Graduates Launch ‘Pi-Top’, The World’s First 3D-Printed Laptop

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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The Raspberry Pi-based Pi-Top is designed to teach users to design and assemble their own devices

Two UK graduates have launched what they say is the world’s first 3D-printed laptop, powered by the Linux-powered Raspberry Pi computing board.

The Pi-Top, a kit intended to help teach young people how to create their own electronic devices, has so far raised about $125,000 (£78,000) on crowd-funding site Indiegogo, far more than the $80,000 its inventors say is needed to create the first 250 units. The crowd-funding campaign ends on Thursday.

pi-topDIY model

Aimed at teaching users to assemble a computing device, the Pi-Top comes with all the parts needed to build the laptop – including an injection-moulded case, printed circuit boards (PCBs) for power, monitor, keyboard and trackpad control, battery, keyboard, trackpad, a 13.3-inch screen, Wi-Fi adapter, wiring, and a DC wall plug. The battery is said to have a life of 6 to 8 hours.

No soldering is required, and Pi-Top’s inventors say a user should expect to be able to build the kit in an evening.

However, it also comes with 3D printer STL files designed to work with most print bed sizes from 5 x 5 inches and up, allowing users to print their own components, including the laptop case.

Ryan Dunwoody, a 23-year-old Oxford University engineering science graduate, and Jesse Lozano, a 27-year-old law graduate who taught himself computer coding, say they have tested the Pi-Top and its accompanying educational materials on students around the UK.

“By using Pi-Top you will learn to make and control home automation devices, robots, and consumer electronics,” they say on the Indiegogo page, noting that one recent session taught students how to create a Rasberry Pi-controlled robot.

Extension boards

The two met through Entrepreneur First, a scheme that funds students to set up their own companies.

Dunwoody and Lozano are also offering PCBs that extend Raspberry Pi’s functionality, called HATs, allowing it to control robots or home devices. Pi-Top has extra space inside allowing the addition of HATs, they said.

Other items on offer to contributors include a sticker that says “My other laptop is 3D-printed”.

In July, element14 launched Raspberry Pi Model B+, which featured a new board layout, increased the number of USB ports from 2 to 4, and exchanged the SD card slot for a miniSD slot, amongst other changes.

Do you know how many raspberries are used in the making of a Raspberry Pi? Take our quiz!

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