With acces to a 3D printer at TI, we decided that printing out a plastic housing for the BeaglePhone would create a more finished product. This was one of the aspects of the project that we did not look at until the end of the design process to make sure that we had accounted for all of the parts that would need to be enclosed in the housing.
Most of the CAD experience within our group, was in FRED, an optical modelling program. Since this program was designed for optical analysis, it does not have the same capabilities for 3D modelling as a program like SolidWorks but had enough power for what we needed it for. The output file type for is either *.FRD, *.IGS, or *.STP. While *.IGS or *.STP are standard file types for most 3D modelling, the input for the 3D printer needed to be *.STL. To convert to this file type, another program, FreeCAD, was used. No design was done in this program, just a file conversion. The *.STL file was then input into the 3D printing software Makerware.
. FRED Model(.FRD) FreeCAD Model(.STP) MakerWare Model(.STL)
Because of the protruding screw holes on the LCD cape that we used, we were able to create a few notches in the edge of the case that would allow the cell phone to be supported by the cape.
A top to the case was also created that had an opening for the LCD screen itself as well as for the buttons, although they had no functionality in our design.
Top Piece of Case(.FRD)