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Printing a handheld PC
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Forums · General Discussion · Handheld PC General Discussion

Posted 2019-01-04 8:42 AM
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Quick update on my 3D printed 'HPC'

I've started printing the parts. The CAD design is essentially complete, barring any minor changes I make during the printing / assembly process. Internal components are ready, as are all cables and fasteners and I've reduced the amount of soldering and modification of parts to the minimum possible (I think). I expect to have it built and working within the next few weeks, certainly within a month.

Basic Specs:
- Raspberry Pi 3 B+ 'brain'
- Waveshare 7 inch capacitative touchscreen (1024 x 600 resolution)
- Stereo speakers
- 4 x 18650 batteries (3000mAh, 44Wh total capacity) and off-the-shelf battery management board
- External connections - Micro USB (for charging), 1 x USB2 Host, 1 x 3.5mm audio
- Dimensions - 230 x 130 x 40mm (approx 9.05 x 5.1 x 1.6 in.)

I'm aware that at 40mm thick it's firmly on the 'chunky' side but I'm treating this one as a prototype. I'm keen to get something in my hands (and hopefully a few other peoples' hands) so I can sort out any ergonomic issues for the next version.

The idea I already have in the works is to use a Raspberry Pi 3 Model A (which is a lot less 'tall' than the 'B') and a relatively thin LiPo battery in place of my 18650s. This would allow me to reduce the thickness by around 10mm. Only problem with this is the reduced RAM (512MB vs. 1GB for the 'B') and I would have to do some tests to see what the real-world effect of this and how much it can be mitigated. I expect this to depend heavily on what the machine is used for.

See below for a crude render, apologies for my laziness in modelling the keyboard as a flat 'block', my emphasis has been on ensuring the internals fit and my parts are printable. This is also slightly out of date as it doesn't contain the apertures for the ports or the speaker grilles. I'll try and upload an updated version this evening.



Edited by robertojones 2019-01-04 8:51 AM




(20181217_224415.jpg)



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Posted 2019-01-04 4:01 PM
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Factorite (Elite)

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robertojones - 2019-01-04 12:42 AM

Quick update on my 3D printed 'HPC'

I've started printing the parts. The CAD design is essentially complete, barring any minor changes I make during the printing / assembly process. Internal components are ready, as are all cables and fasteners and I've reduced the amount of soldering and modification of parts to the minimum possible (I think). I expect to have it built and working within the next few weeks, certainly within a month.

Basic Specs:
- Raspberry Pi 3 B+ 'brain'
- Waveshare 7 inch capacitative touchscreen (1024 x 600 resolution)
- Stereo speakers
- 4 x 18650 batteries (3000mAh, 44Wh total capacity) and off-the-shelf battery management board
- External connections - Micro USB (for charging), 1 x USB2 Host, 1 x 3.5mm audio
- Dimensions - 230 x 130 x 40mm (approx 9.05 x 5.1 x 1.6 in.)

I'm aware that at 40mm thick it's firmly on the 'chunky' side but I'm treating this one as a prototype. I'm keen to get something in my hands (and hopefully a few other peoples' hands) so I can sort out any ergonomic issues for the next version.

The idea I already have in the works is to use a Raspberry Pi 3 Model A (which is a lot less 'tall' than the 'B' and a relatively thin LiPo battery in place of my 18650s. This would allow me to reduce the thickness by around 10mm. Only problem with this is the reduced RAM (512MB vs. 1GB for the 'B' and I would have to do some tests to see what the real-world effect of this and how much it can be mitigated. I expect this to depend heavily on what the machine is used for.

See below for a crude render, apologies for my laziness in modelling the keyboard as a flat 'block', my emphasis has been on ensuring the internals fit and my parts are printable. This is also slightly out of date as it doesn't contain the apertures for the ports or the speaker grilles. I'll try and upload an updated version this evening.



Very cool!

Some ideas and questions.

If you don't use ethernet, you could probably de-solder the connector. Next highest looks like the USB ports.
If you like you could probably de-solder those also and either relocate them laterally or get a small USB hub to stuff inside laterally.

What will you use for the keyboard?
Is the waveshare monitor HDMI or SPI? I saw something online about driving a high framerate on some waveshares thru a custom SPI Pi driver. https://github.com/juj/fbcp-ili9341
Will the display run off the batteries?
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Posted 2019-01-04 7:22 PM
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smb_gaiden - 2019-01-04 4:01 PM

Very cool!

Some ideas and questions.



Thank you.

I like your idea of chopping down the regular 'B' Raspberry Pi by removing the ethernet and USB sockets - I've seen an example online of something similar and it roughly halved the overall height. As this is a prototype though I wanted to leave the Pi unaltered and my decision to use 18650 batteries meant the case had to be thick enough that it would fit the Pi anyway. In the meantime the Raspberry Pi 3 Model A came along, which could save me the work if the 512MB of RAM proves enough. I would need an external USB hub though as it has only one port on the board.

The keyboard is one I 'scavenged' from a cheap tablet case, see the image below for the part I got.

The screen is this one: https://www.waveshare.com/7inch-hdmi-lcd-c.htm and uses HDMI. Not sure about the framerate but I would guess 60Hz or more.

Power is supplied from one of the Pi's USB ports and the same connection is used for the touchscreen - so in answer to your question yes. The Raspberry Pi is powered by the batteries (when not connected to a PSU) and all the in-built peripherals (screen, keyboard, speaker amplifier) run off the Pi's USB ports. The Pi can supply up to 1.2A to the USB ports so can comfortably manage these. I think I'd have to be careful about devices connected to the external USB port though - probably no external hard drives or SSDs.

The Raspberry Pi in turn is powered by this: https://geekworm.com/products/raspberry-pi-pro-v1-1-ups-hat-i2c-lithium-battery-power-supply which handles the battery charging and supply to the Pi. It will supply up to 2A, possibly a bit marginal for the Raspberry Pi 3 but I've test-run the Pi and peripherals from a 1.5A power supply without issue. In the next couple of days I'll rig up the batteries and ensure that it does all run OK.

Hope I've not bombarded you with too much information - as you may be able to tell I'm quite enthusiastic about this project!



(20190104_183544.jpg)



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Posted 2019-01-05 12:18 PM
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Just some extra CAD screenshots ('render' seems a bit grand of a term for these):

Photos to follow once I've printed anything more interesting than the keyboard surround and hinges.



(Lid Open.JPG)



(Lid Closed.jpg)



(Underside.jpg)



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Posted 2019-01-05 9:00 PM
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I don't see these mentioned in this thread. They may be of interest, though the form factor is a little smaller:

https://n-o-d-e.net/zeroterminal.html
https://n-o-d-e.net/zeroterminal2.html
https://n-o-d-e.net/terminal_3.html

The videos show the results.

I'd be interested in building something with the pi zero w, which could really reduce the thickness (with performance and connectivity costs).
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Posted 2019-01-06 1:28 AM
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Wow, those are seriously small! I particularly like the 'fixed' one with the screen and keyboard parallel, looks like it would be really handy to just pick up for some quick command-line work (as is mentioned on the page you linked).

I think for a lot of tasks the Zero W would be perfectly adequate, especially for really small devices where the form factor itself (small screen and keyboard) discourages uses that require more processing power. Added bonus is the much smaller battery you can get away with using a Zero and small screen.

Interestingly I was reading the other day that improvements to the Raspbian OS had resulted in a 20% or so increase in performance (for general computing use) over the last couple of years, across all Raspberry Pi devices. If I find the source of that again I'll post a link here.
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Posted 2019-01-06 3:12 AM
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robertojones - 2019-01-05 5:28 PM

Wow, those are seriously small! I particularly like the 'fixed' one with the screen and keyboard parallel, looks like it would be really handy to just pick up for some quick command-line work (as is mentioned on the page you linked).


Yeah that one (#2) is the one that makes the most sense to me too. I have a BlackBerry Passport and that one seems like a thicker Linux version. There are also 3G phone add-on boards available. The day is not far away (might be here already) when these components will be small enough that anyone with access to a 3D printer (or artisanal skills with other materials) will be able to create very nice devices.
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Posted 2019-01-11 3:28 PM
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At risk of spamming this thread (please let me know if this is getting too much) I have another brief update, with photos:

Lid.jpg: Lid assembly (ignore the bubbles on the screen, I've left the protective film on, also please ignore the reflection of our hideous floral wallpaper)

Keyboard Deck.jpg: Keyboard surround including hinge covers

Base Printing.jpg: Base of the main case, mid-print.

Once the base finishes printing I have pretty much just the innards to do (plus a few small printed parts) so it looks like I'll have my working prototype this weekend.



(Lid.jpg)



(Keyboard Deck.jpg)



(Base Printing.jpg)



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Posted 2019-01-12 2:41 AM
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robertojones - 2019-01-11 7:28 AM

At risk of spamming this thread (please let me know if this is getting too much) I have another brief update, with photos:


Wow! It looks like you're making really great progress. Nicely done!

BTW, it's hardly too much. Keep on providing updates. Interesting stuff!
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Posted 2019-01-14 7:54 PM
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Thanks Mobi!

I finished assembling the machine over the weekend, just a few fit and finish issues to sort and the power management to work out (a bit of Python programming).

I've typed this post on my new device. Photo below, as you can see it could use some tidying up but so far I'm reasonably happy with it. Already working on the design for Mk 2 ( slimmed down version), though I think I'll sort out the usability gremlins with this one before I start building anything.







(20190114_190345 (1).jpg)



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Posted 2019-01-14 8:42 PM
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Wonderful, wonderful work. You may have already posted them, but if not, could you post the final specs? L, H, W of the case and actual screen size?

Jake
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Posted 2019-01-15 12:06 AM
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Thanks Jake!

Dimensions are as follows:

Length (front to back) - 130mm (5.2 in.)
Width - 230mm (9.05 in.)
Height /Thickness (excluding 'hump' for ports on back of screen) - 40mm (1.6 in.)

Weight 970g (2.14lb)

Screen 7 in. diagonal

So probably closest to a Mobilepro 900 in size. I've worked out I can take 10mm (0.4 in.) off the thickness and still use a Raspberry Pi 3 as the 'brain' for the Mk 2 version, should make for a somewhat sleeker machine.
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Posted 2019-01-15 1:26 AM
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robertojones - 2019-01-14 4:06 PM

Thanks Jake!

Dimensions are as follows:

Length (front to back) - 130mm (5.2 in.)
Width - 230mm (9.05 in.)
Height /Thickness (excluding 'hump' for ports on back of screen) - 40mm (1.6 in.)

Weight 970g (2.14lb)

Screen 7 in. diagonal

So probably closest to a Mobilepro 900 in size. I've worked out I can take 10mm (0.4 in.) off the thickness and still use a Raspberry Pi 3 as the 'brain' for the Mk 2 version, should make for a somewhat sleeker machine.


Beautiful! I am very jealous!
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Posted 2019-01-15 3:33 PM
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robertojones - 2019-01-14 11:54 AM

I finished assembling the machine over the weekend, just a few fit and finish issues to sort and the power management to work out (a bit of Python programming).

I've typed this post on my new device. Photo below, as you can see it could use some tidying up but so far I'm reasonably happy with it. Already working on the design for Mk 2 ( slimmed down version), though I think I'll sort out the usability gremlins with this one before I start building anything.



That is a gorgeous piece of work, Roberto. I have gadget envy! Sometimes I wish I had a 3D printer, although I'm sure that the cases could be made of other materials as well.
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