This Walnut Johnson Solid Houses a "Largely Impractical" Dual-Screen Raspberry Pi Gaming System

Built using a pair of circular displays and a Raspberry Pi 4, this compact console may lack practicality but oozes style.

Gareth Halfacree
25 days agoGaming / Retro Tech / HW101

Pseudonymous woodworker and Raspberry Pi enthusiast "mw3312" has come up with another walnut-inspired creation hiding a Raspberry Pi inside, this time based on the Johnson J83 solid — and packing two circular screens in what the maker says is a "largely impractical" design.

"Yes, the screens are a dumb shape for most uses," mw3312 admits of the compact console. "They’re fine for games where the gameplay is centered. Less practical if you need to find an icon in the corner of the screen. They do, however, look pretty unique. They can be configured to mirror display or stretch to a 1600×800 resolution across both panels, where needed."

The housing for the system, shaped for the J38 Johnson solid, is built from 10mm walnut using only hand-tools and a cordless power drill. The speaker surrounds are picked out in Indian rosewood and maple, as are the vents, which keep the electronics cool. "No problems with overheating," mw3312 claims. "Fans and vents works just fine."

Inside the box is a Raspberry Pi 4 Model B single-board computer, an amplifier to drive the four speakers, a power transformer, two cooling fans, driver boards for the monitors, and the two aforementioned "largely impractical" circular displays — each measuring 3.4" in diameter and offering an 800×800 resolution that is cropped to a circular viewpoint.

This isn't mw33212's first wooden gaming system, though it may perhaps be the least practical: Last month the maker showed off a retro-gaming console built into a walnut Stewart's G3 box, which was a follow-up to a portable system packing its own built-in projector. Before that the maker had put together a walnut laptop, again powered by a Raspberry Pi, as well as a triple-screen PC designed as a child's toy.

"I'm in two minds whether this one should remain on a countertop, or wall mounted above a table (with the screens rotated 90 degrees)," mw3312 says. "In reality it's going to be pretty impractical for most purposes, but will fit a small space well — this one is going to a friend to be used in their apartment kitchen. I like the wall mounted idea and potentially it will find more use as an information display (weather, news, time, eBay alerts for absolute essentials like 603 bedrock planes, etc.)"

The circular displays have one more use, too: "The screensaver on the console is a giant pair of eyes," the maker explains, "which was quite effective at scaring the kids in an otherwise dark room."

More details are available on the project's Reddit thread.

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