Review of Pimoroni’s Pibow Timber

I got myself a Raspberry Pi last Spring, played with it a bit, and then put it away back in its packaging, in a drawer, where it has languished ever since. I think the problem was that as it’s a bare board, it’s not really practical to leave it out. So, last week, I decided to get myself a case.

I opted for the Pibow Timber from Pimoroni, a relatively local company just an hour and a half down the road. Here is my review.

Background

I first heard of Pimoroni when Raspberry Pi themselves posted a link on Twitter to Pimoroni’s Pibow cases. To me, this seemed like some kind of tacit approval of the product, as until then, I’d always worried about overheating or other problems which might arise from putting my Pi in a third party case.

So, I took the plunge and ordered a Pibow timber, a gorgeous looking case made of spruce hardwood, together with a transparent top and base.

Ordering and Delivery

The Pimoroni site is quite well organised, and using their shopping cart was a breeze, but there was one glaring problem. Nowhere on the site could I find details of shipping costs. I elected to pay by PayPal (no offence Pimoroni, but I try to let as few people as possible have my credit card number!), so I was taken to the PayPal site to login. At this point, the basket total did not mention shipping costs at all. It was only after logging in with PayPal and returning to the Pimoroni site that £5 (around $7.75 USD at today’s exchange rate) was added to my order; a not insignificant amount to go on top of a £15 product. It would have been a much better experience if shipping costs were more prominently displayed on the site.

Following checkout, communication about my order and delivery time were exemplary. I ordered on a Sunday night, and the package arrived on Tuesday morning. The packing was neat, with very little waste. A simple cardboard sleeve (with instructions printed on the adhesive label) containing my case, and the fixings in a small plastic bag. Perfect.

Assembly

I would say that construction was child’s play, and it pretty much was. The pieces are finely crafted, and can be a bit delicate. In particular, care needs to be taken with piece #2, as it’s the only piece which isn’t a complete ring of wood … instead it’s just like a U-shape around three and a bit sides of the case. I made the mistake of letting my four-year-old help with sorting the pieces out, and no sooner had she picked it up, then “snap”! Thankfully, it was a clean break, and nothing that a dollop of Copydex adhesive couldn’t put back together. After leaving it five minutes to set, it seemed good as new.

Assembly really is just a case of stacking the pieces on top of one another (remembering to insert your Raspberry Pi between layers two and three) and then pushing the supplied nylon bolts down through the holes in the four corners. See images for pictures of assembly in progress. The result is beautiful it has to be said. I will now be quite happy to have my Pi sit next to my TV in full view.

Accessories

As part of my order, I also decided to buy an HDMI cable and a USB cable for charging, so I don’t need to cannibalise other equipment each time I want to use the Pi. As you might expect given their range of cases, a good selection of colours was available in each. In order to be a bit consistent, I elected for green in both cables. The cables themselves are lovely, and were neatly packaged when they arrived, but the greens are quite different shades to each other, which was a bit disappointing. I’d have rather opted for two contrasting colours rather than two kind of the same but clashing.

Summary

The Pibow timber (and presumably all the other half dozen or so Pibow cases) is a beautifully crafted case at a reasonable price. It’s turned my Pi from a circuit board gathering dust in a draw, to a computer I’m happy to leave out and about. Assembly was a breeze, despite a couple of delicate pieces. I’d recommend Pibow cases to anyone, and will definitely shop with Pimoroni again.