3D printing has had an enormous impact on pretty much every industry you can think of, from prosthetics to construction to automotive design. Where it hasn’t exactly been a force to be reckoned with is in the world of consumer electronics.
One company is out to change that. Pi-Top got its start in late 2014 via a Kickstarter program, and now the company is back with an all new 3D printed laptop version that offers 30% less heft, and is expected to start shipping in May 2015.
A Look at the V3
The V3 is a new 3D printed laptop (well, a 3D printed shell, anyway), that offers significant disruption capabilities. While the laptop itself is remarkable, it’s the company’s potential that really gets the most attention.
Pi-Top offers customers the chance to custom create their own laptop through 3D printing. Unlike other options on the market that allow you to customize your computer to a degree, Pi-Top lets you get down and dirty with the design – the kit is completely customizable.
The new V3 is powered by Raspberry Pi, the microcomputer that’s garnered headlines around the world for several years. It also includes a 3D printed case that can be as large or small as you like (it’s also possible to print in a wide range of colors).
What’s more – the designs will be available as STL files once the final iteration is complete and cemented.
The new version marks several important upgrades compared to the company’s initial offering on Kickstarter. First, it’s 30% lighter than the previous model, giving customers the ability to print and assemble an ultra-lightweight laptop in their choice of colors and configurations.
Second, the company has created a unique trackpad design that allows users to do away with a conventional mouse. There are two cantilever mouse buttons that let a user send left and right commands to the computer.
Other changes to the V3 include a modular PCB rail, as well as a constant torque hinge that’s also 3D printable.
The full kit will contain a number of accessories for those hoping to build their own computers. First is the injection-molded case, customized to your specific color desires.
Second, there are 3D printer STL files that are compatible with most of the printer models on the market, although you’ll need a bed of at least 5 x 5 inches.
The kit ships with PCBs for power management, HDMI to LVDS and the keyboard and trackpad controller, and there’s an electronics breadboard included. It also comes with a battery, a keyboard, the trackpad itself, a Wi-Fi adapter, wiring, a DC wall plug, and complete build instructions as well.
It’s not quite the same as printing your own computer from beginning to end right at home, but it’s a step in that direction. Not only that, but it marks the first “learning experience” designed to teach beginners about both 3D printing and computer design and assembly.
You should be able to get your hands on it in May of 2015.