Turning a keyboard into a computer with a Raspberry Pi

Only 80s kids will get this: remember when computers had built-in keyboards, like the Apple II line, or the Commodore 64? That’s a form factor duplicated by case modders many times over the years, but [preamp]‘s project is the first time its been done using a Raspi (German, Google translation).

For his build, [preamp] used what he considers the best keyboard in the world, the Cherry G80-3000. Except for the HDMI port, just about every plug was moved to the back side of the keyboard with the help of an Ethernet jack, a USB hub, and RCA jack. Audio is missing, but for an extremely portable system [preamp]‘s RaspCherry Pi is at the top of its class.

We were wondering when someone would shove a Raspi into a keyboard, and we couldn’t be happier that [preamp] chose a Cherry keyboard for his build; they’re wonderful input devices second only to the 8 pound behemeoth used to write this post.


  1. Scuffles says:

    Ok so can I officially call this the best “case mod” ever?

  2. zibri says:

    I have never tried a G80 3000 but I’m perfectly fine with my Model M :)

  3. Collin says:
  4. N8Sayer says:

    Ben Heck did on a mod very similar to this on his show a couple weeks ago.

    Not identical, but very similar.

  5. Cosmic R says:

    Not the first time, as mentioned above, Ben Heck already did this. Although this one is a lot nicer.

  6. Jason Knight says:

    I’ve been tempted to stuff mine into a Model M — I’ve got two spares in addition to the two in use.

  7. Anonymous says:

    That’s a pretty small form-factor for something like this. Almost as good as the Commodore VIC-Slim. http://www.commodoreusa.net/cusa_vicslim.aspx

    • Ted R says:

      It’s better. This isn’t overpriced and doesn’t milk money from clueless retro suckers.

      • Anonymous says:

        Better because it uses a super poorly designed ultra low performance ARM computer in a thick dremelled out keyboard? I don’t see how this is overpriced or trying to appeal to the retro suckers. This is pretty much the exact hardware/specs of a netbook for exactly the same price, and it clearly isn’t trying to look like a “retro” novelty computer in any way besides the commodore super keys.

  8. WhiteCrane says:

    That vic-slim is my next computer purchase….thanks for that link.I was not aware they were even doing such a thing.

  9. 12L14 says:

    Have You ever seen Famicom/NES clones in enclosures made of (lowest possible quality…) keyboard? ;)

  10. John U says:

    90’s kids may remember the Atari & Amiga too.

  11. thadlon says:

    Looks pretty nice, though I would have liked to see all connectors on the back, including the SD card. Overall not bad. I think that I will have to try this with a Unicomp classic. Plenty of space at the back to play with.

  12. Coda says:

    Audio is missing and the modders name is [preamp]? Oh the irony.

    • preamp says:

      Since you have audio via HDMI too, I found the audio jack to be not that necessary. Eventually I’ll add it later together with a decent headphone amp and a volume pot. That would be quite nice then :).

  13. halfur says:

    Actually my plan was to place a Raspberry Pi inside a Model M 122-Key Terminal keyboard, but that for I would need some additional converters to read the old terminal protocol. When I find the time to do it it’ll be great though.

  14. justblairthompson says:

    I have to agree with the statement about the G80-3000 as being the best keyboard in the world. I use both it and a Filco model (Cherry Black Keys)that cost twice as much. I would use nothing but the Cherry G80 if I thought my co-workers would tolerate the noise.

    My Cherry G80 has not escaped the Dremel either. Though the project was put on hold for a house move, you can get the jist of it if you watch this early Youtube footage…

  15. Noelkd says:

    i have a cherry g80 looked it many a time and thought about what wonders it could be improved with, good work everyone

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