Put Your Raspberry Pi 3 on a Diet By Removing Those Bulky Ports

One of the biggest selling points of the Raspberry Pi Zero and Zero W, aside from the absurdly low cost, is how slim they are. At just 5mm…

Cameron Coward
5 years ago

One of the biggest selling points of the Raspberry Pi Zero and Zero W, aside from the absurdly low cost, is how slim they are. At just 5mm (0.2”) thick, both of them are thin enough to fit in pretty much any project enclosure you have in mind. But, sometimes you need the full power of the Raspberry Pi 3, which contains a faster quadcore processor and twice the RAM.

If space is at a premium for your project, you can’t do much about the length and width of the Raspberry Pi 3, but you can slim it down. As shown on Pimoroni’s Bilge Tank, you can reduce the thickness of the Raspberry Pi 3 down to essentially the same as the Raspberry Pi Zero and Zero W. This can be achieved by simply removing some of the bulky ports.

The Raspberry Pi 3, unlike the Zero and Zero W, contains full size ports for USB, Ethernet, audio, and HDMI. While this is great for plugging directly into standard connectors (unlike the Zero, which uses mini-connectors), it does quadruple the thickness beyond what’s needed for the bare necessities. In Pimoroni’s write-up and Bilge Tank video, they demonstrate how removing those connectors gets the Raspberry Pi 3 just as slim as the Zero.

These modifications do, of course, take a little bit of work. Desoldering can be a little tricky for the uninitiated, and they even needed to use a hot air gun to get some of the ports apart. But, while it takes a bit of skill, it’s not a complicated procedure. If your next project needs to be ultra-thin, this is definitely a useful modification to make.

Cameron Coward
Writer for Hackster News. Maker, retrocomputing and 3D printing enthusiast, author of books, dog dad, motorcyclist, and nature lover.
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