Raspberry Pi-based Chonky Palmtop, a tiny DIY computer with a foldable keyboard

The uses for the Raspberry Pi seem limitless. Engineers and ordinary technology enthusiasts have developed their own magical powers, and developed products such as retro game consoles and personal media centers on the basis of single boards. We’ve also seen a lot of Pi-based compact PCs — but the Chonky Palmtop project in particular caught our attention.

Dubbed the “Chonky Palmtop,” as its name suggests, it’s a foldable, laptop-like machine with an ergonomic keyboard and a portable but not too thin body.

This computer was created by Daniel Norris, who got the idea for Palmtop when he looked at the items on his desk (a 7-inch touchscreen, battery unit, and a Corne keyboard PCB) and realized they were actually fairly close in size. He figured he could combine these components into a compact machine, which is exactly what he designed.

The Palmtop has a 7-inch screen, a Raspberry Pi 4 board and a Corne Classic keyboard. Includes an Ethernet port, charges via USB-C (fast charging is supported), and has four USB ports: two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0. It’s unclear how long the Palmtop will perform on a single charge, and it’s expected to have to remain plugged in for the most part.

Due to the open-source nature of the Palmtop, it is not difficult for users to obtain information on the construction of this tiny computer, or even build one themselves, as Norris has posted general instructions on Gitlab, a list of necessary materials and parts, and a 3D column that can be used to Print STL files for various components.

Of course, this isn’t a beginner-friendly project, but more experienced Raspberry Pi users may find it can be done.

Raspberry Pi-based Chonky Palmtop, a tiny DIY computer with a foldable keyboard

Of course, the device isn’t perfect at the moment. Norris has some other bugs to fix, like some features that need to be improved or added, but even with the current progress, it’s functional enough for the average user. And he’s currently working on fixing the Palmtop’s Firefox graphics acceleration and reworking the “lower left hinge bracket” to fit the currently less-than-perfect lid.

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