Intel just announced the Joule 570x so I designed a 3D-printable enclosure. Who wants a Joule case?

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3D-printed Intel Joule Expansion Board Case

In anticipation of Intel's Joule System-on-a-Module I had sought out to capitalize on the media storm by getting an enclosure design for the expansion board available to hackers and makers as soon as possible. This didn't go as smoothly as I was hoping.

While Intel had not actually released as thorough of documentation about the exact placement of parts on their the board as I would have liked I've been closely examining what they have released. They were kind enough to specify exactly which parts they were using for externalizing interfaces so I've been rifling through datasheets and applying lessons learned from my other adventures in case design and believe I have something that will fit.

I'd really prefer to test this case immediately but don't have $370 just laying around, at least not yet. If anyone wants to run their 3D printer for a few hours and let me know how it goes I'd appreciate the effort. If Intel would like to send me a "sample" (hint hint) or at least some measurements regarding the placement of the external connectors that would be almost just as good if not a lot better.

I'll be excited to see how the Joule compares to the Jetson TK1. I can print up a case on my 3D-printing impulse-purchased Monoprice Select Mini (thanks for the heads up HaD!) so that's certainly a step in the right direction.

My trial copy of Rhinoceros which is a beautiful piece of software that I would love to be able to afford to someday (hint hint) has expired. I was revising the JouleBox mostly to reinforce the shell from 1mm to a 2mm thickness when this happened. The work was nearly complete but the way it was designed needs some very long (30mm) M2.5 machine screws, here's a link for those:

I've posted the Rhino-native OpenNURBS (.3dm) files with all the guidelines and the latest revision of the model I had before my trial copy expired. If anyone would like to revise it the machine screws I was hoping to use to bolt the case together were supposed to much smaller, maybe 12-16mm, I was shooting for 10mm in my first design but with a 2mm-thick shell that won't be possible.

There might be other revisions that need to happen that I'm not remembering. For those of you who may be trying to print this design best of luck to you. I apologize in advance if I screwed something else up ...

3dm - 39.65 MB - 11/26/2016 at 21:03


3dm - 20.99 MB - 11/26/2016 at 21:01


  • Latest revision OpenNURBS (.3dm) files posted

    balintechnologies11/26/2016 at 21:16 0 comments

    I can't work on this project anymore as my trial copy of Rhinoceros has expired so I'm posting my progress on the JouleBox and hoping I was actually finished with the latest revisions I was making to the design before it expired.

    I wasn't able to do a test print but at a glance it looks like the pieces might at least fit together. I can't even check with my copy of Rhino now crippled.

    Oh, I think I found what needed to get done. I had finished the revision only to realize I had borked the insets for the M2.5 machine screws. You were supposed to need 10mm screws but the posts I had designed places the heads flush to the top of the case.

    If you print these files as-is you'll need to procure so very long M2.5 machine screws ... 29.1mm long to be precise. What an odd length for a screw ... sorry!

    These look like they might be long enough.

  • Aaaaand the printer is down ...

    balintechnologies09/19/2016 at 23:15 0 comments

    My MP Select Mini's heatbreak needs a new PTFE lining. The printer jammed while I was printing the latest revision of the JouleBox's base plate. It should be up and running soon, the new version of the JouleBox will be 2mm thick for additional structural stability especially where the two shells overlap.

  • Files pulled, need major revisions.

    balintechnologies09/11/2016 at 04:24 0 comments

    Finally got some PLA and fired up the new printer on the 1st of September. The good news is I was able to print the JouleBox files and test to see how well they fit together. The bad news is that they kinda don't. The files have been pulled until revisions can be made.

    A lot has been learned about 3D printing in the last few days. I've successfully printed the first draft version of this case and before even testing it on an actual Joule Expansion Board I can already say that major revisions need to be made. The PLA plastic I printed the case with is strong but more brittle than my expectation. The thinnest pieces need to be about twice as thick. The panheads of my M2.5 bolts won't sink into their insets either. The print time is quite a bit longer than the slicer was predicting: not 5 hours, more like 7+. That can't be helped but the other problems will need to be fixed before I can asked anyone to bother testing the case with their Joule.

    My other project, the PocketPi, had similar issues but the connectors all lined up well which boosts my confidence about the JouleBox substantially. I've revised the PocketPi to as close to perfection as I can muster and will be applying the lessons learned to a revised Joule case. I haven't gotten any feedback about the JouleBox so I don't actually know if the ports line up. I think I'll make a stencil of where I've decided the ports are that won't take seven hours to build so a volunteer can let me know how they fit. If I can come up with $370 I'll buy a Joule and test it myself. I might as well since I designed a case for it and all.

  • Intel Joule Case is here!

    balintechnologies08/19/2016 at 23:41 0 comments

    Untested Intel Joule case is untested.

    The .OBJ files are now available to download as of this moment: 16:20:00 PST on Friday August 19th, 2016.

    If anyone has an Intel Joule 570x Expansion Board and is willing to sacrifice five and a half hours on a 3D printer to test this case so I can confirm that my measurements were accurate let me know about the results.

    The JouleBox should weigh in at about 32g and take approximately 5 hours and 20 minutes to print on a printer that extrudes 50mm per second.

    Naturally some modifications are still needed as a case fan might be a nice addition or a way to feed ribbon cables into the enclosure for the GPIO pins. The reference heatsink Intel provides will nearly reach the top of the case so I'm wondering if there should be vents above it. There's a lot of empty volume for accessories but this case is only 97mm x 82mm x 30mm which is only about 30% wider than your standard Raspberry Pi enclosure. I was thinking about adding a compartment for a 2.5" HDD/SSD bay in an expanded design and I'm open to ideas for additional features.

  • Beautiful render but it won't import ... !

    balintechnologies08/19/2016 at 09:39 0 comments

    I got a little carried away with the polygons on this one so my slicer choked and I had to roll back some design changes as even at the lowest export setting I was getting around 11,000 polys. Curves, curves everywhere.

    I'm going to clean up the kerf between the two shells and will release .obj files that I have confirmed will load into at least my own slicer tomorrow after I sleep some. I'm antipicating CAD nightmares.

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