No GPIO Cable Slot on B+ Pibow?

Just got my Pibow case in the mail today and love the look and feel of it.

However, I was disappointed to find that there is longer a slot for the ribbon cable for the GPIO pins. I though it would have had it since the previous models did. Why was it remouved? Was it due to cost as what was said about the Lego holes on the bottom layer?

I guess I can mod it and file down a slot on one of the layers, but there is risk I’d snap the thin plastic while doing it. I’m just a little disappointed that I have to mod a case that costed me $20 CAD.

We found troubles with the longer GPIO ribbon slot- it was surprisingly difficult to cut, leading to warped plastic and we were somewhat afraid it might end up breaking in transit. We removed it to avoid any such woes, and created the Coupe as the more hackery-GPIO-access-style case.

However, you can very easily cut a slot in one of the layers- don’t try to file it down!

  • Build your PiBow around your Pi up until layer 6
  • Push on the GPIO cable, you’ll notice it wont go fully on
  • Very carefully hold the cable flat over the top and mark the edges onto layer 6 with a knife- do this by applying a firm downward pressure and rock the knife backwards and forwards- don’t try to saw or push too hard!
  • Remove your marked layer, grab a cutting board and carefully make the knife mark consistent across the layer- do this by pushing down firmly and drawing the knife towards yourself
  • Use a pair of cutting pliers to cut out a portion, apply slow, steady pressure and the layer should snip right on your mark

I just walked through these steps with my PiBow ninja, and the results are pretty good.

I put two tiney flat washers on each screw between my top clear layer and the next clear later to let heat out. My plastic screws will allow more room if i need. I have seen the same plastic screws at hardware stores, so if i need them longer to create a bigger gap i will be on the lookout for those once I finally test out a ribbon cable on the gap.

Yeah, I was thinking about using some plastic washers for now too. They have them at Home Depot, hopefully in the proper size.

Do you think there is a possibility of a release of a new top layer with opening for GPIO, like the coupe, but have the USB ports coverd? I’d hate to have to order a second case (coupe) so I can use my pu in an enclosure with GPIO.

It doesn’t make sense to put a hole in the top of the case for GPIO access- it’s just way too deep for pushing on jump wires, and really awkward for routing out a ribbon cable. If you remove a couple of layers and use a Coupé lid, then you basically have a Coupé which might suit you fine- I think we’re looking into selling those separately, so you could “convert” your PiBow into a Coupé when you need to, and use as many or as few layers as you like.

A top with the GPIO slot, but without the USB routing is unlikely- I just don’t think enough people would want it!

The 6th layer is just at the right level to really cleanly route out a ribbon cable, it’s not all that hard to modify and I have a guide for how to do so in the works.

This picture shows my PiBow, which I modified on Friday to verify my instructions weren’t just insane ramblings. You wouldn’t know it wasn’t made that way.

This shows where I marked and scored the layer with a knife. This makes for a cleaner and more accurate cut- if you use some of our cutting pliers then always make sure the flat side of the pliers is on the edge you’re keeping and the angled side is facing towards the piece you’re going to throw away.

The piece that routes around the USB port is only secured by one screw, but since it’s routed so tightly around the ports it doesn’t wiggle around or look messy.

Did you also trim a bit off behind the Ethernet port of the 6th layer (red in the Pibow Rainbow B+)?

The mod worked well.

Thanks :-)


Hi Guys,

As an alternative to using a knife which might not be suitable for children or people not use to working with sharp objects you might consider using a pen to mark the edges of the cable then use a razor saw or a junior hack saw to do the cutting.Rocking a blade back and forth as described is not safe if it slips.

Hope this helps,