Pi-Top Finalizes 3D Printed Laptop Design, Announces World’s Smallest Raspberry Pi Robot & Indiegogo Campaign

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pi4Around the middle of last month we covered what may be one of the coolest combinations of 3D printing and Raspberry Pi yet, the Pi-Top. The Pi-Top is Raspberry Pi-enabled laptop with a 3D printable shell. Two weeks ago, the team of 5 individuals based in London, put out details on what was just one of the prototypes for the machine.

The goal of Pi-Top is to provide a kit which would enable anyone to build their own laptop computer from the ground up. The company would provide full instructions and lesson plans so that the individual(s) putting the laptop together would gain a tremendous amount of knowledge in the process. The 3D printing part of the project is optional, as the kit will come with both an injection molded case, as well as files for 3D printing.

Pi-Top Update:

Today the team has released to us details and images of what they say will be the final case design, as well as a date (October 14th) for their Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to launch. The team had originally planned to launch on Kickstarter, but because of the fact that Indiegogo caters to more of a global audience, as well as having fees which will equate to approximately 50% of Kickstarter’s, they chose Indiegogo’s platform instead.

“The Pi-Top website is regularly visited by people from over 110 countries, by launching on Indiegogo we can take payments from all over the world and help create a globally connected network of makers, builders and creators,” stated Jesse Lozano of Pi-Top.

The final Pi-Top design

The final Pi-Top design

As for the project in general, there has actually been some major changes, for the better. The design of the Pi-Top case, which is now more compact (30% thinner), will be available in multiple file formats to enable printing on pretty much any 3D printer with a 5”+ bed size. This is a major change for those of you hoping to print the case at home rather than having to rely on the injection molded case which will also come in the kit.

“We want users to be able to create their own products and ideas,” stated the company. “The Pi-Top kit is the start of a journey that will see users gaining the skills to build their own products. If they choose to print out a 3D case we have created several file formats each optomized for different print bed build sizes. We have refined the model so that it is as simple as uploading the file and pressing print.”

The full kit will include all of the following, and be priced at around $300. Early bird backers will be able to take advantage of a significant discount however.

  • Injection molded case
  • 3D printer STL files compatible for all 5″+ print bed sizes
  • PCBs – Power Management, HDMI to LVDS Bridge and Keyboard & Trackpad Controller
  • Electronics breadboardpi3
  • Battery
  • Keyboard
  • Trackpad
  • 13.3” HD LCD Screen
  • WiFi adapter
  • Acrylic slice
  • Wiring
  • DC wall plug
  • Build instructions
  • Online & integrated lesson plans

The Raspberry Pi Robot HAT:

Robot HAT

Robot HAT

Probably the biggest surprise, at least for us, is the fact that Pi-Top will include what the team calls the “easiest, most accessible, compact and functional Raspberry Pi Robot in the world.” For those who are unaware, a Raspberry Pi HAT (Hardware Attached on Top) is an add-on board for B+ which sits on top and automatically configures the GPIOs and drivers for the board. HAT measures approximately 65 x 56mm, and conforms to a specific set of rules that will make life easier for users.

In this case, the Robot HAT will sit on top of the Raspberry PI board found inside the Pi-Top. It can then be coded with Python and the Pi-Top lesson plans, and removed from the laptop. At this point you can clip on a 3D printed chassis (body of the robot), and the robot is ready to go.

“In terms of functionality, the robot HAT gives you access to motor and servo drivers, digital-to-analogue converters, analog-to-digital converters, LEDs, IR proximity sensors and more,” explained the company. “Due to how the HAT has been designed to clip into a 3D printed chassis, you will have access to other GPIOs so that you can customise your own 3D printed chassis to include even more sensors! The HAT also takes care of safely charging a lipo battery (included) which keeps the Raspberry Pi running when you unclip it from Pi-Top.”

The Robot, which according to the company is the world’s smallest Raspberry Pi Robot, can be programmed on the Pi-Top or any other computer, and is extremely sophisticated for its size. The fact that the main body can be 3D printed, and customized if you wish, just adds another amazing feature to this project. The Robot will be available on the Indiegogo campaign in two weeks.

Lets hear your thoughts on this incredible use of Raspberry Pi and 3D printing in the Pi-Top forum thread on 3DBP.com.  More details on this tremendous project can be found here.

pi-feat

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