The PirateBox is a device designed to facilitate sharing, you need to be close enough to connect via WiFi to this portable file server. PirateBox is designed to be private and secure. No logins are required and no user data is logged. Users remain completely anonymous – the system is purposely not connected to the Internet in order to subvert tracking and preserve user privacy. It can be used anywhere, it runs on batteries, usb, or by power cord.
We had an old Fonera router laying around collecting dust so we decided to put it to good use as a Piratebox. Our first step was to try to find a suitable case , we found a used oldschool domed lunchbox on ebay, we decided to try to bid instead of buy it now, not realizing there was such a demand for the lunchbox, someone finally outbid us for more than the lunchbox went for new. So i did some more searching and found a plastic one on Amazon for $8.
Being that it was plastic was good and bad; we didn’t need to worry about stuff grounding out, but it was ugly looking. We ended up getting some nice Krylon paint made for plastics that worked out very nice after some initial sanding, then sanding after a few coats. It had a nice old look to it.
Now for the Fonera router we had a few issues. It was donated to us by one of our members who worked for Fonera, they used to receive ‘bricked’ routers that people had tried and failed on installing open-wrt. So we acquired 4 of them a few yrs ago. Our first thing to do was to unbrick it, luckily for us this router was able to boot into redboot and we were able to push a new image over tftd. The routers WiFi is Atheros based so were grabbed the latest image from the openwrt trunk. After installing the new image all we had to do was wget the Piratebox install, update a few dependencies and we were off and running.
We mounted the routers board inside on a small block of wood with some bolts to hold it into place, and we were able to use the old case to figure out the spacing of the usb port, network ports and power port, we carefully used a Dremel tool to cut out the plastic. The reason for the components on the outside is because we’re wanted easy access to the port for future project and also not having to worry about opening and closing the top all the time.
We also fashioned a usb power cable and a AA battery pack to power the device when we use it for public events.
Since the fonera has a usb port we were able to mount it and use a low-profile 16usb flash drive to hold our uploaded files. So far we have uploaded a few public domain files to the device, but anxiously await to see what people will be uploading.