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.

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.


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

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12 Comments

1. shahrooz

Posts: 792; Member since: Sep 17, 2013

good job!

2. Chris_Bakke

Posts: 246; Member since: Jan 23, 2013

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

3. SleepingOz unregistered

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

4. fadingdust

Posts: 7; Member since: Dec 09, 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..

5. Tuxedo

Posts: 356; Member since: Mar 19, 2013

Pretty slick. I like DIY projects like this.

6. H3Drvr

Posts: 43; Member since: Apr 30, 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.

7. RaKithAPeiRiZ

Posts: 1488; Member since: Dec 29, 2011

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

8. RandomUsername

Posts: 808; Member since: Oct 29, 2013

omgz bazel are waaayyy too thicck!!!11!

9. corporateJP

Posts: 2458; Member since: Nov 28, 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. :(

10. Vanster

Posts: 124; Member since: Jan 15, 2014

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

11. kaikuheadhunterz

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jul 18, 2013

I want to make my own tablet too

12. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

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

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