Assembling Mainboard into ThinkPad

To start off I want to say how much I like the idea of the Framework laptop and their mission, but I can’t leave ThinkPad yet. I currently have a ThinkPad T480s and I love it, also some of the features it has I really rely on. So I had the idea of putting the Framework mainboard, battery, and speaker into a ThinkPad chassis. I plan to take measurements of my laptop to create a ruff CAD model of the design. I plan to use the existing screen from the ThinkPad, as Dylan_Evans went over in his post about converting 30pin DP to 40pin DP. I hope to be able to use Harley_Godfrey’s PCB to convert the ThinkPad keyboard to the Framework board, as explained in their post. I don’t currently have a plan for the ports, but can probably figure out a solution later. Side note after taking some measurements, I don’t think the battery and mainboard would fit in the T480s, but it might fit in the thicker version T480 or T490.

I am currently a broke highschooler who can’t afford a main board, so this is just a concept, but I hope some day to complete my goal, or someone will continue with my idea. I do realize that it kind of defeats the purpose of the laptop, because the one component that is now upgradable is the Mainboard, but I feel its a good middle ground. I hope y’all can expand on this idea and maybe make your own versions.



What features would that be, I don’t really see anything I can do on my t480s that I can’t on the framework.

Alternatively you could upgrade your thinkpad to the 1440p screen, that one has the same connector and pinout as the framework.

Thanks for asking questions and replying. Also I wanted to saying I would still consider a Framework I just would rather have a Thinkpad currently.

I really like and use the track point daily, I have found to really like it after using it for a while. It’s particularly useful while doing CAD or light Gaming. I also like the matte black design of the ThinkPad, I am not a fan of silver. The keyboard is one of my favorites, it’s the first laptop keyboard I like typing on and has a tactile feel. But also I have never tried the Framework so I might love their keyboard as well.

Thanks for the suggestions I didn’t realize that a 1440p screen would fit the Thinkpads chassis, that would be a nice upgrade over 1080p.

Alright yeah that part is indeed missing, I never got into the whole track-point thing but if you need it you are indeed boned.

I put a dbrand skin on my framework, looks pretty sweet but I am also not a huge fan of the aluminum design in general.

Wile the framework keyboard is a lot worse than the old-school think-pad keyboard compared to the t480s one it isn’t that much worse, then again that is always a matter of taste. My personal favourite is still for some reason the one on the x260.

You do also need a different display cable. Also don’t get tempted to put an oled in there just cause it fits, been there, done that, blew up the main-board XD (I mostly fixed it but still would not recommend).

The t480s is still a very solid machine so you should probably be fine with it for quite a while as long as your workload isn’t too heavy.

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Can relate to the second paragraph, first sentence at least. Interesting idea, and i’d be quite curious to know what your solution would be for the IO.

That’s a good question, I was thinking you could take apart a usb-c adapter and hot glue each port to the location in the Thinkpads chassis. Not sure how well it would work, it was just an idea. You could either just have the four ports or use a adapter as I said before.

Wit a few custom pcbs you could probably get relatively good fit (and mostly match or improve on the original io), though modding a thinkapd keyboard in a framework may be the easier route there XD.

Didn’t think about custom PCBs but that’s a good idea