Guyrandy Jean-Gilles' piEreader Is a Chunky 3D-Printed ePaper Book Reading Proof of Concept

Powered by Python, this book reader uses a 3D-printed frame to hold its components in place and boasts broad format compatibility.

Developer Guyrandy Jean-Gilles has released design files and schematics for the piEreader, an early-stage project to turn a Raspberry Pi into an open source and low-cost reader for electronic books.

"PiEreader is a proof-of-concept, open source, and DIY e-reader that supports EPUB, CBZ, PDF, and many more [formats]," Jean-Gilles explains of his creation. "This project is still a work in progress."

This chunky ereader is powered by Python running on a Raspberry Pi, with a compact ePaper display. (πŸ“Ή: Guyrandy Jean-Gilles)

Built using a Raspberry Pi single-board computer β€” "I recommend at least using a Raspberry Pi 3," Jean-Gilles notes, "as anything less powerful is pretty slow" β€” the piEreader is based on a 3D-printed frame with heat-set inserts to hold everything together. On top of the frame is the Raspberry Pi, custom-designed interface board for the general-purpose input/output (GPIO) pins, and a daughter board which handles navigation.

The display is an off-the-shelf GDEW042T2 4.2" grayscale ePaper display, connected to a Waveshare Universal ePaper HAT (Hardware Attached on Top) board. Some smart software handles book navigation, with a surprisingly broad range of formats available.

While the initial prototype is fully-functional, though, it's not exactly pocket-friendly β€” in no small part thanks to the stacked hardware and use of a full-size Raspberry Pi single-board computer. "When compute modules become more available, I want to move to that form factor to slim the build down," Jean-Gilles says. "Right now a case would be a literal brick."

The piEreader project as a whole is very similar, in concept if not approach, to Joey Castillo's Open Book β€” recently relaunched as the Open Book Abridged, powered by a Raspberry Pi Pico on a slim custom circuit board. With the power of a full-fat Raspberry Pi behind it, though, the piEreader should be able to handle more complex file formats, like PDF, with ease.

Design files, 3D-printable STLs, and the Python source code for the piEreader project are available on Jean-Gilles' GitLab repository, under an unspecified open source license. More information is available on Jean-Gilles' Reddit post.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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