The Chonky Palmtop Is One of the Cutest DIY Pi Machines Yet

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, never doubt the ingenuity of a Raspberry Pi owner. These credit card-sized computers were made to do all sorts of things, from a retro baller game machinefor one gaudy for portable pc gaming.

But if you’re wanting something a little weirder to serve with your Pi, then perhaps take a look at this adorable laptop-like machine.

Daniel Norris (by Liliputing) is the madman behind the Chonky palmtop, a small PC with a folding split keyboard included. This chunky little beast has a 3D printed retro gray box, which opens to reveal the 7-inch touchscreen and keyboard setup.

The keyboard can then be rotated out for usability. You can get a look at the machine in action in the video above, which even includes booting the Raspberry Pi 4 from the inside. This also shows all the little features like the USB and Ethernet ports. It’s really cool to see how it all fits together.

The keyboard, which is packed into the bottom half of the device along with the battery, really gives this little unit an iconic, almost retro, futuristic look. It is based on Corne keyboard split keyboard design and programmed with ergonomic typing Miryoku Layout that are available as open source projects on github. This allows for cursor control via the keyboard so you don’t need an extra mouse or have to touch the screen when it’s not convenient.

Fortunately, Norris continued in the spirit of open source design, also sending all the information thanks to do it alone. This includes files for the 3D printed case, a bill of materials, and links to other github projects used.

Norris notes that while there are currently some issues with gfx acceleration in FireFox, but for general browsing and console usage, the unit has served its intended purpose well. While it might not be a build for the faint of heart, if you’re looking to turn your Raspberry Pi into something functional, cute, and most importantly, very, very robust, this seems like a great bet.

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