The Luggable PC project had its first public outing yesterday: I brought Easel Frame V3 to Hackaday LA January Meetup. It was pretty much as documented earlier except it had the Mini-ITX board installed instead of the full ATX motherboard. (Their GPU slot were at different locations and I wanted to test both would work in the V3 design.)
I was pleasantly surprised by the level of interest the project attracted. I had anticipated that "just a PC" wouldn't be interesting to the crowd in comparison to the more typical maker projects present but I was wrong. I had a lot of fun explaining the motivation of the project and seeing quite a few faces light up in "hey that's a good idea" kind of interest. I got some good questions about the design trade-offs I'm prepared to make, and some suggestions.
One suggestion was from a local 3D printing pioneer (whose name I'm drawing a blank on right now) who recognized the threaded-rods-and-nuts building technique I copied from the old RepRap 3D printers. He suggested that I look into the aluminum extrusion building blocks popular with current innovators in the 3D printing space, which I will definitely do.
I was also encouraged to document the project here on Hackaday.io, which resulted in the page you are reading now. I hope it will find a more like-minded audience here than the random babbles on my personal blog where I had been documenting my projects.
Sadly, I had so much fun talking to people I forgot to take some pictures of it sitting in the Supplyframe DesignLab. Maybe some other photos from the event will surface.
The parking availability at the meetup location is not great, so I took public transit in the form of LA Metro Gold Line. This turned out to be a great test run of the design's portability. The trip taught me three major items:
- It is far too conspicuous: I wanted attention at the meetup but didn't need any attention on the train. Last night I solved this problem with a big black trash bag but a more elegant solution will be needed.
- Restore the handle: The screen sub-assembly had been adjusted as high as it will go, which partially blocked the top threaded rod and I could no longer use that rod as a convenient handle. If the screen will stay at that location, I need to devise a separate handle.
- Add physical isolation: I had to set the frame down on the ground at various points (dig up my TAP card for the turnstile, etc.) and no matter how gentle I try to be, every time I set it down I could hear and feel many pieces rattle against each other. At the very minimum I need to install rubber feet on the bottom, and start thinking about other mitigation against physical shock.