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Picture of A Raspberry Pi NAS That Really Look Like a NAS
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Why a Raspberry Pi NAS

Well, I have been searching for a beautiful yet space saving Raspberry Pi NAS from the internet and I found nothing. I did find some NAS design with a Raspberry Pi get glued to a wooden based but that is not what I want. I want a real NAS. Those looks like professional and durable that can be used to store my massive amount of movie collections. So I decided to build myself a NAS from the ground up. Yes, you heard that. FROM THE GROUND UP.


In this project, I will not use any existing parts that is specially design for Raspberry Pi NAS. Instead, I will be using some common parts you can easily found on Amazon or ebay. So, lets get started!

By the way, that is my initial design sketch up there.

Step 1: 3D Modeling and Printing

Picture of 3D Modeling and Printing
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After I have designed my NAS case in Autodesk Inventor, I test fit them to see if every joint is correctly designed.

Let me explains how the parts works. This case is divided into three parts. The left section is for the power management board and Raspberry Pi 3B+. You can use a Pi 3/ 2B+ as well as their footprint is the same. But you would want to use the Pi3B+ as it is faster. I will explain the detail later.

The right section of the case is design to hold two 5inch hard disk how swap mount (See picture 4). And the extra space at the back is for a 7 cm fan, a DC jack and the cabling.

mfrontuto1 month ago
very nice! can't wait for the finished OS. now that you have the design you should try to make this out of a sheet of aluminum. I would update for the Pi 4 though or add a board to give it usb 3.0
tobychui (author)  mfrontuto1 month ago
Hi, thanks for your comment. The OS is almost ready and after I can get my hands on a Pi 4, I will finish up the debug and testing process. (Raspberry Pi 4 is too hard to get at the moment, but I will see if I can get one soon :P ) Raspberry Pi 4 support will definitely be added soon, with its on board USB3.0 port and Gigabyte Ethernet, it is the best board to setup a Raspberry Pi NAS. I will also release a new instructable on this topic soon with improved casing and software. Please look forward to that :)))

Feel free to contact me at https://www.facebook.com/ImusLaboratory/ and keep yourself updated on the customized Raspberry Pi NAS OS.
Paitently awaiting on your updates. Have you considered maybe using a Banana Pro? it has sata, power and reset buttons and IR all on the baord.
tobychui (author)  mfrontuto1 month ago
I did consider of using Orange Pi instead of Raspberry or Banana (What a fruit basket xD) because of its faster CPU and ethernet port. In fact, the OS I am building can also be installed on boards that uses ARMv6l, v7 or ARM64 CPUs. If you got a Banana Pi and plenty of patients, feel free to contact us and join our on-going Beta testing :)
Might be easier to make it out of acrylic (Plexiglass) which can be purchased in sheets and laser cut (if you have access to a laser cutter). I was thinking something along these lines. Could be black, clear, transparent colors, basically any color you can find.

What's your idea? Do you have a layout in mind?
I do not have a laser cutter, but I would get my design like you on computer, and then lay it out on the plexiglass, you can then heat it up and bend it pretty easy. There are a few instructables on how to do it on here. As far as color, it might be cheaper to get the clear plexi and then scuff it up and paint it whatever you want. They even have glow in the dark colors or you can even add LED lights to it (if that is your thing, for my NAS simple and clean would be my choice though), but I do like the hole/grill look for the top for ventilation. I know that they are just hard drives, but I am a big fan (no pun intended) of cooling.
pmillho1 month ago
Cool build! I'm looking to do something similar. Surprised there are no commercial Raspberry Pi cases out there with room for drives.

Couple questions:
1. What is the largest dimension on your 3D print? That is to say, how big of a print area would one need to make the part with the largest footprint?
2. What did you print the enclosure with - PLA? ABS? Something else?
tobychui (author)  pmillho1 month ago
Thanks for the wait. I was quite busy a while ago and doesn't have time to check the Instructable comments. To answer your questions:
1. I don't kind of remember how big my printer's print bed was but I am quite sure it is a bit larger than a standard A4 paper but smaller than A3 with a rectangular shape instead of a square bed.
2. I printed it in PLA. I don't think my choice back then is good enough because the screws loose easily due to the soft plastic. Building the case out of Acrylic / harder material would be recommended.

daiku11 month ago
Will you upgrade your design for the Pi 4?
tobychui (author)  daiku11 month ago
Yes for sure, as soon as I can get my hand on one. :)
daveleb558 months ago
What the heck is "NAS?" I read your instructable twice, and am no closer to understanding what exactly you're trying to do.
Mr Wigs daveleb558 months ago
Got it! Thanks Wikipedia!

NAS = Network Attached Storage.

RAID (see other comments) = Redundant Array of Independent Disks.
Lolz my search results yielded "National Academy of Sciences" and the rapper, "Nas". Thank you! :)
n4mwd1 year ago

What about RAID? I like the idea of a serviceable NAS, but data integrity is also important. Can the PI handle RAID?

Yes, it can but it will be a software RAID. Linux has that flexibility.
You have to install mdadm package:

# sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get -qy install mdadm

Then, supposing you have two usb drives mounted as sda1 and sdb1, the command to create a RAID array with those 2, is:

# sudo mdadm --create --verbose /dev/md0 --level=mirror --raid-devices=2 /dev/sda1 /dev/sdb1

This creates a device /md0 which is the RAID array, in RAID1 format.

Then you format your device and mount it:

# sudo mkdir -p /mnt/raid1
# sudo mkfs.ext4 /dev/md0

# sudo mount /dev/md0 /mnt/raid1/


# ls -l /mnt/raid1/
total 16
drwx------ 2 root root 16384 Dec 3 16:40 lost+found

Then you edit your fstab file to mount the drive on boot.
#sudo nano /etc/fstab
and add the line:
/dev/md0 /mnt/raid1/ ext4 defaults,noatime 0 1

Save and exit with ctrl+x

Update the mdadm.conf configuration file:
sudo mdadm --detail --scan | sudo tee -a /etc/mdadm/mdadm.conf

and reboot, RAID should be set and ready to go!

With info from

https://blog.alexellis.io/hardened-raspberry-pi-nas/#30theraidarray

Thanks for the detailed instructions on how to set up a Pi Raid. One question, if you don't mind, is it possible to set up a Pi Raid such that there are two drives, one is a mechanical mirror drive, and the main drive is an SSD? The reason for that would be two fold. 1) The different technologies greatly reduce the odds that both will fail at the same time; and 2) the SSD could be used for increased speed.

tobychui (author)  n4mwd1 year ago

Nope, the Pi can't handle RAID. However, we are working on the software and try to make a copy across two NAS. Something like what Google Drive is doing with their files. In simple words, when a file is uploading to the NAS, the file get split into many 64MB chunks and duplicate across multiple drives with at least 3 copies of each chunk. So even if you lost a drive by accident, you can still recover the data from the same chunks stored on another NAS / drive. And we named that feacture as ArOZ Sync (Still work in progress).

n4mwd tobychui1 year ago

The odroid xu4q might be able to do raid. It supports usb 3.0 and 1G ethernet. Its 8 cores at 2GHz. An $8 sata adapter would be required for each drive. The xu4q is about 2x the price of the pi3 though.

hothmob1 year ago

Well, I like it- But your initiative seems to be about looks, for which you did an outstanding job creating a box. For my purposes, a NAS should be fast, robust, solid, and expandable. It should exist as a personal 'cloud' and should be as physically invisible as possible. In a clost, the attic, under the desk kinda device. However the software is not very robust, and kinda flaky. Hardware limitations are plentiful. I can see this thing maxing out over a simple file transfer - great effort, but not what I'm looking for in a NAS. I'd rather something be ugly (or hideable) and dead-nuts fast and functional to the core.

A Raspberry Pi NAS = A NASberry Pi

Phoenixoss1 year ago

Congratulations! Nice project I have only one concern speed of USB 2.0 on RPi3 :(

The USB 2.0 spec runs at 480 Mb/s, whereas the Wifi -G runs at about 450 Mb/s. Depending on the overhead, it should be able to keep up with Wifi speeds.

C'est excellent. Juste une question pourquoi pas avancer la carte raspberry pi et de ce fait connecter les USB en interne ? Sans avoir de connectique externe qui peuvent être arrachée est pliée.
tobychui (author)  michaela1811 year ago

Thanks for you comment. I don't know French so I tried to translate it to English online. Hope I didn't misunderstand your question.
The reason why I put the USB port outside is that I can connect it directly to my PC via USB if needed. For example, when I need to copy a large file, I can just unplug the USB cable from the NAS and plug it into my PC to utlize the full speed of USB 3.0 of the SATA to USB converter instead of the Pi's USB2.0 speed.

OK I understand better, you have perfectly understood my question. maybe there is another way for next time to do with a usb signal switch or while retractable. anyway it's a well done project. thank you for his writing and sharing

NYT11 year ago

Nice! Storage is my current gig, so always interested in ideas about NAS. I will take a look at your sync idea, and I may look into a Mint or similar OS on an old PC to better handle the throughput bottleneck.

That said back to Raspberry Pi build: What made you decide on the 1TB drive(s) vs. something larger? I guess what I am asking is was that a budget or on-hand limitation, or more to do with limitations on the build?

menglor1 year ago

I like the idea of this, but in all honesty, for the money and effort, it would be much simpler to just buy a working NAS, now the reason I even say all this, is because a NAS that supports 4 or 8 drives is so stupidly expensive, it make sense to do something like this.

I understand that your using the Pi through Sata to USB, but how hard would it to run a 8 drive Nas? is it just a bunch of USB to SATA plugged into a HUB? or would it need more elaborate soltuions?

tobychui (author)  menglor1 year ago

That is actually a good question. Let me explain this further.
For hardware, this project is just an experimental one that tries to push the latest Raspberry Pi to its limit, and the result is kind of OK. Of course, if you want to build something like a 4 - 8 drives NAS, I would go with those cheap and low power Intel Atom boards (e.g. D525?) with a PCI-E to SATA adapter, pluging all the drive into the motherboard via SATA interface.
For software, as the ArOZ Online (The NAS system that I am building) is design to run on both Windows and Linux (Debian), in theory you can just use your old Windows PC and install ArOZ Online on top of it. You can also enjoy some more benifits like SMB and Software RAIDs under Windows environment.
You can visit my page and leave me a comment if you want to chat more in these topics :)

thanks, I will look into the "Intel Atom boards "d525" but I like your project because its small. and I would like to build something that is small and usable. currently I am using a Proliant d270 with a 24 drive array (6 drives installed), but its a electricity monster. I would like to switch to something that a 8 drive NAS, but there in the 2000-3000$ range.

basically, I want something Small, Compact, has room for 8-12 drives. and be able to mount in windows. but doesnt have to be windows.

I like the SMB solution, RAID is not really something I care about, I am hosting Downloaded torrrent content which is disposable. so I like the idea of one Giant Drive, but redundancy is not a requirement. Power conservation is more important so using an OLD PC, is annoying since it would be big and bulky (as what I have right now is)

I like windows as an OS, but I find that I want something that starts up and runs as a file server and just works. sounds like I might need to just invest in a small ATX board with a few SATA boards that support 8 - 12 drives

FreeNAS OS on a cheap older motherboard and processor runs with no issues. Plenty of youtube videos on how to set it up (I figured out how without ever having used the OS before and without help in about 30 mins) Easy to use and easily works cross platform. I have Ubuntu, Windows 8.1, 10, and 3 diffrent versions of MAC OS X connecting to it with no hiccups

thanks for the tip on the FreeNAS, I will look it that. I am going to buy one of those 8 port SATA cards and see if that works for me.

hasues menglor1 year ago

"RAID is not really something I care about, I am hosting Downloaded
torrrent content which is disposable. so I like the idea of one Giant
Drive"

Isn't that RAID 0?

I think you would probably want a micro ITX board or smaller.

A very nice design, good work! I have a suggestion to do a similar design but use the Intel NUC. I used the Pi for a year as a server, and the darn thing would hang every few weeks. I think the quality level of Raspberry Pi is not up to any server standard. Go with the NUC!

This seems to be something that I would like to have and build, although I am having some difficulties understanding your instructions, as punctuation, the use of plurals and singular in reverse. These may be simply cultural differences.

One thing that I would do is to add nylon stand-offs instead of tape and glue.
The other would be to add internal USB ports and then have the two plugs that you have sticking out of the back with the cables returning to the inside through holes, to stay inside.

Thank you for sharing your project here, I'll definitely build my own real soon. I'm considering using SSD'S to make it lighter. I have a contact where I can buy 1TB SSD drives.

I will need to first finish building my 3D printer. I'm gathering all of the parts right now.

Thanks again, kudos!
GugaC1 year ago

This is a awesome project, however, I would consider a adapter to power the hard drives, using only one power cord and power brick, so both devices can be powered by the same power source.

tobychui (author)  GugaC1 year ago

Actually both of the hard disk and the pi is powered by the same power supply. What is different is that there is an internal buck converter for supplying 5V for the pi. You don't need two different power supply / power source for this build :)

GugaC tobychui1 year ago

Thanks for the reply, now I got the idea, I though that was more than one power supply.

BinY21 year ago

nice project, I have been looking for a NAS for a long time, might just build my own.

Thanks for sharing!

ToddW_001 year ago

Interesting but not being savvy to the subject, what's an NAS :)

tobychui (author)  ToddW_001 year ago

NAS is short for Network Attached Storage. Although I am not Google, here is the link for the Wiki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network-attached_sto...

Enjoy :)

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