Steampunk Wooden Raspberry Pi Laptop


For a while now I wanted to start using Raspberry Pi computers. I finally got one and, as many people do, started to thinking about housing this credit card sized computer. After a few months I had a fully functional Raspberry laptop in a stylish wooden case.



Since I do not need such a stylish laptop I will sell it. If you are interested: buy it here.

While many people liked the Raspberry laptop, there were quite a few that would prefer their own, more powerful, computers housed in a similar case. I thus made a few cases inspired by this project (images here or buy them here).

I will probably buy another Raspberry Pi for some or other project but house it in a simple cardboard box.

How I made it: 

As with many of the things I make, I have a idea of the final product in my head (or a extremely simple drawing with a few measurements – see below) but definitely not all the steps. During the building process I needed to make many changes and improvised a lot. In addition, many of the steps happened in parallel which helps to bring everything together at the end. The making of this laptop is shown in the series of videos and photos below. You can also click HERE to watch the full playlist on YouTube – but come back to read the interesting anecdotes and see more awesome pictures.

The making of this laptop started with a very simple drawing.


The main idea was to have all the components in one part of the case. The other side would open to show the screen and keyboard and also provide access to the compartment that house some cables and a mouse. The main problem was thus how to fit everything into the case. I also wanted a “nice box” and might have spent a bit too much time on the details. The 2 videos below show the making of the outer and inner part of the laptop case.

The top part quite thick relative to the bottom part, and if the laptop was not unique enough this would be a feature that would distinguish it from most other laptops.


Initial fitting of the screen and the large battery.


Most of the wooden components – pre assembly


Test fit of the internal components


Assembly of the outer case almost done

I liked the striped plywood sides and wanted to keep the same style with the latches. These parts took quite a bit of time to make (I could have used store bought latches and saved many hours). I am however happy with the design. Below is a video focusing only on how I made the latches.

I did mention that I wanted a “nice box” and a lot of small details were added to the case. Below is a video that show how these were made:


Logo added to the case – before lacquer


After lacquering

The whole case was finished with several coats of polyurethane lacquer.


Small parts were made and kept here until assembly


Closeup of the red feet

In addition to the feet I added a copper chain to stop the case from opening too far. I made a simple spool to retract the chain when opening and closing the case (can bee seen in part 2 of the video series). Below is a closeup of this device.


Simple chain retractor


The last part was the final assembly. At this stage everything was fitted several times and I mainly had to screw all the electronics in place one last time.


Everything in place


Finished Laptop Case



Problems and improvements. 

After the laptop was completed I found that it was a bit tricky to link the earphones every time. I thus added a small mobile speaker to the inside of the case (there was just enough room next to the Raspberry Pi). It might however have been easier to just add an extension cable that is accessible from the front compartment to plug the earphones into – but it is nice to have some internal sound.

When opening the laptop the feet and chain stop it from opening too far. The feet are however just too short and the bottom lid lifts slightly before it stops (longer feet would however look weird). This is not problematic as such but it almost seem that it will fall over when opening – but never does. I fixed this problem in the laptop cases that work on the same principle (here).

I think a smaller portable battery would be sufficient. I never run out of power and rarely need to recharge. This would allow the case to be quite a bit smaller.

I find that the mouse and keyboard has a bit of a lag with the Raspberry. I am not sure if this is just because I am used to directly connected peripherals and fast computers or if I am just a bit impatient.

I will probable not make another Raspberry Pi laptop. The problems are also small enough to not change the current look of the laptop.


More on the specifications of the Raspberry Pi 3 can be read here.

The screen is the official Raspberry Pi 7″ touch screen more information here.

The laptop will be sold with a Linocell Bluetooth keyboard (more information here) and a Plexgear wireless mouse (more information here). The mouse fits snugly in the front compartment.

It is powered by a EnerPlex battery pack inside the case (more information here). The battery is a Lithium Ion with a capacity of 10400mAh. The battery can be charged via a normal 5V USB (a cable is stored inside the back of the case).

A Streetz speaker is also included and sits neatly inside the back of the case ( more information here).

The speaker and keyboard can be charged with the internal battery and an a micro USB cable is also provided (and kept in the front compartment of the case).

Note, the links to the peripherals are from the companies where each item was purchased.

The size of the laptop is 33 x 26 x 7.5 cm

The laptop weighs 2.8 kg (all peripherals included).

As mentioned, I made some laptop cases inspired by this project. These house 13″ MacBook Pro laptops. Below are some images of these. More about them here or to see them in the shop here.







I recently made a whirligig that also serve as a house sign. This is planted in our garden and I think the postman have no problem with finding our house.

The best way to experience the whirligig I made is to watch the gif below:


Whirligig in action

I always wanted to make automata but wanted them to be powered in some natural way. The idea to make a whirligig as house sign came from Jimmy Diresta who had a video where he made one from metal (here). I felt inspired and copied his idea but used wood as a medium rather than metal. The whole process of building mine can be seen here:

As with many of my projects I start with a plan that remains mostly in my head with only a few key measurements written down.  In this case it was partly because I had a clear image from Diresta’s video of what I want it to look like at the end. I also wanted it to be reasonable modular to be able to exchange/fix parts if required. The whole thing thus comes apart with only a few pieces glued in place permanently.

I started with the wind mill blades. I wanted cloth sails and made the hub and arms first using wood. After a quick test (using paper) I made some changes to the angle of the blades. I spent a few hours stitching the sails and assembled the wind mill part.


Cutting the hub


Blades of the windmill


Paper sails  for testing


Cloth sails being attached

The frame was made from wood left over after our deck was installed. I made a jig for finger joints and this is the first project where I used it. I am extremely impressed how easy it is to make and how nice it works and looks.


Simple finger joint jig


Kameel inspecting the frame


The frame

I drilled the holes to fit some PVC pipe for the axle to rotate in. The holes for the moving bars was also drilled and cut.


Holes with pvc glued inside

I decided to add some gears. I am not sure why I initially  wanted to do this. I am however extremely pleased with the gear reduction ratio since the wind in our area is quite strong and the speed of the windmill this high. The high wind-speed will not directly translate into direct fast rowing movement  (which would have looked a bit strange) but will be reduced 4 times. At the same time, the  gear setup does allow for weaker gusts to move the whole thing.


Cutting the gears on the band saw


Testing the gears

The main crankshaft was made from a maple branch. I cut it into discs of different sizes. The size of each disk relates to the placement of the numbers and boatman. I drilled these disks at various positions to offset the point of rotation and put the whole shaft together. Dowels were used to connect the various disks. The remaining discs were cut in half to be mounted when the arm and number was connected.


Main disks used in the crankshaft


Assembling the crankshaft


Testing the crankshaft and gears


Rods for numbers and boatman mounted

The numbers and tail fin and waves were cut on the scroll saw.


The fin

I was worried that the movement of the boatman would be tricky to get right. I thus made a prototype and found that it is actually straight forward. I replicated the boatman parts.


Boatman prototype


Stained gears, numbers and all the parts for the boatman


Boatman in action

After all the pieces was made some were stained. I coated all pieces with linseed oil and hope that it will help with protection against the elements. The whole whirligig was then assembled and tested.


All the parts except the windmill

The final step was to mount it. I found the center point of the whole assembly, drilled a hole and added some extra support. We went to the garden to find a spot that is reasonably open to the wind and visible from the road (since it is intended as a house sign).I planted a stake and drilled a hole in the top. The whole thing simply mounts on another dowel that fits into the stake and the bottom of the machine.


Planting the whirligig

Often my projects grow (in size and/or complexity) while I am in the process of building the parts (see also the dart board that I made). The whirligig was also one such project and has become more complex than it needed to be. I was a bit worried that this would be seen as a monstrosity whirling away in the front of our garden rather than a moving house sign. Currently, I think it looks fine.