Daniel Norris' "Chonky Palmtop" Build Packs a Clever Swing-Out Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard
Maker Daniel Norris has put together a Raspberry Pi-powered "palmtop" with a difference: the "Chonky Palmtop" opens out to reveal a mechanical ergonomic keyboard, which swings out for maximum comfort.
"I've been working on this for a couple months and am calling it complete enough," Norris writes of the project. "It struck me to put this together when I saw how close in size the 7" touchscreen, battery cells, and crkbd folded vertically that I had sitting on my desk were. And I I needed a build that was actually functional for normal computer stuff, so this seemed like a good idea."
Housed in a 3D printed case, the portable is powered by a Raspberry Pi 4 Model B, with a 7" touchscreen as a display. There's an on-board control panel for adjusting brightness, checking the voltage of the internal dual-cell lithium-ion battery, and powering the system on and off, plus an integrated USB hub.
It's the keyboard that catches the eye, however. A mechanical keyboard built around clicky Cherry MX Blue switches, it's based on a Corne Classic running the Miryoku firmware with mouse emulation support — and pivots out to provide a more comfortable layout that doesn't add to the device's footprint when closed.
"One corner of each keyboard half moves up the center of the chassis on a straight path," Norris explains. "The other pivot point follows some other path to achieve the desired total rotation, and we have some control over how it gets there by curving the path it follows.
"It's about the same footprint as an old [Asus] Eee 701 laptop," Norris continues of the finished build, "but much thicker, hence the the 'chonky.'"
More details are available on the project's Reddit thread, while STL files for the chassis have been published along with breakdown and bill of materials on Norris' GitLab repository.