Lunchbox Cyberdeck Is A Tasty Build

One of our favorite things about the cyberdeck concept has got to be the versatility of this mobile computing medium. Some cyberdecks lean toward making the user into a full-on Snow Crash gargoyle, and others are more fold-and-go like laptops. This discreet deck from [Andres Borray] looks as though it might have a PB&J and a bag of chips inside.

Instead, there’s a Gherkin. What? For the uninitiated, that’s a handmade 40% 30% mechanical keyboard right there and it’s called the Gherkin. It has more keys than it appears, thanks to layers in the firmware. By long pressing any key on the bottom row, the entire map changes to access stuff like numbers and F keys.

This lunchbox is powered by a Raspberry Pi 4 and uses the official Pi display with the touch input enabled. Even so, there’s a baby trackball right there under the thumbs. [Andres] designed and printed panels for both sides to mount everything, and those files will be available soon along with a more detailed build log.

You can do anything you want with a cyberdeck build — it’s kind of the point. Want to program microcontrollers wherever? Get your feet wet with a cyberduck.

Via reddit

25 thoughts on “Lunchbox Cyberdeck Is A Tasty Build

    1. Thanks! Because of the smaller scale of the box, I couldn’t add a fan. I also wanted to ensure that the box remained waterproof and had a tight seal when closed so vents were out of the question. I ended up using some thermal paste and heatsinks which have worked extremely well thus far. I use the lunch box primarily for short coding sessions on the couch so there hasn’t been anything too intensive.

  1. Dang it, wish I hadn’t dismantled mine now that this is becoming a whole thing! I had one with a proper x86 system and desktop GPU. Dual 4k screens. PSU and all were in the case. C’mon, let’s see some decks that aren’t built around the raspberry pi! But this is great. I also took advantage of a pelican case-type setup.

    1. I think it IS a 30%. In fact, in the article, it says,
      “It’s called The Gherkin and it was created by the good folks at It’s a 30% ortho-linear keyboard (buttons are in a grid, not staggered).”
      There may have been some confusion from the words “40percent” being in the same statement.

      1. It’s pretty cool seeing something you’ve built on a blog you frequent. Thanks for posting about my lunchbox Kristina! Any chance you could add my name to the article? Would help if I’m ever looking to transition into the lunch box building industry and they search to confirm that I can, in fact, build lunchboxes. Thank you! :)

    1. And in any case, why would you assume 20 minutes to an hour? This seems like a completely arbitrary guess, and with the size of its case, it could certainly fit a good number of 18650 lithium cells. It’s a little hard to tell from the picture in this article, but if you look at the pictures in the linked article, the display half of the case is much deeper than the keyboard side, with space for MANY batteries. I’m told that a Pi 4 uses about 3.4 Watts, and I’m just going to guess another two watts for the display. Let’s call it 6 watts altogether. a 2.6 A*hr lithium cell at nominal 3.7 V holds 9.62 W*hr, which means that if you allow a sloppy 80% efficient power supply, it will deliver 7.7 W*hr to the load. This means that ONE cell could power this for over an hour. If I were building it, it would have at least ten cells in it. I’m assuming you can do the math from here.

      And by the way, the reason people build things themselves instead of buying what others have built, is so that they can optimize them for their own needs. If you value long run time, you make sure there’s room for the batteries, and you stuff them in there wherever you can. If you’re more into having a minimal impact on your backpack’s weight, you might go for thin and light at the expense of run time.

      1. Great comment BrightBlueJim. That’s correct, there is plenty of room for multiple batteries. I’m actually working on adding a circuit and battery so I can take the lunch box with me on the go. I have roughly 40,000 mAh (two 20k mAh) batteries that are just laying around waiting to be used. I think one of them should be more than enough.

  2. When did every homebuilt computer become a “cyberdeck”? None of the ones I’ve seen lately will allow you to “jack in” and get the full immersion thing going. This is a lunchbox computer, and a pretty slick one at that. Decent size screen, rugged case, nice keyboard. And practical – the use of a clamshell box means that only two flat panels have to be cut out, and everything else mounts to them. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. But as a cyberdeck it would be dismal.

    1. You’re right on that front. I think there is the proper definition and then a subgroup that uses the term to really just refer to a specific aesthetic. Though even defining what that aesthetic looks like can be nebulous. Personally. I think cyberdeck just sounds more bad ass than computer :)

    2. “None of the ones I’ve seen lately will allow you to “jack in” and get the full immersion thing going.”

      And if it is being used to access pR0n, they are jacking in to jack off!

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