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Modder shows how to transform the Framework laptop into a tablet

Whatthefilament tablet build from a Framework laptop
(Image credit: whatthefilament)
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One of the best features of the Framework laptop (opens in new tab) is that you can upgrade its entire core to keep it up to date. Being able to mix and match the ports is cool and means you end up with the perfect configuration for you, but that ability to upgrade the core opens up a whole world of possibilities. Because once you do upgrade the core, the old mainboard can be put to use elsewhere. 

What you do with the older Framework Mainboard is up to you, and some have decided to make them into funky all-in-one systems, as well as more straightforward desktop PCs for good measure. A new addition to the list of options is the ability to build your own tablet out of it. 

The original Framework (opens in new tab) laptops don't have a touchscreen display, so the first thing you'll want to do is track down a touchscreen display that can turn your tablet dreams into reality. For their build, whatthefilament (opens in new tab) has used a 12.3-inch touchscreen display that is available on Amazon for $199 (opens in new tab)

Ideally, we'd recommend repurposing the screen from an old tablet for this task, which would not only help save a bit of cash but help stop such hardware heading for a landfill. The problem is you're going to need to connect the Framework mainboard to this screen, and the easiest way of doing that is via a USB Type-C port. That's not something that most existing tablets offer up. This is why that 12.3-inch makes a lot of sense.

The rest of the details of the build can be found on the Instructables pages (opens in new tab) (via liliputing (opens in new tab)), including 3D printing the chassis that all of this plugs into. The end result is pretty chunky, to be fair, but it's potentially far more powerful than your average tablet and this design still supports the Framework's expansion cards, which is pretty neat. You also have a lot more say over what OS you want to run, including treating yourself to some touchscreen Window-action if you wish.

This is a great project, particularly if you happen to have a passion for 3D printing as well. The Framework laptops aren't just about their modular nature and ability to support complete core upgrades, but the fact you can do something with old mainboards is core to their attraction. Building a tablet out of the old parts certainly works for me.

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Alan has been writing about PC tech since before 3D graphics cards existed, and still vividly recalls having to fight with MS-DOS just to get games to load. He fondly remembers the killer combo of a Matrox Millenium and 3dfx Voodoo, and seeing Lara Croft in 3D for the first time. He's very glad hardware has advanced as much as it has though, and is particularly happy when putting the latest M.2 NVMe SSDs, AMD processors, and laptops through their paces. He has a long-lasting Magic: The Gathering obsession but limits this to MTG Arena these days.