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Friday, May 17, 2024

The Chonky Palmtop is one of the cutest DIY Pi machines yet

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s never doubt the ingenuity of a Raspberry Pi owner. These credit card sized computers have been made to do all sorts of things from being a baller retro gaming machine, to a garish PC gaming handheld

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

Daniel Norris (via Liliputing) is the madman behind the Chonky Palmtop, a tiny PC with an included fold out split keyboard. This thick little beasty has a swish retro 3D printed grey box, which opens up to reveal the 7 inch touchscreen display and keyboard setup. 

The keyboard can then be swivelled outwards for usability. You can get a look at the machine in action in the video above, which even includes booting up the Raspberry Pi 4 inside. This also shows off all the little features like the USB and ethernet ports. It’s pretty cool to see how it all comes together.

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The keyboard, which is packed into the bottom half of the device along with the battery, really gives this little unit an iconic and almost retro futuristic look. It’s based on the Corne Keyboard split keyboard design and programmed with the ergonomic typing Miryoku layout which are both 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 display when it’s not convenient.

Thankfully Norris has continued in the spirit of open source design by also uploading all the info required to do this yourself. This includes files for the 3D printed case, a list of materials, and links to the other github projects used. 

Norris notes that while there’s currently some issues with gfx acceleration in FireFox, but for general browsing and console use, the unit has served its intended purpose nicely. While it may 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 chonky then this looks like a great bet.

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