Pibow layers and availablity


#1

I am a huge fan of the pibow cases. The discontinued midnight coupe with a lego base added looks very well mounted on a small single layer lego mounted/superglued as a mount on the side of my large flat screen tv. I also have a few other style pibows on my zeros and pi2s and threes.
The lego bases are nice mount option for a list of reasons. The extra layers are a nice add and easy to mod to fit on a coupe by cutting one side where the ports are for an inbetween stack layer.
My main complaint is that I can’t buy choice layers. I would love to buy just the pi zero w pibow red layer to mod my pre-exsisting pibow zero cases to fit the “W”. I also would love to add a few more defuser layers on a few of my zero cases. for the unicorn Phat and scroll Phats as well as the blinkt.

I guess the point is if more layers of different types were available for individual sale I would love to be able to change my current cases with them as well as build a custom case from them. Seeing you already have the inventory on hand I guess just listing the inventory more specifically and individually is all that needs to be done.
There really is quite the opportunity not only for greater profit for the same stock by the slight mark up of individual layers, stimulating more orders, but a great convenience to people like myself whom are constantly modifying cases for projects and aesthetics with new hardware.

Some suggested pibow layer ideas would be those that accommodate heat sinks and those that don’t. Sense-Hat variation tops. Pibow diffusers that fit well on all models. mid-layers for the coupe so a cover and walls can be added over a phat/hat. open GPIO area on bottoms so after market soldered connections are accessible (or just a gpio cut out on some tops so they can be used as a bottom without the extra holes).
Granted its probably not feasible to do every suggested variation but the ability to build a custom case is so ideal to creating a an aesthetically pleasing custom system.


#2

I just used my dremel tool with a cutting wheel, to modify the one layer of my Pibow Zero case to make it fit my Zero W. It’s not ideal, and not for everyone, but its what I did in a pinch.

Diffusors are the layers I’m after. For my Sense Hat LED matrix and pHat Beat VU meter. Sometimes having to buy a kit to get one is a bit of a pain.

+1 to the Heat sink cutouts. I’ve been doing it by hand with my dremel. The Zero doesn’t need one, but I like too add one anyway. I put them on my A+ too.


#3

For the diffusers I cut up a full ninja pibow diffuser layer into two phat sized diffusers and you could probably make a hat sized on out of it.


#4

‘just listing the inventory more specifically and individually’ is realistically quite a lot of work for what would probably ultimately only amount to a few pounds in sales.

Why do you think LEDs cost 10p each at maker stores when they’re 1p on Aliexpress in the thousands? The work and admin and storage systems and space and staff training and individual packaging takes up a big chunk of money.

It’s a sad case - because it sure would be convenient to have every part of every whatsit available separately (the screws from the speaker pHAT I keep losing for example) - but financially it can’t make sense I don’t think, even with a large markup because the sales would be low.

By my calculations:

  • there are 95 different pibow layers (excluding the already-listed extensions)
    -if it takes say half an hour to design a label, take product photos, write a blurb, upload it to the website, calculate the pricing, weigh it etc etc etc (a conservative estimate) that would mean nigh on 50 hours of employee time to pay for, plus all the other costs associated with such a process.

I have no affiliation with Pimoroni so I don’t know their view on this - but to me, it doesn’t look like a terribly good business prospect.


#5

Also - whether this is intentional or not, Pimoroni make more profit if you have to buy a whole new pibow zero W case than if you can modify an old one with a single layer.

Apple do it explicitly and intentionally - why include the same connector as the last version/the going standard when we can charge you 20 quid for an adapter?

Planned obsolescence if you will.


#6

Another problem would be if they started to do things like that then they would be constantly getting other requests increasing the effect above. This would be happening whilst they could be working on new Phats and hats such as seen in the past few weeks which ultimately would net the more money.


#7

I don’t need extra cases and waste sitting around so I would rather upcycle clear plastic packaging versus spend the $15 plus s/h for 1 or 2 layers. I would on the other hand buy individual layers say when I want another zero or shim or cheap phat or header. The more 2-3 pound Items I can pack in an order the more likely I will make the order which is really intended for one main item but cannot justify the shipping. I think certain pibow layers would also stimulate some sales. You don’t need 95 variations and colors but 2 or 3 more clear ones would work well. One that allows for the power, HDMI, csi, and a/v, and a blank solid lid to mod, possibly with a dark shipping/protective film vs. the white so it could also defuse. Those added to whats already available I could build a case to each temp set up I feel like without a bin of parts and excess cost.
Its not my business so I guess you guys know best. Was just a suggestion since I have bought cheap chinese cases on ebay to mod into my Pibow for certain setups but it hurts my eyes the visual of the hodge podge and obvious hack jobs.


#8

Ahoy all!

There are a few reasons why we don’t do more layers, they mostly boil down to logistics and providing value.

Firstly, when we cut a sheet of material it produces 200pcs, a lot of layers just aren’t/wouldn’t be that popular. It would be ridiculously time consuming to cut individuals or partials ramping the cost of a single layer to point where it would be insane.

Secondly, every different product/SKU we add requires effort in photography, description, pricing, stocking, shelf space, etc. This means we always have to consider the value of adding a new SKU to our inventory.

Thirdly, we make a laser cut case and we’d hope that people would reach out to their local hackspace or whatever to help them produce custom layers as they need them. There are online services for doing custom cuts too (when you see their pricing you’ll understand why short volume runs become somewhat infeasible).

Fourthly, shipping a single slice of delicate acrylic is a nightmare. We actually laser cut a card wrap for them adding more material costs, laser time, and packing time. We only offer it at all because we want people to be able to mod their Pibow - but honestly it’s a total pain.

Ultimately we try to offer a good range of options with reasonable flexibility at sensible price points. It’s just not possible for us to create every different possible option unfortunately!


#9

Only issue I have with the pibow zero is there’s no hole to swap out the SD card. Does anyone have a workaround for that?


#10

I found the @pimoroni account was very helpful on Twitter when I was modifying my B+ case to fit a 3B- they told me which layers need work and gave a bit of advice about how to cut perspex with a dremel. I’m sure that modding the Pi 0 case to fit a W is a minor adjustment to one layer


#11

I believe @RogueM has modded his Pibow Zero so that the SD card can be swapped out, @rasputnik!


#12

I can probably snip out a hole ok, I’m just a bit surprised it’s not accessible out of the box
(hadn’t realised until I bricked an assembled project and had to dismantle it to refresh).


#13

It’s a consequence of the cramped layout of the Zero and Zero W. There’s no space to route a piece of acrylic around the SD card holder to attach that top left corner, and hence no way to support that corner or the bottom left corner. I think separate corner pieces might be the only way. If you come up with a neat solution, please let us know!


#14

On the original Pi zero 1.2 (blue) pibow the Micro SD area can be cut out of layer 2 without the corner being disconnected. On the 1.3 (orange) pibow this is not so. Unfortunately on the 1.2 case the sd is dead center on where layers 1 & 2 meet so layer one still is in the way.
On the 1.3 case the SD is only boxed in by layer numbered two. It appears a one piece hack of either on a 2d level will be hard. on the 1.2 layers 1 & 2 can be shaved to allow a tap taged micro sd to pull out.
BUT it appears a new pibow layer could be made that allows it. If the orange 1.3 layer 2 had the same piece just below the GPIO as the pibow for the 1.2 has then a piece could be open to allow access. see photo.


#15

This is my Zero W case. Modified from a non-W Pibow in fact (I snipped some parts at the other end to accomodate components:

This means the corner below SD slot is unattached but with the tension on the nylon screw I never really had the problem of the part moving about. If you cared enough you could use the inner holes to secure it in place.

… I would say it is not by any means a fiddly and risky mod, the weak points on the layer are exactly where you want the material to break.

Still, I want to be sure that people don’t read this and don’t take a minimum of care if they attempt this mod, breakage may ensue and neither me or Pimoroni will replace the layer if things, however unlikely, do go wrong ;-)


#16

I modified one of the older cases. Version 2 I guess to fit a Zero W. I also cut the two middle layers orange and yellow so I can remove the SD card with a pair of forceps. I left the bottom Red and top clear layer as they originally were. My orange layer has two corners not connected to the rest of that layer. They stay put when the pi is in the case and the nuts and bolts are attached. Its a bit of a compromise but it works in a pinch if I actually need to remove the card.


#17

I had ordered a couple of the (black tinted) Ninja Diffusers. They arrived yesterday. Cut and trimmed one to fit my sense Hat. I’m really liking how the text looks on it now. Nice soft solid colors now instead of being able to see the pin pricks of light from the individual LED’s when up close. Two of the holes line right up with the mounting points of the sense hat it you turn the diffuser on it side. Long side up. I used those to mount it where the GPIO header is. Then notched the other end so I can access the joystick. I just used long screws and some nuts as spacers between it and the sense hat. The piece that’s left over will be cut to fit on top of my pHat Beat. I just used my Dremel tool, with some cutting wheels and a little sanding drum. I would happily order a kit of 2 or 3 precut diffusers for pHats. And or ones cut for the Sense Hat.