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This week's post is all about the actual build. No coding, no software at all, a lot of pictures though. Here we go.


Original idea


My original idea, as proposed in my Roadtest application, was to "sandwich" all of the components between two sheets op plexiglass and provide access to the LCD for control.

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Because I'm not the handiest man around, I thought of designing the plexi sheets I would need and have them laser cut through some online laser cutting service.

I started searching for laser cutting services nearby, but once I saw the price to get what I wanted cut, I quickly abandoned that track. Way too expensive!


It was time to learn a new skill. I went to the local hardware store, bought a sheet of plexi, some drill bits, and got started ...


Getting started


Problem #1: How do I cut a piece of the right size, from the bigger sheet ?


I found that locking the plexi between two pieces of wood, making some cuts and snapping off the piece worked best.

This was after I tried using an electric saw, manual saw, and what not ...


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Problem #2: Cutting clean circles


From my little experiment with the electric saw earlier, I noticed that cutting too fast (and most likely with the wrong blade/drill bit/...) the plexi was melting.

I needed to cut two big circles for my speakers though, so I tried to drill slowly using a hole saw (meant for wood).


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So far, so good, the hole saw did the trick. On the the third and final problem.


Problem #3: Cutting a clean rectangle


Moving from success to success, I was more and more afraid of messing up and having to start all over again.


The last thing I needed to do, was to cut a rectangle out of the middle for the LCD touch cape to fit in.

I used a Dremel with a cutting disc to slowly cut out the shape. The plexi was melting, but I figured I would clean the edges using sandpaper afterwards.

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I started fitting the components to see if my work was at least usable:


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The different components fitted nicely, but the cut edges were very messy. So I came up with an idea to mask all of that ...




I designed and printed some custom pieces to:

  • hide my messy work
  • protect the speakers
  • hide the LCD cape buttons (as I don't use them)
  • give the overall build a nice look


I designed the pieces in Sketchup, based on the measurements I had made to cut and drill the plexi.


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After a few test prints and some corrections, I printed the final version of each piece:

  • speaker grill
  • LCD cover
  • radio stand

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End Result


Here it is, the end result. My Beaglebone Black Radio in all of its glory:

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The cables at the back still require some more cleaning up, but overall I'm very satisfied with the result!


With the build done, I can now spend the remaining time of the challenge on finalising the software side of the project.