Blender Project (Raspberry Pi)

Josh Tymburski

For my project, I decided to model one of my favourite owned items, my Raspberry Pi. For those not familiar, the raspberry pi is a credit card sized single board computer. It was initially designed with the intention of promoting teaching of basic computer science in schools, but that is besides the point. More information on the pi can be found here and here for those that are interested. As being one of my favourite items, it was a natural pick for modelling, as I could directly model it from my eye view. This is, however, the initial raspberry pi, IE, the model A, so it will contain a few differences to the current generation of the raspberry pi. This will be organized in the following order:

1. Overview
2. Difficulties
3. Conclusion

Here is a direct picture of the pi that I modelled.

Two different angles on my currently owned Raspberry Pi


This project had to be broken down into several pieces for it to come nicely together. I will quickly overview each section of how this was built, and show each individual part from it's appropiate view.

To start, we had to model the inital board. This was a simple plane that had a thickness modifier as well as a simple colour coat. Here is the circuit board.

The next portion involved modelling each individual piece. I decided to start with the pronged chip. It included 13 prongs on each seperate side, as long as some shaping on the sides to match that of the chip. I also included some prongs on the bottom to emulate the soldering on the bottom of the board. Here it is as a close up.

One of the more difficult portions of this project was the Video Port. The shaping of it and it's involvement of multiple surfaces made it a bit of a challenge, but not impossible. Again, to emulate the soldering, prongs were included on the bottom. The main two portions were a cube and two cylinders, which were shaped to give the appropiate look. Here is a close up.

The audio port was next on the to do list. After completing the Video Port, this one became a little simpler since I already had some experience manipulating cylinders to look nice with the rest of the shape. Included were the grooves (to some degree) and the stand/prongs on the bottom. Here is a close up of the audio port.

Next, we look at the USB portion of the pi. The pi itself comes with a two USB ports, coupled into a singular casing to provide a small barrier. The nice part about this was that after creating a singular branch of the USB's, all I had to do was duplicate it and position correctly above the original, add the barrier, and the USB double port would be complete. Here is a close up of the dual USB port.

The interior of the next portion provided more of a challenge than I had initially anticipated. The multi-level that happens within the middle of the bottom of the port was troubling to do, and took longer than hoped. However, after the initial shape was done, the main part was just to add "plates" on the interior to act as the inside of the port and it was done. Here is a close up of the Ethernet port.

The HDMI port was a one of the funner portions as it caused for direct percision and is one that has a little more detail. The abnormal shape of the port made it a little difficult to map into Blender. This was also the first port that I worked on, so it was really my first experience of building something of my own within Blender (as all my other 'projects' were through tutorials, so I had a guide). Here is a close up of the HDMI port.

And finally, the two chips on the board. These two chips have lots of detail within them on the actual Pi board itself, which made the process for porting it into Blender a challenge. There is a singular black "inside" on the chip with white plates on either side. Here is a close up of the chip.


I would say that the initial difficulty branched from the lack of experience in any kind of modelling. As a individual, I was always terrible at anything art related. I had zero drawing skills. Even my stick figures looked bad. So, going into the project, I was worried about how well it might turn out in the end. The next difficulty I encountered was the issue of learning Blender. As a very comprehensive program with many features, it comes with the big responsibility of learning how to control all these features and use it to my advantage to model an object that would be worth even looking at. Luckily, a friend recommended I try out a site call "Blender: From Noob to Pro" and it worked wonders at teaching me the basics of modelling within Blender as well as a little of advanced material. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to get their feet wet with Blender. A link to the project can be found here. It gives excellent insight as to the workings of Blender and provides easy access for new members.

Once I had gone through the tutorials and had decided what I was going to model, I had to go through the process of breaking everything up into manageable pieces. I initially started off by breaking things into too many pieces. That is, instead of breaking it up into ports, I would break each different item on the Pi board into another set of parts, and it ended up getting far more complicated than it initially should have been, so I had to take a step back, re-evaluate and simplify. The next big complication I ran into was whilst modelling the actual items themselves. Too many times, faces would fail to line up, even though it appeared that from each side, the edges lined up. Modifiers would also fail to apply in the way I expected them to, causing of much headache the first few nights. The item that I had the most difficulty with was the Video Port. This involved several layers of different objects to look proper, but in the end, I'm quite happy with how it looks. The cube itself required 5 different layers to make up for the appropiate grooves around the top and sides of the port. The input cylinder was one that I couldn't figure out how to do for the longest time, as I knew that just applying a thickness to a hollow sphere would not make it turn out right. Even giving it a smooth modifier after applying thickness didn't work out how I wanted. I eventually came to the conclusion that it would be best to use multiple cylinders to emulate the port best, as, on the actual board, they do use multiple cylinders! (A metal hollow one with an interior yellow plastic one). After completing the video port, the audio port came much easier to me, as I had already messed around with the cylinders and could use that knowledge to my advantage. The final more difficult portion of the Pi board was the 2 chips. Trying to get most of the parts on the chip to line up with the real Pi board became very tricky, as the chip has multiple layers to it. To be honest, it's something that I'm not overly happy about as of this time, and something I'd like to work on in the future, time provided. However, after multiple hours of tackling several of the layers, I've brought it to a manageable state where it's presentable to go onto the board.


Overall, I'm quite happy with the progress of my raspberry pi emulation and how it turned out. As an individual with next to no art abilities, building something like this in a 3d modelling program makes me quite happy overall. I quite enjoyed working on it. Although the board isn't quite as detailed as it could be, the final product is something that I have no regret in. This has also shown me the power behind the 3d modelling program Blender and given me a new respect for individuals who use these programs for a living. Even coupled with the challenges that I faced the learning of the program is something that I think will greatly benefit me in the future. If I were to do it again, I think I would want to delegate more time to attempting detailed on each individual part, such as the indents and grooves on the metail parts. The next step would be to add the detail to the board directly itself, such as the Pi symbol, the lines connecting each individual part, etc. Overall, a fun and good learning experience.