Homebuilt "Laptop"

Hello all
After building a couple computers for myself, my brother, and two friends, I thought, "Wouldn't it be great if I could build a laptop?"
Alas, after searching, I have come to realize that laptop construction is rather trickier than desktop construction.
So, after a little while of thinking, I came across the idea of a sort of homebuilt laptop.
What I think I will try to do is buy an aluminum security briefcase(a large one, probably 17.5" x 4" x 13" at the least- though something deeper than 4" would be ideal)

Unfortunately, this is not more than a vague concept at the moment. Obviously there will be difficulties with cutting out vent and optical drive areas in the briefcase, with airflow, etc.
I'm thinking of going with a micro ATX board, though I can't seem to find quite the right one, a 2.5 inch 750 gb Momentus XT SSD hybrid, some 40 mm cooling fans, etc.

Any and all suggestions and critiques for parts, design, etc. are greatly appreciated. :)
10 answers Last reply
More about homebuilt laptop
  1. you can purchase a barebones laptop and then add components yourself...
  2. i second nhasian also sager allows laptops that can be taken apart and have components added although if you want a home built laptop as a pet project then i wish hte best of luck to you. also upload it to youtube thats always nice that way we can all see what you made
  3. Yeah...
    But where's the fun in that? ;)
  4. Don't underestimate the problem of batteries and power also.
  5. Yea powering the thing is going to be the biggest issue, unless you buy a 17" laptop and use the guts from it into your custom case, this would be the easy solution.

    Assuming you can solve the power issue, if you use a smaller style keyboard in it you will have some decent room between the top of the keyboard and where the screen is, that would the the perfect place for a few fans to help with cooling.

    | ^^screen^^ |
    | |
    | Fan Fan Fan Fan |
    | vv Keyboard vv Keyboard |
  6. I can't really imagine your laptop having batteries unless you jerry rig something expensive. Have you looked into modern electronic toys (miniature electric cars, hobbyist things). Or you can just make it a portable desktop replacement that requires electronic outlet.

    I'm most curious about how you intend to put in an monitor. Do you intend to grab one from another laptop or get an actual monitor and adapt it somehow.
  7. sounds all to getto for me.

    sorry but that is neither portable or practicable

  8. or this
  9. FinneousPJ said:
    Don't underestimate the problem of batteries and power also.

    That will be an issue I'll have to deal with. Maybe Macgyver something with regular laptop batteries? :??:

    I think I'll use a regular, albeit laptop sized, monitor with the stand removed, then mount an attachment to the inside of the case. Ideally, it could slip aside to make room for papers, chargers, etc., but that may be too optimistic in terms of spacing.

    Hugostiglitz- Both of those would work- they just need a little more effort. Replace the first's monitor with a larger one, fit a keyboard in there, replace the hard drives with, say, a Momentus XT(or perhaps just an SSD- the bumps a briefcase computer would have to endure on a day to day basis might require that), and follow Jim's suggestion in regards to cooling(though perhaps with vents to cover the fans up?), and you'd have a relatively nice looking briefcase computer.

    And imagine the fun that would ensue as you mentioned that you needed to email someone some documents and pulled out your briefcase to reveal a fully functioning computer! :lol:
  10. Chris75 said:
    That will be an issue I'll have to deal with. Maybe Macgyver something with regular laptop batteries? :??:

    I would go with LiPo batteries from hobby stores, quite common for electric model planes/helicopters. You might end up needing multiple batteries and chargers in parallel to meet desktop-level power requirements if you want the thing to run on batteries for more than a few minutes.

    If you take a PC LCD apart, many use ~18VDC to power their CCFL backlight and the rest can be fed off 5V/3.3V supplies, which would enable you to ditch the LCD's PSU... baclkight connected to the ~18V LiPo pack through a control MOSFET to emulate the original PSU's on/off state, the rest to your DC-DC converter(s), which may shave a pound and a few watts off a stock LCD display.
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