The Raspberry Pi is compact, low-powered, and battery-powered, making it portable. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could transform your Raspberry Pi into your own laptop? You certainly can!
We discovered nine methods to convert a Raspberry Pi into a laptop using pre-made kits and/or 3D-printed designs.
Why Use a Raspberry Pi as a Laptop?
It’s small, simple to set up, and can connect to a number of hardware devices. Why wouldn’t you use a Raspberry Pi as a laptop, is the actual question.
There are two main options: a (relatively) powerful Raspberry Pi4 or the insanely low-priced and slim-line Raspberry Pi Zero.
Consider the possibilities. With a Raspberry Pi-powered laptop, you not only have a portable computer for work, but you can also utilize it for coding tasks. Even better, many Pi laptop projects give you access to the GPIO, allowing you to connect to other devices exactly as you would if the Pi was sitting barebones on your desk.
All of the examples below can transform a Raspberry Pi into a laptop. If you’re searching for some smaller applications for your Raspberry Pi, check out our look at projects that make your Raspberry Pi portable.
The pi-top is an awesome modular laptop that includes a Raspberry Pi Model 3B+ (but you may get it without one). In a nutshell, it’s a laptop chassis with a keyboard that slides out to reveal the insides. Other than a PCB to attach your Raspberry Pi to, you won’t find anything here.
The pi-top has been available for a while, with the most recent version being compatible with the Model 3B+. Other devices, like as a breadboard, may be added alongside the connection board and Pi by putting them on a rail. When you move the keyboard back into position, all of this is concealed. Simply slide back the keyboard and connect another device when the whim strikes you for some DIY electronics.
The pi-top even has its own operating system and a dedicated heatsink to keep your Raspberry Pi cool.
The Piper is another compact Raspberry Pi kit that focuses on electronics and programming. It includes a self-assembly wooden casing. A non-touch display, a loudspeaker, and a container for the Raspberry Pi and a breadboard are included. All of the necessary wiring, LEDs, and switches are also included. The kit also comes with a rechargeable power source, making it completely portable.
While the inclusion of a tiny keyboard allows you to use the Piper for conventional Raspberry Pi-based productivity activities, it is the specific Minecraft-Pi version that distinguishes this kit.
The Piper is a valuable instructional tool that is not a regular Raspberry Pi 3 laptop.
Related: Piper DIY Computer Kit Review
This DIY construction will result in your own Raspberry Pi laptop, complete with a full keyboard, DIY trackpad, and 7-inch monitor. This project makes use of a Raspberry Pi 3, although it is readily replaceable with a Raspberry Pi Model 3B+.
This construction is accompanied by a full movie (seen above). You’ll discover how to assemble the battery pack, connect a charger and boost converter, and even extend a USB port for easier access.
Meanwhile, the Arduino component shows the battery charge status and provides communication for sensor modules. It’s a convenient all-in-one solution!
This Raspberry Pi laptop is made of reinforced cardboard and has a keyboard from a 7-inch tablet shell.
The CrowPi 2 is a solid laptop chassis with room for a Raspberry Pi 4 (a 4GB variant is supplied). The CrowPi 2 is a hobbyist’s dream, coming with a power supply, twin gaming controllers, an integrated electronics workshop board, and a slew of STEM development components.
The integrated electronics workshop board will keep you going for a while, but the “loose” components, many of which can be breadboarded in the workshop, will let you push your study even further.
Overall, this is a fantastic Raspberry Pi laptop set with a strong emphasis on learning, suited for anyone over the age of 12.
Related: CrowPi 2 Raspberry Pi Workshop Review
5. DIY Raspberry Pi Pocket Laptop
This laptop seems to be easier than it is, thanks to its keyboard, IPS display, portable battery charger, and Raspberry Pi 3. A switch is connected to the battery, making it simple to turn on. However, like with most Pis, shutting down should be done from inside the OS (to avoid a corrupt SD card).
The plastic chassis, on the other hand, is maybe the most intriguing aspect of this construction. While there isn’t enough room for the selected Bluetooth keyboard (others may be better), it’s a surprisingly great fit.
This project is especially intriguing since it is quite basic. Only the essentials are covered here, leaving room for you to put your own spin on it.
There is no link for this Raspberry Pi laptop build since everything is in the video.
The LapPi is a self-assembly DIY acrylic laptop for the Raspberry Pi that comes in 5- and 7-inch sizes. Furthermore, the kit may be purchased with or without the Raspberry Pi, and there is also a version that contains a variety of shields (PiTraffic, PiCube, PiRelay, and PiTalk Shield).
LapPi is compatible with any Raspberry Pi consumer model and incorporates a capacitive touchscreen. A keyboard, a Li-Ion rechargeable power bank, and speakers are also included. There are four color options: red, blue, yellow, and black.
Because both kits are so compact, the LapPi isn’t your standard productivity laptop. It is, however, intended to assist you in transforming your Raspberry Pi into a fantastic little laptop.
A 3D printed laptop powered by a Raspberry Pi could not be more DIY.
This design, which includes a Raspberry Pi 2 and a 3.5-inch TFT display, makes use of a little Bluetooth keyboard. There’s also a Li-Ion battery and a Wi-Fi dongle, however they aren’t necessary with more current Raspberry Pi models. Everything about this construction is compact, yielding a pocket-sized Raspberry Pi laptop.
While the size is closer to that of a smartphone than a netbook, the choice of keyboard makes this construction user-friendly. The keyboard, screen, and Raspberry Pi are housed in a 3D printed frame, with 3D printed hinges holding the two parts together.
Do you want to make your Raspberry Pi portable? This is the way to go if you want to 3D print your answer. The complete instructions may be found on the project’s Instructables website.
Looking for a pocket-sized Raspberry Pi laptop that you can build yourself? This tiny Raspberry Pi-powered system includes a Raspberry Pi 2, a monitor, a keyboard, an Adafruit Powerboost 1000, a battery, and 3D printing.
Once completed, the Pi 2 is hidden behind the keyboard, and the whole machine folds up like a full-sized keyboard. While the 4-inch LCD is small, it is suitable for carrying a Pi in your pocket for convenient access.
The Thingiverse project page for the Nano Pi2 has all of the necessary information and 3D printing templates.
Finally, a Raspberry Pi laptop project that anybody can make if they have an abundance of Danish plastic bricks.
The Lego Raspberry PiBook, designed by Peter Howkins, has a USB connector and a door for changing the microSD card. It’s made of ordinary Lego bricks and Technic parts and sits atop two 16×24 stud Lego baseplates.
Visit Peter Howkins’ website to learn more and get started creating your own Lego Raspberry Pi laptop.
Build Your Own Raspberry Pi Laptop
With so many possible Raspberry Pi laptop project alternatives, you should be able to find something to emulate here. There is a Raspberry Pi build to fit any form factor and budget, regardless of the model you possess.
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