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The PiPad is a homemade wooden tablet, powered by Raspberry Pi

Posted: , by Peter K.

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The PiPad is a homemade wooden tablet, powered by Raspberry Pi

Meet Michael Castor – a DIY enthusiast, who thinks that tablets are unnecessarily overpriced, don't provide a lot of customization options to the user, and actually "look about the same and accomplish roughly the same thing". So, he decided to create something unusual and different – his own homemade tablet.

Called the PiPad, Michael Castor's homebrewed creation is one of a kind tablet prototype. The device is powered by the minimalistic Raspberry Pi, a $35, credit-card-sized, fully-functioning computer that is very popular among DIY fanatics. However, the Raspberry Pi SoC is not very powerful (it comes with a 700MHz ARM11 CPU and 512MB of RAM on board), so the PiPad doesn't offer stellar performance and can't rival the iPad or the Galaxy Note 10.1, for example. But, according to Castor, the device does everything he needs it to do. The PiPad runs Raspbmc – a custom Linux distribution for the Raspberry Pi. Although minimalistic, Raspbmc is quite multimedia-oriented and supports both 1080p video playback and HTML5. Thanks to Raspbmc, the PiPad can also access the Raspberry Pi Store, which has a small number of open-source apps and games.

360°-spin of the PiPad

360°-spin of the PiPad

According to Castor, it was very difficult to find a display for the PiPad, because it had to run at 5V, just like the Raspberry Pi SoC. Eventually, the enthusiast laid his hands on a 10-inch capacitive touchscreen, which met the important requirement. Due to the excessive thickness of the PiPad, Castor has managed to fit a large 10,000mAh external battery pack in his tablet. This battery provides roughly 6 hours of life and can be charged via a cell phone charger. The insides of the tablet also house a bunch of Raspberry Pi heat sinks, a Wi-Fi adapter, a Bluetooth dongle, several USB ports, a microSD card slot, a headphone amplifier and an audio jack.

But the most interesting thing about the PiPad is its enclosure. Michael Castor says that he wanted to use the homemade tablet during flights without attracting unnecessary attention from the TSA, so the PiPad had to look like it came out of a factory The sides of the PiPad are made of polished baltic birch plywood, while the back is actually a large sheet of scrap carbon fiber. Thanks to two hinges on one of the sides, the tablet can be opened just like a chess box, exposing the inner layout and providing easy access to the tablet's hardware. The PiPad is significantly bulkier than most tablets – the device is 10.75 inches long, 7.5 inches wide, and 1 inch thick.

"I like simplistic, functional design. I don’t like extra crap that doesn’t do anything and I enjoy fun, hidden features. I also like for my projects to look as “sexy” as possible. I thought about hollowing out a book and putting it in there (like Penny’s book computer from Inspector Gadget) but decided to go with a stand-alone tablet form-factor." - said the PiPad's creator.

Castor says that the whole project cost him about $350. He claims that he "could have bought an iPad or an Android tablet for that (or less) but what’s the fun in that?”. Of course, the PiPad is not for sale, but Michael Castor has provided a full step-by-step guide for people who want to create a similar gadget on their own. The guide can be found here.


source: MKCastor via BGR

12 Comments
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posted on 15 Jan 2014, 09:56 7

1. shahrooz (Posts: 107; Member since: 17 Sep 2013)


good job!

posted on 15 Jan 2014, 10:03 7

2. Chris_Bakke (Posts: 199; Member since: 23 Jan 2013)


That's one of the coolest things I've seen in quite some time. Hats off to Mr. Castor!!

posted on 15 Jan 2014, 10:04 3

3. SleepingOz (unregistered)


Thumbs up!
Moreover, he's an audiophile.. =D

posted on 15 Jan 2014, 11:01 3

4. fadingdust (Posts: 7; Member since: 09 Dec 2013)


I saw this a few weeks back - y'know, with the right hinge, he could dump the keyboard inside & make the top angle-up. S'pose that's less of a tablet & more of a laptop..

posted on 15 Jan 2014, 11:03 2

5. Tuxedo (Posts: 110; Member since: 19 Mar 2013)


Pretty slick. I like DIY projects like this.

posted on 15 Jan 2014, 11:43 2

6. H3Drvr (Posts: 15; Member since: 30 Apr 2013)


I'm sure this is pronounced "pie" pad but to the uninitiated, it probably sounds like pee pad. Just an observation. Otherwise, its a pretty interesting project.

posted on 15 Jan 2014, 11:52 1

7. RaKithAPeiRiZ (Posts: 1301; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


good to see that there is some DIY'ness in this modern age

posted on 15 Jan 2014, 12:43 1

8. RandomUsername (Posts: 353; Member since: 29 Oct 2013)


omgz bazel are waaayyy too thicck!!!11!

posted on 15 Jan 2014, 12:53 1

9. corporateJP (Posts: 1520; Member since: 28 Nov 2009)


Nice. However, he was bitching about cost, yet he dropped $350 to make it?

On a side note, a three-year-old Droid has a better processor. :(

posted on 15 Jan 2014, 17:21 1

10. Vanster (Posts: 124; Member since: 15 Jan 2014)


haha thats cool, you done well, anyway processor doesnt matter

posted on 15 Jan 2014, 18:17 1

11. kaikuheadhunterz (Posts: 686; Member since: 18 Jul 2013)


I want to make my own tablet too

posted on 15 Jan 2014, 19:57 1

12. downphoenix (Posts: 2266; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)


That is pretty badass. But has there not been an updated Pi yet still?

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