It may be time to forget ultrathin laptops and embrace the chonk, just like Daniel Norris did when he designed the extremely cool Chonky Palmtop. This cyberdeck build fits a seven-inch touchscreen, a split keyboard, and all the other necessary internals by stacking them on top of each other and somehow fitting everything into a foldable case.
Norris explained on his GitLab page that he got the idea for the Chonky Palmtop after seeing how close in size the touchscreen, battery cells, and the Corne Keyboard sitting on his desk were. After cobbling together all the internal components, like a PSU, batteries, and a bunch of wiring, the cyberdeck was complete. Norris said it’s been great for web browsing and he can even use the cloud-based CAD program Onshape through Firefox, albeit with some bugs.
Sliding split keyboard — Easily the coolest part of Norris’ build is the split keyboard that folds inward when stowed away but pivots out using a sliding mechanism in the middle. Designing the pivot points took some precise geometry here, but the payout looks well worth the hassle. Norris is using a Corne Classic split keyboard with Miryoku firmware so the key layout is a little different, but more suitable for compact builds.
Norris opted for a seven-inch touchscreen display, comparing the Chonky Palmtop’s footprint to the Asus EEE 701 mini-laptop from way back in 2007. Next to the display, there are buttons to control the LCD menu, check the battery voltage, and switch the power on and off.
The Chonky Palmtop uses an Amp Ripper 3000 power supply/charge controller that powers the Raspberry Pi 4 that the cyberdeck runs on. Norris included two lithium ion battery pouch cells, noting that they’re not the best for energy, but have the ability for fast charging.
A truly unique build — Norris put up his entire process and a full material list on his GitLab page for anyone interested in building one for themselves. There’s a lot going on with this project, but the end result is a unique form factor. While the Chonky Palmtop isn’t the most practical build, it could still serve as some inspiration for moving away from the ultrathin wave.