The Framework laptop prides itself on having reusable parts, and hackers all around routinely challenge the claims by building projects reusing them. Yet again, [whatthefilament] puts the Framework hardware to the test, by taking all the laptop internals and building an AiO (All-in-One) desktop computer with it. Hot on the heels of his Framework tablet project we covered a few months ago, this desktop reuses as much as possible – the mainboard, the display and the expansion cards in particular, and even one of the hinges is reused for adjusting the monitor’s angle.
Of course, this build required a custom case – and [whatthefilament]’s design is fully 3D-printed, with STLs and assembly instructions available for anyone interested. Parts of the desktop are held by magnets for ease of assembly and maintenance, with a few parts requiring screws held in by heat-set inserts. Complete with a webcam, speakers and even a WiFi card, all it needs for completeness is an external keyboard&mouse combo, making for a sleek desktop that anyone in possession of a few Framework parts can build.
Like the Commodore 64 and other keyboard computers of yore, the [Elevated Systems]’s CJ64 fits all of its processing and I/O into a single keyboard-shaped package.
This iteration of the project takes it to the next level with an enclosure milled out of aluminum instead of the mere 3D printed enclosure of the previous versions. With a Framework mainboard, the ports are configurable via the Framework expansion card system giving you even more options to customize this build. To round it out, this keyboard PC doesn’t scrimp on the keyboard part either with mechanical switches and MT3 profile keycaps.
If you’d like to build one of these for yourself, [Elevated Systems] has uploaded the 3D printed enclosure files to his GitHub repository. The files for machining are available as well, but only to patrons.
No matter what the job at hand is, if you’re going to tackle it, you’re going to need the right kit of tools. And if your job includes making sense out of any of the signals in the virtual soup of RF energy we all live in, then you’re going to need something like the FISSURE RF framework.
Exactly what FISSURE is is pretty clear from its acronym, which stands for Frequency Independent SDR-Based Signal Understanding and Reverse Engineering. This is all pretty new — it looks like [Chris Poore] presented a talk at DEFCON a few weeks back about using FISSURE to analyze powerline communications between semi-trucks and their trailers, and they’ve got a talk scheduled for next month’s GNU Radio Conference as well. We’ve been looking through all the material we can find on FISSURE, and it appears to be an RF hacker’s dream come true. They’ve got a few examples on Twitter, like brute-forcing an old garage door opener with a security code set by a ten-position DIP switch, and sending tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) signals to a car. They also mention some of the framework’s capabilities on the GitHub README; we’re especially interested in packet crafting for various protocols. The video below has some more examples of what FISSURE can do.
It looks like FISSURE could be a lot of fun, and very handy for your RF analysis and reverse engineering work. If you’ve been using Universal Radio Hacker like we have, this looks similar, only more so. We’ll be downloading it soon and giving it a try, so be on the lookout for a hands-on report.
The Framework laptop project is known for quite a few hacker-friendly aspects. For example, they encourage you to reuse its motherboard as a single-board computer – making it into a viable option for your own x86-powered projects. They have published a set of CAD files for that, and people have been working on their own Framework motherboard-based creations ever since; our hacker, [whatthefilament], has already built a few projects around these motherboards. Today, he’s showing us the high-effort design that is the FrameTablet – a 15″ device packing an i5 processor, all in a fully 3D printed chassis. The cool part is – thanks to his instructions, you can build one yourself!
This tablet sports a FullHD touchscreen IPS display and shows some well-thought-out component mounting, using heat-set inserts and screws, increasing such a build’s mechanical longevity. You lose one of the expansion card slots to the USB-C-connected display, but it’s a worthwhile tradeoff, and the touchscreen functionality works wonders in Windows. [whatthefilament] has also published a desk holder and a wall mount to accompany this design – if it’s a bit too large for you to hold in some situations, you can mount it in a more friendly, hands-free way. This is a solid and surprisingly practical tablet, and unlike the Raspberry Pi tablet builds we’ve seen, its x86 heart packs enough power to let you do things like CAD on the go.
When the universe tells you to build a cyberdeck, then build a cyberdeck you must. The lucky [Richard Sutherland] got an email from user-serviceable laptop purveyors Framework about the availability of their main board for use as a single-board computer. They agreed to send him a laptop and some extra modules as long as he promised to build something awesome with it. There was just one fabulous caveat: whatever design he came up with had to be released to the public.
[Richard] took this capable board with four USB ports and built an all-in-one that pays homage to the slab-style computers like the TRS-80 Model 100, which [Richard] really wanted as a kid. It looks lovely in layered acrylic and brass, and even though we pretty much always think that see-through is the best design choice you can make, transparency really works here. Tucked into those layers is a custom 36-key split running on an Elite-C microcontroller with Gazzew Boba U4 Silent-but-tactile switches, and a trackball in between. Be sure to take the build tour and check out all the process pictures.
Acrylic looks great and seems great on paper, but what about actual use? [Richard] put rubbery SKUF feet on the front, and a pair of repositionable feet on the back. Not only will it stay in place on the table, but he’ll be able to see the screen better and type at an angle greater than zero.
The Framework laptop is already a very exciting prospect for folks like us — a high-end computer that we can actually customize, upgrade, and repair with the manufacturer’s blessing? Sounds like music to our ears. But we’re also very excited about seeing how the community can press the modular components of the Framework into service outside of the laptop itself.
A case in point, this absolutely gorgeous retro-inspired computer built by [Penk Chen]. The Mainboard Terminal combines a Framework motherboard, five inch 1080 x 1080 round LCD display, and OLKB Preonic mechanical keyboard into a slick 3D printed enclosure that’s held together with magnets for easy access. Compared to the Raspberry Pi that we usually find tucked into custom computer builds like this, the Framework board offers incredible performance, not to mention the ability to run x86 operating systems and software.
[Penk] has Ubuntu 22.04 LTS loaded up right now, and he reports that everything works as expected, though there are a few xrandr commands you’ll need to run in order for the system to work properly with the circular display. The standard Ubuntu UI doesn’t look particularly well suited to such an unusual viewport, but we imagine that’s an issue you’ll have to learn to live with when experimenting with such an oddball screen.
If you’ve been following the latest advancements in computing for a while, you already know that there’s a big problem with laptops: When they’re no longer useful as a daily driver, it can be a struggle to find a good use for all its parts. Everything is proprietary, and serious amounts of reverse engineering are required if you decide to forge ahead. This is where Framework, a laptop company building modular laptops comes in. They’ve made it clear that when you upgrade your Framework laptop with a new mainboard they want you to be able to continue to use the old mainboard outside of the laptop.
To that end, Framework have provided 2D mechanical drawings of their mainboard and 3D printable cases that can of course be modified as needed. “But what about peripherals?” you might ask. Framework has provided pinouts for all of the connectors on the board along with information on which connectors to use to interface with them. No reverse engineering needed!
While it’s possible to buy a mainboard now and use it, their stated goal is to help people make use of used mainboards leftover from upgrades down the line. With just a stick of memory and a USB-C power adapter, the board will spring to life and even has i2c and USB immediately available.
What would you do with a powerful Intel i5-1135G7 mainboard? Framework wants to know, and to that end, they are actually giving away 100 mainboards to makers and developers. Mind you this is a program created and ran by Framework — and is not associated in any way Hackaday or our overlords at Supplyframe.