Framework Tablet lite project (10.5" version of FW tablet)

Hello there, after doing some research, I decided that my project has gained enough shape to be shared so that anyone can follow and/or help with the development.

A little bit of backstory to get you bored enough (skip to … if not interested) - how did I get to this point:

I have ASUS TUF DASH F15 laptop with i5 11300H and RTX 3060 and it is kinda good and kinda bad at everything. Not enough performance for my gaming (3440x1440 144Hz kinda sucks with 3060), not enough portability for mobility (2KG + adapter still sucks to carry on my back if I commute on bicycle), no touchscreen (it sometimes comes in really handy for some of my work) and not comfortable for watching movies when sleeping.
I always had this idea of my endgame device, since the PDA age, of a docking one-for-all device, that would be as small as possible and as powerful as possible after docking. That would fulfill a role of a smartphone, tablet, laptop and desktop PC.
So I started browsing laptops with sufficient CPU performance, low weight and thunderbolt for eGPU. Problem is, that they were quite expensive and RAM was not upgradeable.
My friend was asking me if we could sometimes do a project and build a laptop, to which I always replied that it would suck as laptop motherboards are not very modular.

And then I remembered about framework.

I first wanted to print the existing DIY tablet, but the most popular 3D printer in my area is Prusa MK3S+ that can only do 25x21cm.
So in my head, the smaller version was being created. I asked about the third party displays, batteries and finally I have a basic idea.

… (skip to here)

So, the basic idea is to print a case that will not have space for speakers, expansion cards and use a smaller display. This is my V0.5 of the case that was made modifying mini PC and FW tablet projects (so credits to them). Not printed yet.

Dimensions: 243.5 x 209.5x12.5 (that is just the back case, without separating plate and without display).
Material: I would like to use ABS for its higher thermal ressistance compared to PLA
Display: 234x168x8 mm (outer dimensions) 10.5 inch IPS touchscreen 1920x1280 powered by USB C 5V2A, claimed 100% SRGB and 400+ nits brightness and there are many versions and rebrands, be cautious, some may not be touchscreens: : 10.5 inch touch IPS 1920x1280, or Wholesale 10.5 Inch Ips Hd Audio Output Aluminum Alloy Metal Touch Portable Monitor - Buy Portable Gaming Monitor,Gaming Display,Industrial Embedded Monitor Product on
Battery: framework original

Disclaimer: I did not buy nor print any part yet, I guarantee no compatibility with anything, this is just my personal thought for a project that in my opinion reached a stage that it can be published on this forum for others to follow and provide advice and experience.

Unsolved problems:

  • Obtaining a mainboard. First of all, I am from Slovakia, EU. Expensive shipping and some import fees, also tiny salaries so I am hunting for a good deal on used mainboard on ebay and local part stores (what a pity that I did not come up with this in April when FW was donating mainboards).
  • Wifi card - because it extends far past the mainboard, I may not be able to fit one into the case. May move the mainboard more to the left and there may be just enough space? Or use an extender flex cable and PCBs and mount it over the mainboard
  • Audio board - same problem as wifi board, but may not be needed as the display features both speakers and jack output. Idk about mic input and also a built in mic might be good, maybe I will make it thicker put speakers on top of battery if there is enough space.
  • Wifi antennas placement
  • Wear of the TB4/USB C connectors on the board - they may not have been meant for daily unplugging as there are the expansion cards to be “worn out” instead.
  • Display cable routing (Might move the mainboard to the left as far as possible to create space for routing the display cable and theoretically some space for the wifi card.)
  • Webcam (might just skip)
  • Case with keyboard, trackpad, hinges and possibly a PD powerbank, that would be for another project if I ever make this one happen, the idea is that it would feature hinges and two bars that would stick into holes in the tablet case + USB C for docking and charging. Given my lack of skills this may never happen.

Love this idea! a small tablet with the Framework parts is so interesting! Hope you’re able to make progress on it and share with the community! As for obtaining a mainboard, you might be able to find other users in Europe who could sell you used 11th gen mainboards after they upgrade to 12th gen?


I think this is unlikely to be an issue. Any USB C port from a major manufacturer of connectors is going to be built to reasonable standards. And USB C was not designed as a limited use internal connector, it was expected to see use & abuse. The parts that should be more likely to fail, the moving spring contacts and spring loaded retention hooks, are on the cable side.


Azure, that´s what I hope for. MJ1 thanks, I was only a bit concerned, because Linus said something about it in the review, but maybe he just critisized the inability of them to be replaced.

Display update: After talking to alibaba manufacturer (yeah, it seems that it is possible to buy a single item from alibaba), they seem to be able to ship the display in multiple versions: Non-touch (often found on amazon), Touchscreen with speakers on the back (good, but not very desireable as they will be covered by the mainboard assembly and there may be no other speakers in the tablet), then touchscreen with side mounted speakers and metal case (looks promising) and what is the most promising for me - caseless version - just the panel, controller board and wiring.
That would allow me to reduce thickness of the device because if my case is at least 12mm thick, their case is at least 8-10mm thick, then add some mounting plate in between and some shroud around and we are at 30mm thickness, which is less than desireable. Now if they ship only the components, I can make my case just thicker enough to be able to mount them. I hope to make it 20mm thick or less. I honestly have a bit of hope that this will become my daily driver and therefore want to design it in a practically usable way.

EDIT: Display ordered from here: Wholesale 10.5 Inch Ips Hd Audio Output Aluminum Alloy Metal Touch Portable Monitor - Buy Portable Gaming Monitor,Gaming Display,Industrial Embedded Monitor Product on - I ordered it without metal case, without adapter, without HDMI and one USB C cable, it costs 88 USD + shipping + tax (so 150 eur for me because EU). That means only panel, boards, wiring and speakers will arrive. Seller confirmed that it will work via single type-C cable.

Wifi update: One possibility certainly is to use an extender cable and board for the wireless card. But I am also thinking about permanently attaching USB hub inside the case. That means, the TB4 ports would be accessible only from one side, on the other side there would be a display permanently plugged in and a hub permanently plugged in, providing a variety of connectors and internally, one USB port would be occupied by a USB wifi module. It would provide less signal strength than a module with dedicated antennas, but for me wifi range doesn´t matter too much and the advantage of having USB type-A ports embedded sounds very good, as well as not having to bother with extending the second m.2 (wifi) slot.


aah … I’d actually love for the idea of a touchscreen 2-in-1 tablet. Although, I also want big screen and numpad.
Massive 15’ tablet? Maybe. I might have to try them in the local Dell shop.


Nope, I’m pretty sure NRP clarified and said they went with the lower-strength connector, it should be at least 500 or so cycles.


Wow, that’s very unfortunate for projects like this. I really hope that changes on the next mainboard.
Would you happen to recall where NRP said that?


I had this feeling because Framework never advertised their motherboard ports for direct use, always just with the expansion cards, they must have a reason for that, so with 500 cycles, you are just confirming that. In that case, in order to absolutely minimize the cycles:

  1. Display will be plugged in permanently in the right side port, so one TB port is safe
  2. For the other TB port on the right side, I will use a permanently attached USB hub OR dock with multiple ports that will be also embedded into the case
  3. For charging, I will try to use a magnetic magsafe-like adapter, that means the TB port will not be plugged and unplugged
    Only the fourth TB port remains, which I have planned for use with eGPU and for this one, I will just have to be very careful. Also now that I count everything, I should probably use a dock/dongle and not just a hub, because otherwise there will be no thunderbolt left for connecting the ethernet adapter, card reader etc. unless I unplug the eGPU or charging.
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The USB-C receptacles on the Mainboard are rated to 10,000 cycles for functionality (like most USB-C receptacles), and 1,000 cycles for keeping within the in-spec removal force range (also like most USB-C receptacles). The main thing to be careful of is not torquing the connector, since normally the laptop chassis and Expansion Card prevent that from occurring.


/Mic drop

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So far not much progress, I will receive my display on monday so I can move on with the design of the case a little bit, but I am still not successful in sourcing a mainboard for a reasonable price. I am hoping to get some 3D print samples mid december and mainboard latest january (one redditor, member of FW community will fly from canada to my country, so if I don´t get a mainboard by that time in SK, he/she will bring me). But having the display will definitely be a step forward in case design.


Not quite in the sense it is not Framework, but worth a look OH! and only 10.1" :cry:


May I ask how is it modular? Meaning the SBC inside can be replaced with maybe Pine64’s RK3588 SBC?

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You can just follow the links to find out more ? ?

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Big news - Framework very kindly offered to provide a mainboard for my tablet project! The news made my day, week, Christmas! Hopefully the shipping and everything will be OK and it reaches me safely. Fingers crossed!

So about the display, it is 230x162x3.5 mm and thickest places are where connectors are, 6,5mm thick in total. That means the tablet will be much thinner than if I ordered the display with full enclosure, just like the original FW tablet creator did, but will be more difficult to design a case for. On the pics, Macbook Pro 13" 2014 for scale. Yeah, the tablet will not be huge, hopefully. One interesting thing is, that the display board features a mini-HDMI input aside from the Type-C input that I will be using, so with a bit of extra case engineering and an adapter, it would be possible to implement a full sized HDMI input to make the tablet usable as external display if such need arises. Although chances of me putting extra hours into that function are pretty low, at least now when I am thinking how much work is still ahead.

About the case, I am considering 3 designs. The first iteration was the original FW tablet, just cut out the place for expansion cards and made a little more compact to fit the 3D printer. But that would result in about 50% display coverage of the front of the device and a cable sticking out of the machine (because you can´t really make the device smaller than 24x20cm because that is just mainboard and battery as close as possible to each other and the display is 23x16 cm including the display bezel).

So the second desing I started working on was moving the whole mainboard to the left as far as possible, creating 1cm of extra space, hoping to get a small, L-shaped type-C cable to avoid making an uneven shape just to accomodate the display cable. But the problem is, that it will still only have about 58% display on the front side. There would be about 1cm bezel + 3 extra cm of just plastic on the bottom.

So one thing I will try before I start working on details of the design is a layout where mainboard and battery would somewhat overlap and try to make it 25cm wide, but shorter, maybe 16.5-17cm instead of 20. I will see what works best, because I also want to target 2cm or lower thickness and at some point I will have to decide whether the device should be thinner but larger, funny looking with small display or thicker, but shorter.

The battery would be under the mainboard (or over) just enough to let it properly breathe. I am not sure though if such design is possible and safe (heat from CPU would likely reach the battery). So I am just writing it there to hear your opinions.

Just a very quick screenshot to show how small is the screen part of the display versus the entire tablet area on the second design (but may be the only working one in the end, will see) - it is missing the cover plate, I just put the display (with bezel and original display case = not accurate, but screen size is realistic) above the lower case:

In the design 3, I would like to make the width and length about the same as the display with original display case, but I am not sure how thick it would become.

Amoun, thanks for the info about the tablet, unfortunately that is very much unlike what I need, but surely helpful to people who seek tablet and not tablet-sized desktop :slight_smile:


Congratulations! You live in SK, Slovakia, right?

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Guys, is there anyone from LetMeRepair GmbH, Germany?

So I received many Christmas gifts:
Framework board arrived after a little delay with the customs, fan wasn´t spinning, turns out they sent me some board that they found in the office that may not have been intended for sale, after consulting documentation and confirming with Framework (I am not sure if I can name the people, have a weird feeling about it), I re-soldered the contacts according to the publicly available scheme and fan started working very well. Plus side, it´s 1135G7 so I get some extra performance for the tablet! So one big thanks again to the Framework team!

Immediately after making the board work, I continued the case design and figured out that in order to test the smaller form factor option, I will need a battery physically, because otherwise I don´t know exactly how can I bend or move the battery cable.

Here comes the second, very unexpected donor - LetMeRepair GmbH, Germany. Today morning I received a package, which was very mysterious as I expected no deliveries. Inside was an i5 1135G7 mainboard and most importantly, the battery! So if you are someone from this forum, my big thanks to you, LetMeRepair! I have no clue where did you/they get my address from (which is slightly concerning, because either my address is very public or I have some dementia and forgot about sending someone my address) but I am very glad because nothing ever came at better timing than this package!

About the boards, I am very good at maths and therefore I figured that I have one extra board. I would like to provide the donor of the 1135G7 options what will be done with it (I assume the donor from LetMeRepair reads this forum, because here I explained I am in need of a battery and mainboard):

Option 1 - keep it for a second project (I teach a voluntary IT subject at school in my free time where I guide kids through projects such as unreal engine, video editing, PC building etc., so I thought we could use it and design something depending on their abilities, could be a simple mini-PC (such as the one existing, but without the expansion cards to allow printing on a small printer) or something steamdeck-like, of course publishing documentation for others to print as well when done.

Option 2 - If there is someone in EU working on an interesting project and is in need of a board such as I was, I could give the board further.

Option 3 - return it

Option 4 - anything that comes to your mind

Thanks again for all the support, I honestly didn´t think I would get a single screw as I missed the Framework´s April donation programme. Now I have bought or received basically all main parts of the tablet - mainboard, display, SSD, RAM, eGPU (all except 3D printed parts, some extra RAM, USB hub etc. - stuff I can source locally with ease)!


LetMeRepair is Frameworks repair/return partner for the EU.


That makes sense, although makes me wonder why did I receive two then. I will go with option 1 if there is no further input.

I have successfully tested 90% of the tablet on a very improvised testbench, meaning the display, battery, board, eGPU, charger etc. work together well. I also tested the concept of the battery being over/under the mainboard. Battery under the mainboard is a bad idea, because it heavily restricts the airflow. Battery over the mainboard seemed to be a bad idea as well, because there is heat coming from the CPU and batteries don´t like heat.

But I really want the tablet to be small. I placed a 1mm thick insulation layer between the mainboard and the battery (compressed cardboard for now and foam stickers on the CPU heatpipes, I am very open to suggestion for a better material) and it works quite well, battery surface temperature did not exceed 35 degrees celsius after 20min CPU stress test. I will have to do some more severe stress testing such as 2hr CPU load while battery is charging etc., but initial measurements indicate that the battery temperature will not be an issue as long as there is some insulation layer.
Surprisingly, the hottest part (of the insulation layer) was the part that touched the SSD, not the CPU (as the layer of cardboard did not make any contact with the CPU heatpipes and the gen4 SSD can produce a lot of heat, while touching the insulation layer directly). I put some thermal pads between the mainboard and the SSD to hopefully bring the temps down, because the poor guy needs some cooling. On top, I should put the same foam stickers as on the CPU heatpipes so that there is an extra air layer.

That would bring the dimensions of the tablet to about 249,5 x 170 mm compared to original 249,5x209,5 and the estimated thickness will be about 22mm (in terms of making it thin, the board seems to require only 2mm headroom on the bottom, the most outstanding parts being the fan screws, 2mm being much less headroom than other projects accounted for. If everything goes as planned, the tablet will be pretty packed). Meaning the bezels around the active display area will be 5mm on bottom and top and 10mm on the sides. These are estimates based on how I put everything together on a testbench, but seem very promising at least for me.

You may ask - why I do not 3D print anything yet - that part will be done with my friend and he is very busy right now, so I am trying to do as much as possible without 3D printing. Anyway, for the 3rd time, I am designing the tablet from scratch, so there is again nothing to be printed anyway :slight_smile: Will post screenshots when I advance with the V3 design (with battery on top of the mainboard) - just started it today.

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@Surja_Knap Have you considered dropping to a gen3 SSD? The reduction in performance likely won’t be too noticeable but ideally would yield improved battery/thermal performance.

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