To Die or to Mould – Camera Aesthetics

Molds

Raspberry Pi Security Camera Aesthetics

In this article, we will cover the aesthetics design of the camera shell. In previous articles, we have covered how we went about designing the guts of the device. The camera aesthetics is an important part of the overall design and development process.

Considerations

On testing the device circuit, everything was found to be working ok; we started thinking about device aesthetics. The decision of what we should aim for was mainly based on the roadmap of the device (should be able to cram the future version in the same shell ?), and what kind of functionality we should pack, in the first release. Other than the apparent design questions related to heat dissipation, interference from shell, opaqueness and, connectors size and sockets, that we left for the design engineers to solve.

Figure 1: 3D modelling of the device shell

Initial Design

With these design parameters, we started working on our initial design. Once we were satisfied that we had taken care of settings that were important to us, then we went for 3D printing. 3D printed models are not of good quality, and you cannot try to screw in your stuff as they easily peel and chip off. These models only give you a neat idea about things to come. Figure 1 shows the 3D model of the CloudCam. The pictures below show the 3D printed models.

3D model

3D modelFigure 2: 3D printed prototypes

 

Prototypes and Improvements

3D printed models went thru a few iterations. We tested rigorously for various things like different sizes of micro USB connectors, snug-fitting of device parts inside it, fitting of standard sizes of multiple components purchased off the shelf. Choosing components is the area where you need to have good experience of what is cheap and abundant in the local market. Once the team was satisfied, we went for the next step of mould assembly design. Following is a set of drawings that will help in carving out a mould that can output the shell in a mould making machine. Figure 3 shows the design of the mould assembly.

Figure 3: The mould assembly drawing for the shell.

 

The mould making

After the mould assembly drawings were ready, we approached the local mould making outfit. They are also a startup as our own. At the start of our work, we have decided that we will give preference to local providers and among them, the ones that are open-minded, creative and in the startup phase. The idea was that we would work on this startup ecosystem and help each other grow.

So finally the work on building the mould started!

Steps in mould making

1 – cavity and heat treatment completed

cavity and heat treatment completed

2 – Core insert EDM

Core insert edm

3 – CNC complete

CNC complete

4 – The mould ready to be casted

mould ready to be casted

5 – The very first output, will require some iterations

 

Cloud Camera Hard Shell

Cloud Camera Hard Shell

6 – And Finally

After some fine-tuning, we went from sample generation to bulk manufacturing of the CloudCam. You can also put together your own DIY Raspberry Pi Security Camera we make it easy by providing you with various components and help with software.

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