Q: Will you lose interest in the project and fizzle out?
A: No. I have an aging x230 to replace and I will never compromise on the TrackPoint, classic keyboard, or easily upgradable parts. These goals can only be achieved with the completion of this project.
Components & Rationale
Framework 16 Laptop Base
- Framework mainboards are updated regularly in the same chassis so we won't have to redesign and remake everything every two years.
- The deck is effectively a blank canvas, unlike any other laptop. We save time and money by not designing and manufacturing our own lower chassis.
- Expansion bay of the 16 inch model opens the possibility for secondary batteries as with earlier ThinkPads.
Mechanical Re-implementation of the 7-Row ThinkPad Keyboard via QMK and Input Module Interface
- The concept of rewiring a classic keyboard for other interfaces is proven. However, the underlying connectors are proprietary and add poorly-used thickness to the final assembly.
- For a similar thickness and effort designing a custom PCB to interface with the 8-pin input modules, replicating the layout with Kailh choc V1 switches is superior.
- Any initial thoughts I had about using the SK-8845/8855 to avoid programming a microcontroller perished upon seeing their prices.
TrackPoint in the middle of the keyboard
- Will be harvested from a ThinkPad keyboard and accompany 3 mouse buttons as keyswitches at bottom of keyboard.
- Re-implementation of the ThinkLight. I will be using amber LEDs to complete the retro look.
- I will work in two worklights, one on each end, because that would look cool.
- Avoid hassle of SMD LEDs in the custom keyboard.
3D-Printed Raised Palmrest
- Any attempt to re-implement the classic ThinkPad keyboard will require a least 15 mm of clearance, far exceeding the 3.7 mm limit of first-party input modules.
- See the ThinkPad A20m for the essence of my planned palmrest design.
- Accomodate extra thickness imposed by the keyboard.
- Less ridiculous appearance than if we had a thin screen and thick base.
- Design pieces to fit in the "lip" of the OEM Framework lid. May require additional fastening.
- See the ThinkPad A20m for the essence of my planned bezel design.
Option: In-Palmrest Multi-Card Reader, Mass Storage, or Arduino Interface
- The increased deck height leaves some space under the palmrest.
- Input module 8-pin interfaces are USB-based. By virtue of this, we could theoretically sneak in any sufficiently small USB 2.0 device in the palmrest.
LCD size will likely be 14"
- The original 16 inch LCD tolerances would be too tight for the custom bezel, worklights, and any first-try inefficiencies.
- Cables leading to webcam and microphone might not reach the top of a 16" display given the required increase in lid thickness.
- 14" 16:10 is the next size down without converting eDP to LVDS.
Custom Hinge Pieces
- I don't really understand laptop hinges. But the added thickness could make for some trouble.
- You are welcome to fork my designs when I publish them, but I do not use a trackpad and will not be testing such a configuration.
- First-party input modules will not be compatible with the custom palmrest
Pricing of Individual Framework 16 Parts
- This project does not utilize the official display, keyboard, and input modules included. However, purchasing the required parts individually does not give us a better deal than buying the DIY edition.
No Ethernet Port or Hardware Wireless Switch
- Both are theoretically possible, but can't think of an elegant arrangement yet. I want this to look somewhat neat, so no flying leads or parts dangling off the side.
Lack of Microcontroller and 3D Modelling Skills
- I have a head start in basic electronics and computer skills, but need to build my 3D modelling and microcontroller skills for this project from the ground up.
Realistic Levels of Free Time
- The slivers of free time available to me in the next two...