So you’ve decided to paint your walls white, remove all but necessary furniture, fit hard flooring and install huge glass pane windows – yes, you’re the minimalist ‘Grand Designs’ type! You like the clean, uncluttered and modern look. I get it, I dig it, I wish I could be less messy myself.
But what about your Raspberry Pi media centre? Do you really want another box under your super-flat TV cluttering your squeaky clean atmosphere, with all of its wires coming out of every angle? You really want to hide all of that…but how?
Well here’s a solution, a real nice shiny metal one too – a PiCano case from Steve Royd Marker. This beautifully machined case secures your Pi to the back of your TV or Monitor, out of sight but fully connected.
Let’s take a look…
What is VESA?
VESA stands for the Video Electronics Standards Association. These guys set the standard for a whole bucket load of video peripherals, including the mounting points for your flat-screen TV.
Ever noticed the 4 holes at the back of your television? Go have a look now. There are a few different spacing settings floating about – mine is 100×200, but depending on your screen size and make, it could be 100x100mm, 200x200mm or something else.
Whilst the proper name is the Flat Display Mounting Interface (FDMI), or alternatively the VESA Mounting Interface Standard (MIS) – 99% of the world just call it the VESA mount.
The PiCano is 100x100mm VESA, but cheap adapters mean you can use it on any screen.
Why Hide my Beautiful Pi!?
Yes we all love having the innocent little board on display, but there are a lot of reasons you might want to mount your PI behind your screen. Here’s a few off the top of my head:
- When you don’t have a cabinet of shelf below your TV, for example when mounted on a wall in a bedroom
- To maintain a minimalist look in a room – avoiding too many TV-related boxes cluttering your cabinet
- To keep you Pi out of reach of children and pets
- …just because you can!
Steve Royd Marker is a clever chap. I checked out his website and he’s made a lot of cool things out of various materials – but I think the PiCano is his masterpiece. It’s a versatile case system for the Raspberry Pi that can be used as a standalone case, a Pi stacking system, or it’s coolest use – a VESA case to mount your PI on the back of your TV.
The case is made of 2 main aluminium panels, with the Pi housed inside mounted on a snug acrylic panel. The whole thing is held together with metal spacers, bolts and nuts – which are included. A lot of attention to detail has gone into the design including countersunk screws, rubber feet and the laser cut label on the front.
Visually it’s rather impressive with its bold industrial look and a pinch of ‘retro space film’ in there too. The unit is solid once assembled and feels very well designed and manufactured.
Building the Case
The PiCano comes with an A4 sheet of instructions included in the package. I like how Steve has used an exploded diagram as the build guide – great for the younger lot who may not have seen much of these diagrams before, a learning opportunity as well as a ‘father & son’ project.
I decided to lay out all the parts first:
Building the PiCano is completed in 3 main parts, then all put together at the very end. You prepare the 2 metal outer plates ready with fixings, and then attach the Raspberry Pi to the acrylic plate:
One of the things I like about this case – that sets it apart from others – is how it can be used in different ways depending on your needs.
I get bored easily so this is great for me as I can change how I present my Pi from one week to the next. I’m going to try the minimalist ‘behind the screen’ setup for a while – I have enough Pis dotted around the home anyway so I can deal with hiding one!
Steve has made a really nice case here, and I imagine it took a lot of time to get all the details ironed out. It’s solid, looks good, and offers a lot of options in terms of usage. If you’re a bit bored of the endless acrylic cases on the market for the Raspberry Pi, the PiCano could be your new best friend.
Want one? Get your PiCano here.