Turn your old mainboard into... a laptop

An interesting idea for re-using the mainboard would be to pair it up with a lap dock. The only problem I could see in doing this, is that your mainboard would be connected to the rest of the set-up externally, and nobody wants that, so I was wondering if anyone knew if it would be possible to internally mount the framework mainboard to the nexdock 360. I would just like to clarify, that I don’t own a framework laptop yet, though I am considering getting one. As such, I would not be able to figure this out for myself, I am asking this simply for future reference. Any answers would be helpful. Just know, that I will probably take a long time to respond. Thanks!

Internally? No. There wouldn’t be room inside the nexdock 360’s case to hold a Framework mainboard. You can tell just by looking at the thickness of it.

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I see. Thanks for the reply! Didn’t think the conversation would end that quickly :sweat_smile:

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Still, the Nexdock would certainly be a good way to re-use your old mainboard.

Oops, sorry about that! :upside_down_face:
It’s just, that nexdock 360 is really thin. And part of the room needs to go to the keyboard and battery. Comparing to the thickness of a Framework-13, the nexdock looks a lot thinner to me.

The inverse might be a relatively easy product for Framework to create – a low-cost bare-bones mainboard without a CPU enabling use of it as a lap-dock. By most accounts Frameworks have nicer keyboards, touchpads, and screens that Nexdocks do, plus swappable ports and the option to convert it to a proper laptop later.

I have heard about that idea before on this forum, and I certainly do think it is a good one. Also, hi @danso, you seem to be a bit of a recurring character on my threads. That’s nice :grin:

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I was thinking those Chinese cheap low power laptops that are mostly empty inside, or things like a Pinebook, maybe could work?

There is surprisingly little space for activities in the pinebook pro once you install an m.2 ssd.

I was thinking you rip out the mainboard+carrier board and adapt it to use the Framework mainboard though.

The pinebook pro mainboard is quite a bit smaller than the framework mainboard but it could be possible, especially if you are cool with printing a custom bottom case or something. The pinebook pro is very thin.

Ah, I didn’t know that. Thanks. I remember there’s a project of someone trying to 3D print a chassis to make a rugged Thinkpad (keyboard and all).

I think this might kinda work? I prefer if we could 3D print with fibre-reinforced filaments but I prefer thin and light for my use case.

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I like the discussions going on here. Obviously, you can use your old mainboard as a desktop, or use it for all sorts of other projects, but I don’t think I have ever seen anyone just turn it into another laptop through any means. It’s an interesting idea, and I am glad to see other people be enthusiastic about it to! Thanks for the replies!

A nexdock is made to connect to a phone, or perhaps a tablet, I think?

So, if that framework main ooed got made/placed into a frametab, or frametab lite, enclosure,and then if software compatabilitywwas worked out, then yiu would have something that yiu could reasonably connected to a nexdock, externally, similar to how ankthwr device might be connected in, with the components(main board) being protected and looking more conventional, with outer cases and screens and so on.

Alternatively, Something like afrankenpad and similar cusom designs, as mentioned, are great too.

I’m not a maker, but now I’m thinking it may be possible for someone to make a RPi adapter to work inside a Framework 13 chassis…

If the FW chassis (13 and 16) become a laptop form factor defacto standard, it can be used as a shell or “case” for anything that needs a laptop form factor! Even other single board computers (for people who want to experiment with other ARM SoCs, as well as RISC-V).

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I’m thinking about doing something similar with a portable monitor with display port alt mode over usb c. Would anyone here know if portable monitors with DP would be able to supply enough power to the framework mainboard with a single cable. The nextdock supports 5v A1, but I’m not sure if that is the spec for the input or output. If anyone knows, would appreciate it. If not, no worries and have a good one!

I have a the 2nd gen Nexdock and if it does supply power, I doubt it’d be enough to power a laptop. Here’s a post of a user complaining their Nexdock 360 (the 3rd gen I believe) that can barely power their RPi4: Reddit - Dive into anything

Even on their site:
“Any other development board that does not require more than 3V5A of power.”