Updated: Aug 9, 2020
Hi everyone, I'm Andres and here is a quick post about a recent project I just completed.
This is my Lunchbox Cyber Deck. It runs on Raspberry Pi 4, Linux (Raspbian OS...64 bit of course), and I use it primarily for coding on the couch and browsing the web. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions (firstname.lastname@example.org) or if you plan on building one yourself. Lastly, this project was inspired by Jay at Back7.co, I highly suggest you check out his work; you'll thank me later.
I've added the STL/ OBJ files that I created so you can 3d Print yourself a Cyber Deck Lunchbox. Keep in mind, these specs are for the Nanuk 904 but you could easily resize them. I used FreeCAD and TinkerCAD for most of the 3D modeling work. If you're building your own, please keep me posted or tag me on twitter or email me. You can download the 3D print files here!
1. Can I buy one?
I've received some emails from folks asking if I could build them a CyberDeck. I'd be happy to do a few commissions, depending on how much time I have. You can send me an email at email@example.com and we can talk about specifications and cost. I highly recommend trying to build one on your own if you have time though, it was a great learning experience.
2. Where did this idea come from?
The original designer that inspired me is Jay D. at Back7.co. If you're planning on building your own cyber_deck please check out his blog and great build; it will be extremely helpful.
3. What in the hell is that keyboard and how do you use it?
It's called The Gherkin and it was created by the good folks at 40percent.club. It's a 30% ortho-linear keyboard (buttons are in a grid, not staggered). The bottom row of keys give you access to different layers when you hold them. The two orange keys are backspace and space. So for example, if I want to get to the second layer, where the top row is all numbers, I would long press the backspace key to open up layer 2 and then the first row of the keyboard would allow me to type numbers (Q = 1, W=2, etc.). It takes some getting used to but I suggest printing out a keymap that you can reference for the first few weeks. Soon you'll catch yourself not needing to look at the map as it engrains itself in your cortex as muscle memory.
4. What supplies did you use?
Here is a list of all of the supplies you used. Some of these are affiliate links, meaning if you click through and purchase one of the items, I'll make a small commission which I'll use for my next project. Thank you!
For the case, I used a Nanuk 904 waterproof hard-shell. A lot of folks go with pelican cases but I found this one to be just the right price and size for my lunch box style computer.
The screen is the official RaspberryPi 7 Inch Touchscreen. The reason I picked this screen is because it's very plug and play and doesn't require you to install any drivers to get it to work. The touch is very responsive as well which is nice.
For the brains of the computer, a RaspberryPi 4 with 2GB of internal. I found this to be more than enough for my needs. Obviously if you plan on doing some really heavy computation you would want to get some more internal GB. Additionally, I used this 64G Samsung Evo Select SD card which has a really fast read/write speed and has served me well.
I used an Ender 3 Pro to 3D print the parts for the case. This is a great little printer that you put together yourself. I'll do a write up on that build at a later date. I love this printer because it's completely customizable and allows you to upgrade it as your skills grow.
This is the trackball breakout that I used for navigation.
The buttons and switches that I used for the control panel. They look awesome and can be soldered to the GPIO of the raspberry. You can then find tons of different uses for them. For example, you can create a shutdown button or a screen back-light switch for the display.
Additionally, you'll need these connectors, one for connecting the usb-c for power, one for HDMI (in case you ever want to use two screens!), and the other for creating a USB hub on the control panel.
I built the keyboard from scratch. I purchased the Gherkin Keyboard from SpaceCat Designs (an awesome store!) . I bought Zealios switches, however I would recommend these Kailh Jade box switches for a more affordable alternative. They are really tactile and have a nice click.