Rasti laptop inspired by sci-fi classic 'Aliens' -- uses Framework motherboard and 3D printed chassis

Rasti Computer
(Image credit: Penk Chen)

Maker and creator Penk Chen has revealed the Rasti Computer on GitHub (h/t Hackaday), which is described as a “retro-futuristic laptop inspired by the iconic GRiD Compass.” Though the outside looks thoroughly vintage, the inside of the Rasti Computer is strictly modern: parts include a Framework 13 mainboard and a 10.4-inch QLED touch display. Moreover, access to a 3D printer will be required to achieve the finished product as seen.

If you have seen or experienced older laptops or even luggables, you will be well aware that the sleek clamshell form factor that is almost omnipresent today took some time for device makers to achieve. The Rasti Computer has the design of an older laptop style most commonly seen back in the 1980s. Specifically, the Rasti is claimed to be inspired by a cinematic icon – the GRiD Compass laptop that was seen in action in the classic Aliens: Director’s Cut.

Under the retro styling, there is, thankfully, lots of modern tech inside this maker project. Penk has used a Framework 13 mainboard, battery, wireless antenna module, and a Waveshare 10.4-inch QLED touch display.

The maker is also quite proud of the integrated keyboard. A good keyboard on a laptop is essential for portable productivity, and Penk has implemented a custom mechanical keyboard using Choc Low Profile switches here. The keycap set was also tailor-made for this project. Interestingly, the 64-key layout keyboard required a Pi Pico controller to deliver its intended functionality. If you find the keyboard particularly attractive, you might be happy to know that you can find a wired desktop version on a dedicated GitHub project page.

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On his Twitter / X account, Penk shared a video of the newly constructed Rasti laptop in operation. Happy with the system, its performance, and its feel, the maker chirped, "It's solid; I'm gonna make it my daily drive!"

The last major ingredient of the Rasti laptop is the array of 3D-printed parts necessary to realize a practical portable device. Editable STEP files and 3D printable STL files for the case are available via the project page. All the parts are designed for a 30cm square print bed, and a 1.00mm nozzle with 0.5mm layer height is recommended for the output.

A GitHub project page dedicated to the Rasti Computer, including a list of parts and 3D printer file downloads, is linked in the intro. At the time of writing, build instructions are still being worked upon, but they are "coming soon."

Mark Tyson
Freelance News Writer

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.