You've got a raspberry pi but don't know whether you should encase it or not. Never fear, here are my top 5 Pi case reviews to help you out:
1. The cheap plastic case
If you really want to keep your board free from dust, danger, and ... dogs (?) then a case is a good idea. You can purchase a very reasonable cheap plastic case from ebay for under £5 delivered with slots for all the Raspberry Pi ports, including full access to the GPIO pins for those electronic projects you have planned (like the Little Box of Geek!). Sadly it does not come with any option for mounting and it is not weather proof, which could be a problem if you want to send your pi into space or leave it outside to record weather data. The case I looked at was
2. The Punnet
Fully customisable the Punnet is a fun way to protect your pi from... well... not much. But it looks totally cool and if you have access to a printer and some card is a very cheap, almost free alternative. I enjoy getting my students and other kids creating their own designs using the punnet. They can label explain all the ports and components of the Raspberry Pi by drawing on the punnet, and colour it in how they like. It's safe to say that it is definitely not weather proof, or fully dust proof, but it might help you remember where all your cables should go, and make you smile. You can print off your own punnet using this pdf.
3. The Lego Case
I love Lego. FACT. Who doesn't? Before the Raspberry Pi came along, I used to marvel at images on the internet of full tower PC cases made out of those little bricks. Even James May's Lego house filled me full of a sense of excitement. You can build anything! Of course, a natural fit would be to build a Pi Case from Lego, and it was a teenage girl who created a great step by step tutorial explaining how first! That design has been improved upon, and I made this one using the kit supplied. What I like about this design is that the lid fits snugly but comes off if you want to access the GPIO pins or even to plug in a PiCam. It was a total fiddle following the instructions, and I had to dedicate a whole hour to it's construction. Another bonus is that you can customise it using colours and bricks that work for you, and you can use up any old Lego pieces to stop you from treading on them... ouch!
4. The PiBow Case
All my students love the PiBow Case on our classroom Raspberry Pis. They are a stunning work of art from Pimoroni, and now come in a variety of different colours, not just the original rainbow. On my birthday this year, I received a surprise gift from the guys at Pimoroni who made me my very own Geek Gurl Diaries PiBow Case, with coloured noodle cables to match. It is my most prized possession and very handy to transport my pi around in. I find PiBow Cases to be very sturdy and hard wearing. They are also clearly labelled so that you can remember where each cable goes.
5. The 'No Case' Case
Yeah okay this is cheating, but there is an argument for not using a case. One of my friends uses his Pi nearly every day to program on and he has never put it in a case. I've visited Coder Dojo's and Jams where teenagers come along, setup their Pis and have a go at a coding project, and vary rarely do any of them use a case. I guess if you are not going to use it outside or mount it onto anything (like the back of a TV or Monitor) then you don't really need to encase it. There is something very beautiful about bare electronics and if nothing else the Raspberry Pi should show us that inside all our electronic devices there is something lurking in a very similar form, and is not to be frightened of. Opening them up and having a go (under parental/adult supervision of course!) could help us learn to create and make something better!