point me to some code? Also, what version of the Arduino IDE was used? You can reply here or e-mail me at [email protected]

Yes, it's in mm. The ones that size fit into the small square holes on the upper left. The round ones go in the holes on the mid right top and bottom. They are thin so you don't lose too much light. When printing clear plastic for a diffuser every layer transition loses more light.

Can I pay someone to print one of these for me?

Would love to, but non-commercial license prohibits.

Have a look at this: http://3dhubs.com/http://3dhubs.com/
maybe you find someone near you?

The STL files are generated using mm as the units. The base should be about 170mm or 6 11/16" wide.

Is the
Windows.stl also in MM? I put it into 3dhub and it comes back as 2.1 x 0.2 x 1.8 cm which sounds small.

so i just loaded the bottom of the case into slicer, and noticed that it looks like its larger than my print bed. somehow that just doesn't seem right. do i need to change the scale?