Check out this cute circular screen terminal DIY using a Framework Mainboard

Penk's mainboard terminal
(Image credit: Penk)

Cute DIY PCs are easily some of the coolest machines around. They showcase the ingenuity and imaginations of individuals who get to make something just for the fun of it. This leads to the cutest, weirdest, and least practical PC builds possible, which is also why they're the best.

Products like the Raspberry Pi have made wacky DIY computers a much more achievable feat for many, leading to cool builds like the Chonky Palmptop with its flip out keyboard. Now, thanks to Framework, a company that sells modular laptops, builders have a few other options. Framework not only offers fully built laptops, but has recently started offering parts like laptop mainboards as a stand alone buy. 

Spotted by Liliputing, one hardware DIYer called Penk has turned one of these mainboards into a very cool looking terminal. While usually intended for upgrading an existing Framework laptop, these little modules seem to work pretty well as a computer in their own right. So Pent decided to put one in a nifty 3D printed case.

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The case has calls to the retrofuturism vibes popular amongst many DIY projects, but stands out thanks to its circular screen. It looks a bit like something right out of Bioshock, or perhaps a reimagined version of the old PDP-1. Penk's creation looks a bit like a bannister clock had a sordid affair with an IBM keyboard giving birth to this Mainboard Terminal.

The display is actually a 5 inch 1080p LCD, which Penk says took some tweaking in Ubuntu 22.04 LTS to work in a circular mode. Thankfully, since the mainboard itself is designed to be a modern capable laptop, getting the operating system itself to run was no big deal.

The ease of implementation using this fully functional laptop mainboard makes me think we may see a lot more cool DIY projects like this in the future. It's not quite as cheap an option as a Rasberry Pi, or as small, but it gives people a few more choices especially if they're looking for a bit more grunt. If you want some tips before you embark on one of these DIY adventures, check out Penk's github page on how this Mainboard Terminal was made.

Hope Corrigan
Hardware Writer

Hope’s been writing about games for about a decade, starting out way back when on the Australian Nintendo fan site Since then, she’s talked far too much about games and tech for publications such as Techlife, Byteside, IGN, and GameSpot. Of course there’s also here at PC Gamer, where she gets to indulge her inner hardware nerd with news and reviews. You can usually find Hope fawning over some art, tech, or likely a wonderful combination of them both and where relevant she’ll share them with you here. When she’s not writing about the amazing creations of others, she’s working on what she hopes will one day be her own. You can find her fictional chill out ambient far future sci-fi radio show/album/listening experience podcast right here. No, she’s not kidding.