The World's Smallest MacBook Pro Runs on Raspberry Pi 4

Michael Pick's mini laptop features a light-up Apple logo on the back of the screen, a MagSafe power adapter/charger, and a USB port.

Cabe Atwell
11 days ago3D Printing

Michael Pick designed a tiny Macbook Pro labor of love that runs just as perfectly and smoothly what it's trying to be. But, it uses Raspberry Pi 4 to power the system and iRaspbian for the OS. To start things off, the transparent Apple logo, which is commonly found on older MacBook Pros, was created using an SLA printer. Plastic parts for the body of the laptop were printed with an older filament printer.

The screen contained tall components that needed to be trimmed down, including the tab. Otherwise, it would stick over the screen holder. The 3D-printed screen holder is slightly shorter than the screen tab. Buttons and components are preventing the back of the case from closing onto the 3D-printed screen holder. To make it thinner, the HDMI input port, buttons, speakers, and power connector for the boards were removed.

Raspberry Pi 4 was slightly altered by removing the top USB ports (nice) as well. This allowed everything to fit correctly into the new case. Next, the laptop's air intake fan was installed. Then, the power cables for the screen were connected to a Raspberry Pi 4 in the bottom of the case.

Next, the stock keyboard and mouse components and the battery's power input were removed, along with the battery. Raspberry Pi delivers power directly to the keyboard/mouse combo. Here is where the build took a turn. I think striving to maintain the mega-large touchpad that Macbooks typically have would have been cool to replicate. Also, a better keyboard. There are low profile mechanical switches out there.

The USB power input provides power to the keyboard and the Raspberry Pi 4. The top portion of the mouse/keyboard combo was individually filed. Keyboard plastic piece was placed on top of the blue PCB board, functioning the same way as before. Two ribbon cables were spliced together. Next, the plastic was burned and sanded. The rest of it was brushed off to get the bare contacts to show. Finally, each wire was soldered together. Ehh... this whole keyboard step could go.

This is the best part. In fact, it should become standard with every portable gadget! An older feature, called the MagSafe power cable, was installed on this laptop. To flex around some of the parts in the case, the USB-C extension cable was thinned down. To keep it from moving, a 3D-printed black piece was also installed.

What's more, another black piece was created to keep the audio jack in place when the headphone jack is inserted or removed. A copper CPU cooler and CPU fan were placed in the laptop, and finally, the HDMI input connects to the screen. Solid effort, gold star for sure. Upgrade that keyboard for extra credit!

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