The Chonky Palmtop is one of the cutest DIY Pi machines yet

If there's one thing I've learned, it's never doubt the ingenuity of a Raspberry Pi owner. These credit card sized computers have been made to do all sorts of things from being a baller retro gaming machine (opens in new tab), to a garish PC gaming handheld (opens in new tab)

But if you're wanting something a little weirder to serve up with your Pi, maybe have a look at this adorable laptop -like machine.

Daniel Norris (opens in new tab) (via Liliputing (opens in new tab)) is the madman behind the Chonky Palmtop (opens in new tab), a tiny PC with an included fold out split keyboard. This thick little beasty has a swish retro 3D printed grey box, which opens up to reveal the 7 inch touchscreen display and keyboard setup. 

The keyboard can then be swivelled outwards for usability. You can get a look at the machine in action in the video above, which even includes booting up the Raspberry Pi 4 inside. This also shows off all the little features like the USB and ethernet ports. It's pretty cool to see how it all comes together.

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(Image credit: Future)

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The keyboard, which is packed into the bottom half of the device along with the battery, really gives this little unit an iconic and almost retro futuristic look. It's based on the Corne Keyboard split keyboard (opens in new tab) design and programmed with the ergonomic typing Miryoku layou (opens in new tab)t which are both available as open source projects on github. This allows for cursor control via the keyboard so you don't need an extra mouse, or have to touch the display when it's not convenient.

Thankfully Norris has continued in the spirit of open source design by also uploading all the info required to do this yourself (opens in new tab). This includes files for the 3D printed case, a list of materials, and links to the other github projects used. 

Norris notes that while there's currently some issues with gfx acceleration in FireFox, but for general browsing and console use, the unit has served its intended purpose nicely. While it may not be a build for the faint of heart, if you're looking to turn your Raspberry Pi into something functional, cute, and most importantly very, very chonky then this looks like a great bet.

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 (opens in new tab) right here.

No, she’s not kidding.