Blank plate in place of input cover for Framework 13

I have searched for what is essentially an empty plate or component, something flat, to take the place of the entire input cover on the Framework 13 without any success so far, so if this is a duplicate, feel free to merge this into any relevant topic. If not and someone else has done this, feel free to link to the relevant information.

My idea, which I plan to have someone help me with, who can see and who can 3D print, is to replace the input cover with what is essentially a flat plate. This would contain the necessary threaded inserts for the bottom cover to screw it in place. The goal would be to use a Framework 13 without any input cover at all, with or without a display and anything associated with the top cover. The WIFI antennas could be routed through this plate somehow. There would be a way to activate the power button, via a button aligning with the power button on the mainboard, or a small pin hole for an SIM card eject tool to prevent accidental presses.

Does anyone have any starting points or ideas on this? I’ve been unable to find precise dimensions for the input cover, though I have read somewhere that someone thought it was 3.8MM in height. If I can’t find these specs, I’ll let the one assisting me use the Framework 13 and its input cover to create the 3D print.

Once this is complete, I do plan to open source it, though someone else might want to host the GitHub repository so they can see, and review, any appropriate pull requests or issues. this is something I can’t do.

I, personally, could see a few useful purposes for this idea, and I’m a bit surprised I can’t find it. A quick means of setting up a headless server with the battery attached to act as a UPS. If someone didn’t want the bother of using Framework’s input cover for some reason, they could use it in this way without one. And, for me personally, since I need no display, I’ll just remove it and set a wireless keyboard right on top of the Framework itself if I can successfully create this blank input cover plate.

thoughts, ideas, considerations?

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Oh I do really like this idea. As a mechanical keyboard user it would be nice to be able to connect a keyboard and place it on top of the laptop’s existing horizontal real estate, rather than in front of the trackpad.

As someone particularly interested in using a blank cover as just a platform for a separate keyboard, I think it would be useful to use something like this shim from Arya to be able to plug in a keyboard without using any of the Framework’s existing USB ports. Not sure if there’d be any considerable room to place one or two USB ports within the input cover though.

It depends on how the USB port is going to be positioned, and whether or not the input cover is to remain compatible with the top cover closing over it. Perhaps it could be done with USB-C.

It can be as high as you want if you delete the display anyway.

Apart from the battery bit isn’t that use case mostly already covered by the 3d printed or cooler-master standalone case? Pretty sure I have even seen a variation of the 3d printed case with space for the battery.

Why not go full custom case for whatever use case you had in mind at that point?

I’ve considered making a completely custom case, but this is mainly for ease of exchange with the input cover itself. Also, any custom cases that I’ve found don’t seem to include room for the battery and speakers, too. I did find a custom 3D case print with room for the battery, but nothing was said about including room for the speakers as well, and as I’m not able to see any of these custom cases and how they’ve been designed, I’ve got no idea how that might work. Finally, with my idea, the thought was to make a plate with the precise dimensions to completely replace the input cover, such that it would be flush with exactly where it is, and therefore, removing the display isn’t actually necessary, should someone still wish to use the display and webcam, but not the input cover itself.

If I can get an appropriately detailed design created, my final goal would be to have it machined rather than 3D printed, but creating a design that detailed is perhaps more ambitious and something beyond the abilities of my assistant’s help. It could be too expensive to do that, also, I’m not sure yet.

If that wasn’t a thing, it would be relatively easy add, the beauty of 3d printing is the flexibility. I personally keep forgetting laptop speakers are thing and they are usually the first thing to go if I need space for something inside.

But anyway, as it looks you’d mostly just need a mostly flat plate with a bunch of screw holes in the right place. That sounds relatively doable, you can skip the inserts for the first revisions and just screw straight into the plastic to save time prototyping. Adding the threaded inserts and magnets can be done at a later stage if you want to be fancy.

FYI a user on Reddit demonstrated that the Nuphy 60 mechanical keyboard can fit perfectly over the existing input cover with the keyboard’s feet aligning perfectly between the keys on the input cover. So that may be another way to place a keyboard over the existing horizontal real estate.

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So whenever the heavy mechanical keyboard wants to shift, you now have lateral force against edges of your keys. Looks like a good way to break your keys over time.

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Oh I own a Nuphy Air75. That one doesn’t align to the Framework 13 nearly as well as it seems to here.

As someone who did try using an Air75 like this, low-profile keyboards aren’t really going to be heavy enough to do some damage, even over time I’d reckon.

This is mostly a case of me wanting to plop down any sort of board, regardless of size or layout. That, and my Air75 made me realize I do really enjoy the full travel of a non-low-profile keyboard (as ironic as that sounds considering Cherry MX did used to be considered low profile!).

For anyone following this thread, here’s an update on the project.

The person assisting me with this idea was able to get precise dimensions for the input cover, but the bottom is more complex than I originally thought it would be. There are apparently some resessed areas that I was unaware of, since I have never actually felt an unattached input cover completely to get an idea of what it looks like. A flat plate might work if it was thin enough, but then some areas may not be supported and others would be, which could lead to other problems.

The prototype for my idea was slightly too thick compared to the input cover itself, which could unfortunately cause a problem with the top cover if closing over it over time. At the moment, this particular project is stalled, for me anyway. And, since I can’t see, I have no way of experimenting with different ideas like other developers could. No 3D printing for me, and while the person helping me said he might be able to try and 3D print it, he wasn’t sure that it would work out very well, given the bottom of the input cover and its unanticipated complexities.

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