Knowledge for the World

Raspberry Pi Projects

Find amazing Pi projects for any skill level!

So you just got a new Raspberry Pi. Not sure what to do with it? No problem.

We've built a list of the most popular Raspberry Pi guides that you can follow step by step.

Most of these projects can be completed using any Raspberry Pi model (even the older ones!). Just in case, we've listed exactly which Pi models can be used for each project.

Raspberry Pi 3 projects

The Raspberry Pi 3 B+ is the newest and most powerful model (though, technically, the Raspberry Pi 3 A+ is newer but less powerful than the B+). This makes the B+ ideal for projects that require intensive processing.

Raspberry Pi Zero projects

The Raspberry Pi Zero W is smaller, cheaper, and less powerful than its big brother. However, its size and lower power consumption make it perfect for small or portable projects. While nearly all of these projects can be completed with the Zero, several of them were made specifically for it.

Other models

If you have an older Pi (1, 2, etc.), you can still complete most of these projects!

Projects for any skill level

We've added a difficulty rating to each project to ensure that you'll find something great to make — whether you're a Raspberry Pi noob or hobby electronics veteran.

Project cost

We've estimated the hardware cost for completing each project. If you're reading this guide, you probably already have your Pi, charger, and SD card; therefore, we haven't included those things in the cost. This will make it easier to identify the free ones that don't require any additional hardware (most of the projects listed here don't require any additional hardware). :)

Let's get started!

1

RetroPie: Video game emulation

By far the most popular video game emulation library on the Pi, RetroPie is free, can be installed in minutes, and allows you to play thousands of your favorite vintage video games -- from tons of different systems (even the obscure ones).

CostDifficultyPi Models
~$20 (for this USB gamepad and HDMI cable)EasyAny*

See full guide

2

Kodi: Home theater

Kodi (formerly XBMC) is a free and open-source media center that allows you to access a full library of movies, TV shows, music, and more. Installing Kodi on the Raspberry Pi is a breeze.

Kodi Plugins give you access to a wider range of functionality -- like additional channels and movies. You can also install Kodi on RetroPie for a more seamless setup!

CostDifficultyPi Models
FreeEasyAny

See full guide

3

OctoPrint: Control and monitor your 3D printer remotely

If you're into 3D printing and the Raspberry Pi, OctoPrint is a must-have. OctoPrint allows you to control and monitor your 3D printer remotely -- no more dropping files onto an SD card for you.

Simply install OctoPrint, connect your Pi to your printer's USB port, and connect an optional Raspberry Pi camera and you're good to go!

OctoPrint video

CostDifficultyPi Models
~$5-35 for this optional Raspberry Pi Camera and extension cableModerate3, 3+

See full guide

4

Plex: Media and streaming server

Plex is a free and open-source media and streaming server, allowing you to stream video, audio, photos, and more directly from your Pi. Plex runs on a variety of devices and operating systems but you can set up your own Raspberry Pi Plex server in minutes.

CostDifficultyPi Models
FreeEasyAny

See full guide

5

NAS: Network-attached storage

Network-attached storage (NAS) is a popular choice for storing and sharing files on your home or work network. Rather than buying an expensive NAS device, you can make your own Raspberry Pi NAS instead. It takes only minutes to get running and works on Windows, Mac, or Linux!

CostDifficultyPi Models
FreeEasyAny

See full guide

6
Steam Link

In 2015, Valve released Steam Link, a small computer that allowed you to stream video games over your network to your TV, tablet, or phone. In 2018, Valve announced that they'd be discontinuing the hardware.

Later that year, they officially released Steam Link for the Raspberry Pi, allowing you to continue streaming your favorite video games across your network.

CostDifficultyPi Models
FreeEasyAny

See full guide

7

Retro computer emulation

You don't need to spend hundreds on eBay to mess around with vintage computers. Our guide on Raspberry Pi retro computer emulation features the most popular vintage computers that can be emulated on the Pi; check it out (and if we're missing your favorite, let us know in the comments section).

Many systems can be emulated directly in RetroPie; other systems require their own image to be loaded in order to run. Either way, it only takes a few clicks and keystrokes and you'll be in monochrome heaven. While you're there, you can even play some of your favorite retro computer games. ;)

CostDifficultyPi Models
FreeEasyAny

See full guide

8

Pi-Hole: Block ads at the network level

Pi-Hole is a free network-wide ad blocking library.

What does this mean? While traditional ad blockers block ads after they've already passed through your network, Pi-Hole essentially allows your Pi to act as a DNS server, blocking ad network scripts before they use your precious network bandwidth.

Many users report seeing as much as a 25% reduction in network traffic -- in other words, 25% of their former traffic was ad-related. Check out our Pi-Hole setup guide to get started!

CostDifficultyPi Models
FreeEasyAny

See full guide

9

Magic mirror (smart mirror)

Have you seen those Raspberry Pi magic mirrors making the rounds? A clever two-way mirror setup overlaid over an old computer monitor creates a holographic effect; a futuristic display showing the day's weather, traffic, calendar, and more!

The magic mirror is then mounted on the wall or set on a table. The most popular platform for building the smart mirror "dashboard" is MichMich's MagicMirror^2.

You can also install the Magic Mirror dashboard and display it on your normal computer monitor without the mirror effect.

CostDifficultyPi Models
FreeEasyAny

See full guide

10

Google Home-enabled magic mirror

Why not talk to your mirror and have it talk back? Google Assistant can be installed on any Raspberry Pi using the Google AIY Voice Kit; so a Google Home-enabled magic mirror is an obvious choice. :)

Build video

CostDifficultyPi Models
~$200ModerateAny

See full guide

11

DIY Amazon Echo

All you need to build your own Raspberry Pi Amazon Echo is a USB microphone and your Pi! This is a fun, easy project that's a great introduction into running third-party voice control systems on the Pi.

You can even use it to turn a Furby into an Amazon Echo:

CostDifficultyPi Models
~$10EasyAny

See full guide

12

Security camera

Make your own DIY Raspberry Pi security camera using motionEyeOS, a customized Linux distribution for turning your Pi into a surveillance camera.

motionEyeOS is powered by the Motion library, giving you powerful, stable control over your Pi's camera. Video feeds can be accessed remotely and uploaded automatically to a server for backup.

CostDifficultyPi Models
~$30 for this Raspberry Pi CameraEasyAny

See full guide

13

Raspberry Pi calendar

Build your own standalone Raspberry Pi calendar and mount it on your desk or wall! This is super handy for families to stay on top of their appointments and activities (and great for individuals too).

There's just something nice about a dedicated display showing your most important upcoming events.

CostDifficultyPi Models
FreeModerateAny

See full guide

14

Raspberry Pi "Clapper"

Clap on! Clap off! Pi Clapper! 👏👏

As annoying as that commercial was, you have to admit The Clapper was pretty cool. Now you can control your Pi (and other things) with your very own Raspberry Pi clapper.

Shut down your Pi, send a Tweet, turn off your lights, activate a servo motor, or anything else you can come up with -- all with a clap or two.

CostDifficultyPi Models
~$10 (for a USB microphone and some test LEDs)ModerateAny

See full guide

15

Raspberry Pi alarm clock

Build your own DIY smart alarm clock using a Raspberry Pi!

CostDifficultyPi Models
~$15ModerateAny

See full guide

16

Retrobox: All-in-one arcade joystick

The Retrobox is an all-in-one Raspberry Pi arcade joystick. The basic parts for this project include a housing, arcade button kit, and a thin piece of plexiglass.

A Raspberry Pi is mounted inside the housing. Holes are then drilled through the housing and plexiglass to securely mount the buttons and joystick. Finally, the buttons are connected directly to the Pi via USB.

You can use the Retrobox as a normal USB device as well -- on your computer or another Pi (this means you can even build a second one for a second player). This is definitely a cool project and one of the most fun ones we've ever created.

Build video

CostDifficultyPi Models
~$65ModerateAny

See full guide

17

Raspberry Pi garage door opener

When thinking about home automation, controlling your garage door is a pretty obvious first. This guide will teach you how to create your own Raspberry Pi garage door opener so that you can open and close your garage door remotely using your phone!

This is indeed a neat approach -- one of your original garage door remotes is connected via a relay directly to the Pi. A small webpage running on the Pi can be accessed via your phone or computer.

When you tap the button on the webpage, the Pi triggers a relay connected to the garage door opener and your garage door opens or closes. A sensor monitors your garage door's state (open, closed, or partially open) so it knows which command to send.

CostDifficultyPi Models
~$15 (for this relay module and a magnetic reed switchModerateAny

See full guide

18

MIDI keyboard synthesizer

Kickstart your digital music career by creating your own Raspberry Pi synthesizer powered by a MIDI keyboard! All you need is a [musical] keyboard with a USB port and program called Pure Data.

Short demo video

CostDifficultyPi Models
~$35 for this USB MIDI keyboard (or, bring your own!)ModerateAny

See full guide

19

Solar-powered Pi

If you have an outdoor project that you'd like to run continuously (or just think alternative energy sources are really freaking cool), then you might want to power your Pi using solar power.

In a nutshell, a rechargeable battery pack and power management board are connected to your Pi; then, a solar panel is connected to the power management board, allowing your Pi to operate in rain or shine. You can also connect the solar panel directly to the Pi but depending on the size of the solar panel and the cloud cover where you live, this might lead to continuous, unexpected shutdowns.

Either way, this is a fun project that will teach you a ton about electricity, solar panels, batteries, and powering DC electronics portably.

CostDifficultyPi Models
~$115EasyAny

See full guide

20

Pi Cart: RetroPie in an original NES cartridge

Build your own Raspberry Pi retro gaming rig inside an original Nintendo cartridge. The Pi Cart is a fun, quick project that requires no soldering. When you're done, connect the Pi Cart to your TV or monitor and start gaming.

Build video

CostDifficultyPi Models
~$20EasyZero, Zero W

See full guide

21

Gamepad Zero: RetroPie in an original NES controller

The Gamepad Zero is a Raspberry Pi Zero inside an original NES controller. The original controller is soldered directly to the Pi's GPIO pins, meaning the original NES controller's printed circuit board is used as the controller. Additional controllers can also be connected for multiplayer action!

You'll need access to a 3D printer for this project! Don't have one? Check out the guide for other options to get your model printed.

Build video

CostDifficultyPi Models
~$40ModerateZero, Zero W

See full guide

22

Super Gamepad Zero: RetroPie in an original SNES controller

Similar to the Gamepad Zero, but with more buttons! The Super Gamepad Zero uses a Super Nintendo controller in place of the original NES one, giving you access to better ergonomics and more buttons, allowing you to emulate more games than the original Gamepad Zero.

Once again, you'll need access to a 3D printer for this project. If you don't have one, check out the guide for other options to get your model printed.

Build video

CostDifficultyPi Models
~$40ModerateZero, Zero W

See full guide

23

For more Pi projects, check out the Raspberry Pi interest here on howchoo!

Share your project

Do you have a Pi project we've missed or want to share something you've made? Post in the comments section below so we can feature it!

Need help?

If you run into trouble, post in the comments section for the particular guide and we'll help you out!