While I haven’t managed to take apart one of my expansion cards yet, I still definitely have a desire to make some addons for this computer. I’m not experienced with CAD, or even with this scale of DIY (at least not enough to do the prototyping required), but I definitely want to try my hand at it. On that note, is there any plans to offer an “empty” expansion card, with only the internal USB-C part included, so that we could make our own cards while still having them look like and be as durable as the first party ones? I think I could make, for example, a hidden dongle card (non-removable dongle at least) with my limited soldering knowledge, but before I plan to salvage another card i’d love to know if that’s a plan. This could also facilitate community “kits” where in addition to a blank card, people could offer a list of parts in order to teach fellow community members skills like soldering, 3d printing, etc, while also creating functional expansions in the process.
As much as making your own expansion cards is cool there is a few major risks, failure, magic smoke or you can even damage the unit by wiring up wrong, for example, you do not insulate it right and give the card 5V on the ground rail possibly shorting internal components out, or you attach 5V to the aluminum accidentally, boom 5V into the chassis. And what do you mean by the internal USB-C plug? Do you mean on a blank board soldered or on a breakout board?
I think a company such as shapeways (that will 3d print anything you want with many different materials) would be great for this. If you get an STL of a blank (not sure if with or without the usb-c connector as a dummy plug would be best), you could have it printed. I would think as long as you have the channels and hook like interface for securing it, you should be good to go. I would think if you wanted different purposes, such as, a micro-sd card holder, or some other kind of box-like device, you could have a lid that would easily pop open, or perhaps even slide out the side from below. Anyway, lots of options. Someone with a 3D printer may want to test the designs to begin with, or find someone or a print shop to test them. That would be a neat idea for expansion. Nice idea.
Personally, I came to look for exactly this. A “Blank” card that does nothing - as Framework recommends you buy 4 expansion cards, and if you don’t need all 4, having an empty slot with sharp edges isn’t very nice, it would be great to have a “filler” card that does nothing, just plugs into the slot and fills the space, preventing lint from getting into the port and crud from accumulating. Internally it could be just an empty box with the generic USB-C plug that “leads nowhere”. And if anyone wants to use it for DIY projects, they can just put whatever they want in the box, and solder0 it to the internal contacts of the USB-C. Or not, c’mon, it’s easy to lose MicroSD cards, a handy box for them as a module of the laptop would be great.
There is this
I think the best solution if it hasn’t already been mentioned is to just use a USB C module. They are just straight pass through and don’t trigger any kind of sleep issues. They cost $9 and I would wager are probably close to the cost of 3d printing your own, but these at least can still be used if needed.