PLANKuter: The LattePanda Powered Maker Laptop

LattePanda
(Image credit: Protolino)

It’s no secret that we here at Tom’s Hardware love SBCs. Though our usual goto board is the Raspberry Pi, today we’ve got an exciting LattePanda 3 Delta project to share with you. This creation comes to us from Protolino and is dubbed the PLANKuter. According to Protolino, it’s a mix between a cyberdeck and a normal PC with a LattePanda Delta 3 x86 computer powering the operation.

It’s designed to look like a laptop with a lid that opens and closes. The top of the lid has a built in screen. We aren’t exactly sure what model of screen is being used but it appears to have an LVDS connector between the base of the laptop and the screen. The LattePanda 3 Delta does have a Display connector, but this could also be from an HDMI display control board. For input, PLANKuter is fitted with an OLKB PLANCK 40% mechanical keyboard (the source of the PLANK in PLANKuter it seems). The keyboard sits flush with a building platform where a breadboard can be placed.

Under the keyboard is a drawer that extends outward and has a small support piece to hold it upright. This drawer can be filled with maker goodies like wires, modules, etc, for tinkering on the go. The back of the laptop has a special holder for a TS80P soldering iron complete with replaceable nibs. The TS80P almost made it on to our list of best soldering irons, just beaten by the Miniware TS101. The PLANKuter housing was designed from scratch using CAN and is 3D printed, perhaps using one of the best 3D printers.

The unit features a 100Wh battery consisting of 18650 cells arranged in a 4S2P configuration. The battery is connected to two 5A buck converters for powering the machine and delivering power to a USB Type-C port and USB Type-A port. It also supplies power to the soldering iron.

One thing that’s special about the LattePanda 3 Delta is that it has an integrated Arduino MCU. This makes it possible to program projects using built-in GPIO. The PLANKuter takes full advantage of this feature by making the GPIO accessible from the top of the unit. Between the drawer full of components and the GPIO access, the PLANKuter is seemingly a maker's dream laptop.

If you want to read more about this project, check out the official PLANKuter project page over at Hackaday. You get get a closer look at the latest LattePanda, the LattePanda Sigma in our recent episode of The Pi Cast over at YouTube in which Les shows off the board up close. We also have a list of Raspberry Pi projects if you’re interested in other SBC-related creations.

Ash Hill
Freelance News and Features Writer

Ash Hill is a Freelance News and Features Writer with a wealth of experience in the hobby electronics, 3D printing and PCs. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting while also finding the best coupons and deals on all tech.