February 14, 2018

I’ve decided to add a step to the development plans for my DIY laptop, the Beastie Box.

Having investigated Pelican cases further, they’re great, but they’re too large to fit in a bag of any sort. So they’d have to be waterproof.

That leads to a bunch of knock-on effects on the design, none of which are great. In particular, external ports and cooling slots would be highly problematic.

So instead, I’ve decided to try a different route: a custom-made aluminium chassis, with 3D-printed plastic bodywork.

To try this idea out I’ve ordered a few cheap parts on eBay ($63 worth) and will be building a ‘ghetto laptop’ around an old Raspberry Pi A I have sitting around my workshop.

This won’t be wonderful to behold, or use, given the age and / or cheapness of the components. But it will let me try out a few skills, like CAD, 3D printing, and third-party fabrication, that will be necessary for a proper DIY laptop.

I’ve also abandoned my plans to design the parts with OpenSCAD. I’m still enamored of the idea of parametric CAD, but OpenSCAD lacks a few things I’d consider pretty fundamental, like bounds calculation and object alignment. Will try FreeCAD next.

Parts are ordered and on their way …