The transportable Mainboard-based computer

As I previously mentioned, my goal for the Framework Mainboard I will receive as part of the Mainboard Developer Program is twofold: build 1) a transportable computer that has 2) a better keyboard. The challenge is mainly about my own lack of experience as a maker. And that I don't want to use highly specialised equipment such as CNC machining or 3D printing, at least not for the first iterations.

To support my low-key approach, I plan on using thin plywood sheets cheaply sold in craft- or home improvement stores. In my European neighbourhood I can get four A3 sheets of 4mm poplar plywood for about €6. Then some paper, glue, and a printer to lay out the patterns; a wood knife, a coping saw, and some sand paper to model the plywood. That should do the trick. (Watch this blog to see what I end up doing when 90% of my assumptions prove wrong.)

I literally advertised my project as "combin[ing] a mainboard with an Atreus keyboard. Not unlike computers of old. At home: USB-C dock, on the go: USB-C external monitor." Which means I need access to at least two USB-C ports, so that I can still plug a gadget on the go when the first USB-C port is handling power and display. (I know, I could also unplug the dock and bring it on the go. But really, who wants to have a single USB port on their machine?)

Keeping that in mind, the first viable iteration needs to fulfill the following criteriae:

  1. Standalone housing for the Mainboard and a mechanical keyboard on top.
  2. At least two USB-C ports accessible externally. Externally in case the housing is large enough to encompass internal USB-C connections.
  3. The upper face —holding the keyboard— should be modular. I want to be able to change it to e.g. allow for an alternative layout like QWERTY. That is the piece I think has the most chance to change over time. Because I might want to change the keyboard (I am very intrigued by Miryoku which is quite close to Atreus).