Hacklet #5 – Hackerspaces And DIY Laptops


Did you know that Hackaday.io has a hackerspace index? That’s right, you can enter your local hackerspace’s info, pictures, videos, and social media links. Members and crew can link their hackaday.io profiles and drop comments about their latest projects.

The map up at the top of the hackerspace index’s page is interactive too – zoom in on your country and local area to see any spaces nearby. It’s like one-stop shopping for awesome. Well, except that this awesome is free.

It really is great to see all the pictures of spaces large and small. Some of the most stunning shots are from c-base, in Berlin, Germany. Founded in 1995, the c-base crew have created an incredible space. Take a look at the workstation in the photo. Is it Steampunk? Matrix-punk? Heck no, that’s 100% c-base.



Do It Yourself Laptops

You don’t have to be Bunnie Huang to build your own laptop. All it takes is some time, ingenuity,and a good hot glue gun.


Our first laptop is actually inspired by Bunnie’s Novena. The OpenTech-Laptop uses two binders as it’s shell, but inside hides some decent computing power. [OpenTech] used a miniITX motherboard with an ATOM N2800 CPU. The screen came from an old laptop (long live matte 4:3 screens!) [OpenTech] even hand wired a Low Voltage Differential Signaling (LVDS) cable so the motherboard can push those pixels. A wireless keyboard, hard drive, and speakers round out the build. [OpenTech] is still looking for a portable power solution.Why not follow Bunnie’s lead and grab some R/C Plane LiPo batteries, [OpenTech]?


Next up is a MiniBSD laptop computer created by [Jaromir]. MiniBSD is based on RetroBSD, a PIC32 based BSD single board computer. Rather than use a premade platform like the Fubarino, [Jaromir] laid out his own board with everything he wanted – a microSD socket, SDRAM, real-time clock, and all the trimmings. He then added a graphical LCD, a LiPo battery, and a sweet retro keyboard from an old Czech computer company called Tesla. [Jaromir’s] next task is a 3D printed case. The only problem is the case is 2cm wider than his current printer’s bed!


You didn’t think we’d leave the Raspberry Pi out, now did you? Laptop-pi is [Bram’s] project to convert an old DVD player (remember those?) into a Pi Laptop. Not only did [Bram] build a QWERTY keyboard from scratch on perfboard, he also hacked together an on-screen keyboard so he can type with just a D-pad. He’s currently fighting with a dodgy audio amp, but we’re sure that’s just a temporary setback. We think Laptop-pi will be a killer portable for retro gaming!


That’s it for this week’s Hacklet, stay tuned for next week when we bring you more of what’s happening at Hackaday.io!

13 thoughts on “Hacklet #5 – Hackerspaces And DIY Laptops

      1. Does a pizza box count? I had a god-awful thing rigged up a decade ago but with a motherboard that had bad ISA slots but one good pci slot etc. SHe wasn’t much to look at but she did allow me to surf the web for a month back then :) Love the binder laptops as I used to use them for circuit bent keyboards to make it more old school looking with the keys on the bottom and the modifying knobs on the top. Anyway, definitely a fun read.

  1. We had a sort of artsie hack space for some time in town. I wasn’t too much excited about.

    A friend of mine want to get into 3D printers, so I google and found out that one of the local public library (thanks to some collaborations) had set up a maker space with 3D printer, laser cutters and work area. Seem like that was just very recently.

    So look around and you might find some surprises.

  2. “We think Laptop-pi will be a killer portable for retro gaming!”

    I’m glad you say that because I almost forgot what was the true intent of this popular SoC. Thank you, hackaday, the media was late for a 24-hours of shoving the same “raspi + retrogaming = post’s view count to the moon” agenda but you filled in. I can’t wait to play third strike on it, just like in the arcade.

  3. Take a look at the workstation in the photo. Is it Steampunk? Matrix-punk? Heck no, that’s 100% c-base.

    That workstation looks like a guarantee for eyestrain and a headache after a few hours of work.

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