Innovate Asterisk Unveils a 3D-Printed Raspberry Pi 4-Powered Tablet

If you're happy taking cutters to the USB and Ethernet ports, you can follow along and build your own.

Gareth Halfacree
2 years agoHW101 / 3D Printing

Voice-over-IP specialist YouTuber Innovate Asterisk has published a step-by-step guide to assembling a Raspberry Pi-powered tablet, comprised of common off-the-shelf parts and housed in a custom 3D-printed case.

"The concept of the project is to develop a 3D-printable, Raspberry Pi-based tablet. All parts (components) must be easy to obtain and readily available," Innovate Asterisk explains. "It must have a battery, and it must be the primary source of power (meaning, it will charge up with a cable plugged in, but must have enough power to run without it.) It must be able to operate perfectly fine without a keyboard (meaning, everything in the user interface should work without an issue even if you don't have a keyboard and mouse plugged in.)"

Based on the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B with 4GB of RAM, the most powerful board of the family yet released, the tablet includes a the official Raspberry Pi 7" Touch Display, a PiJuice uninterruptible power supply (UPS) with 5Ah battery, a front-facing 1080p camera, plus an add-on sound board to drive stereo speakers and microphones. There are a few bonus extras in there, too: An accelerometer provides automatic screen orientation between landscape and portrait, there's a cooling fan, and physical buttons for power and volume control.

The housing, meanwhile, is primarily but not exclusively 3D-printed: The rear of the housing is based on laser-cut bamboo, while the sides, front, and internal framework are printed on a Creality 3D printer. Assembly, however, isn't for the faint of heart: It requires the user to "strip off the USB blocks and the network block" plus all but six of the GPIO pins from the Raspberry Pi using metal cutters, then wire the additional components into place.

More details on the build can be found on Innovate Asterisk's project page, along with his detailed 80-minute video.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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