Idea: Framework Thunderbolt HUB

Hi guys, I am looking for a Thunderbolt Hub to connect my laptop with a single cable and access (all my) peripherals like monitor, audio interface, external drives, and n other stuff…

However, by looking for the right HUB on the market it feels like you always have to compromise. For example I don’t need Ethernet, or DP, instead a Card Reader would be nice, or more USB-C ports for example.

So, I thought I’ll come here and share the idea of upgradable modular multi-stack Thunderbolt HUB where you could add your own modules into it.

I guess it would be nice if the modules could be framework laptop compatible :wink:


There is a Megathread for this topic that you might want to join.

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Hmmmmmmm… Creative juices are flowing…

A long thin PCB, with USB-C females mounted vertical and perpendicular, spaced expansion card width apart?


(Please pardon my horrible drawing skills.)

So you could stick a bunch of expansion cards onto it and effectively create a dock?

It’d be a bit clunky, but maybe in a nice enclosure…

Or something lower profile, where the cards are horizontal. Could have two rows of 4…

Something along those lines, Boris?


@Jake_Richter That’s a wonderful idea. I did download some PCB software recently. Maybe I’ll try my hand at building a prototype.

Ok, this is what I have in mind.
This is basically a dock which is modular and extendable. It supports the framework modules. And it can be extended by stacking docks, which in turn could be anything else like an eGPU.

This is actually what you @Jake_Richter suggested, just in an other design. Because I think it would be awesome if the dock could be extended with PCIe Cards (Audio, Video etc.)
It may require additional Thunderbolt connections though.


If Framework made one I’d be interested.

The modular concept reminds me of the Thunderbolt SanDisk ProDock 4


@Twocuddlefish yeah, thats a great example!


I created an account here to suggest exactly this, but then found this thread!
I’ve looked at pretty much all thunderbolt docks available and none of them give everything that I want/need but also much of them have many features and ports that I don’t need at all!

Things that I think would be useful:

Option to be bus powered or have 100w PD from external powersupply.
* Displaylink display outputs.
* non-Displaylink display outputs (for direct access to gpu for things like g-sync).
* 2.5g Ethernet.
* Usb-A hub.
* Thunderbolt daisychainer (passthrough port?)

I really hope Framework can create a modular Thunderbolt hub/dock. that would be amazing!


@Boris_Kotov I was just formulating this idea tonight. I see I’m not the first one to think of it. Nice drawing. :+1:

Maybe it would be nice I think it would be good to include a built-in USB-PD port for power input on the opposite side from the cable. Since a common use case would be to have this device serve as a docking station. I think the positioning would be nicer, and it would conserve the other slots.


Should this thread be merged with this other thread? Hub for expansion cards - #9 by Glommando

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@bmcdonnell thanks! This is btw just the illustration of a very abstract idea. I think a “near” real-world design needs real work.

The main topics are power, data, form factor.

If you make only the base station powered and let all “blocks” consume power from it, it might be not enough for power hungry applications like eGPU or audio units or what ever. If you make all the blocks have their own power then its definitely flexible but it also makes each block expensive. I guess there should be an option for custom power for each block if needed. (If you want integrate a coffee machine into your framework hub)

The same goes for the form factor. If you make it too small then it cannot be extended with third-party blocks which require more space. And if you make it too big it might get unattractive for some.

And data, yeah the question is, should there be a custom in between connection from block to block or a traditional daisy chain thunderbolt usb-c connection.

So there are many questions to figure out.

I think its a good idea

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