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back to article Bloke hews plywood Raspberry Pi tablet

It's a tip of the hat today to Michael Castor, who caught our eye with his attractive fusion of plywood, carbon fibre and Raspberry Pi, dubbed the "PiPad". Top view of the PiPad Michael's plan was to build an "all-in-one system that was usable, portable, and Linux-based", but which also "had to look good". Furthermore, it …

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"it needed to be sufficiently innocuous for in-flight use"

Good luck with that !

If you open it up, the insides look enough like a home made bomb to scare the crap out of any TSA agent...

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Re: "it needed to be sufficiently innocuous for in-flight use"

> the insides look enough like a home made bomb

Nah. The highly skilled and extremely motivated folks at the TSA are all fully aware that *any* bomb has curly wires leading to the explosives and a red LED count-down display.

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Re: "it needed to be sufficiently innocuous for in-flight use"

and at least you can open it up...

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Re: "it needed to be sufficiently innocuous for in-flight use"

http://xkcd.com/651/

"It's OK, dear. In a moment he'll realize I have a good point and return my water... Hey! You can't arrest me if I prove your rules inconsistent!"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "it needed to be sufficiently innocuous for in-flight use"

Curly wires, lantern battery, alarm clock with the bells on top, and the mandatory block of marzipan.

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Re: "it needed to be sufficiently innocuous for in-flight use"

The highly skilled and extremely motivated folks at the TSA are all fully aware that *any* bomb has curly wires leading to the explosives and a red LED count-down display.

Along with, as we were informed by Sherlock, the all important off switch (which seemed to be a vital could not be omitted part of a bomb that is detonated by remote control but which curiously still had a 2 minute red LED countdown before exploding)

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Re: "it needed to be sufficiently innocuous for in-flight use"

yeh I just watched that last night...

it's 'how stupid people think clever people think' tv isn't it.

the remote detonation thought no mobile signal... the LED countdown, the off switch...

you sort of wonder how the folk writing the script for this kind of stuff have grown to adult size, without natural selection mowing them down crossing a road, sticking their fingers in a power socket or falling off a cliff ('oh...THATs what gravity does).

I seen to remember the last series not being quite as fuckwitted, but I might just be a year more grumpy.

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Unhappy

Re: "it needed to be sufficiently innocuous for in-flight use"

"If you open it up, the insides look enough like a home made bomb to scare the crap out of any TSA agent..."

And then they will sit on you.

And you won't like that.

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Happy

Re: "it needed to be sufficiently innocuous for in-flight use"

"Nah. The highly skilled and extremely motivated folks at the TSA are all fully aware that *any* bomb has curly wires leading to the explosives and a red LED count-down display."

I think you've just given me an idea for my next screen saver.

Naturally all it does when it hits zero is to re cycle back to whatever it was set to.

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Re: "it needed to be sufficiently innocuous for in-flight use"

> the all important off switch

I'd want an off-switch too. You don't know how far you can throw it when you touch two wires you shouldn't during construction. It should be taken out (or disabled) at deploy-time though, or direct-connected to the detonator. "Ah, there's the Off swi..[BOOM!!].

> bomb that is detonated by remote control but which curiously still had a 2 minute red LED countdown

A timer backup in case a dead receiver battery/signal blocker etc kills the remote trigger is a sensible design choice IMO. An LED display is a bit showy though.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "it needed to be sufficiently innocuous for in-flight use"

I've taken some unusual stuff through security quite often - custom pc boards for interfacing with servo drives, servo amplifiers, etc; things I don't trust to check through - and the worst that's happened is I've been asked to explain what it is. By the time I get to 'PID loop' they're usually convinced.

The only time I've had a bag searched is when I carried a wrapped-up bundle of hinges, which as far as I'm concerned is precisely the kind of thing that they ought to take a look at if they're going to look at anything. The only evidence of it was a note saying they'd looked; they were wrapped back up and nothing was out of place.

I know that it's customary to only put horror stories on the internet, to ensure that everyone things the world is as terrible as possible, but unfortunately I haven't got one despite having spent a year flying all over the world with strange electronics in my carry-on. Oh well!

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Re: it's 'how stupid people think clever people think' tv isn't it.

ha! I used that exact phrase to my fanboy colleague :) he wasn't happy ...at all. :D

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Re: "it needed to be sufficiently innocuous for in-flight use"

You got lucky. On my last trip, the TSA took an interest in my first aid kit and emptied then scattered the contents through my checked bag. They did leave a note. I guess they wanted me to know that it was them and not just a baggage handler looking for stuff to sell on eBay.

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Good work.

The only tablet in the world to sport a full size usb, parrallel IO, and a wooden bevel. Nice. Looks like you could just about fit another of those batteries in though, turned 90°, you'd have squeeze the 3:1 usb device under the ribbon cable though.

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Re: Good work.

And how much would that weigh?

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Headmaster

Re: parrallel IO

That's the GPIO pins, not a parallel port.

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Re: parrallel IO

Ah, GPIO is it, something in my brain told me it wasn't a parallel port when I typed it, but no other type of port was provided by said brain at the time. Pity there isn't some sort of information super highway I could have accessed to tell me things I've forgotten. Never mind.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: parrallel IO

> Ah, GPIO is it, something in my brain told me it wasn't a parallel port when I typed it

He's got a spare internal USB port and space on the frame so the fitting of a parallel port would be eminently possible.

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I see space for a speaker, but no speaker... Headphones/Line-out only?

It looks really good. Genuinely impressed.

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Coat

Love the hinges

But what happens if it "flops open"? Could mean you get raspberry stains everywhere.

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Re: Love the hinges

The hinges are what (in my opinion) take it from a classic garden shed project, to a truly inspired and innovative leap in tablet design philosophy. Other tablet manufacturers should immediately add this feature to all subsequent designs :)

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Great Craftmanship

Well done.

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Coat

Tree mendous...

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We did question his use of plywood

Much maligned for being cheap and nasty however it is extremely strong, usually does not warp or crack and is an excellent choice for what he did especially as he had some lying around, that's often the best choice.

If he does make one from an exotic wood I hope he uses a more efficient method to cut the frame, that router wasted more wood than was left.

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Re: We did question his use of plywood

Yup, it's a great material. One of my bass guitars is made of plywood (it's a Japanese clone of a Rickenbacker 4001) and the only way you'd know without disassembling it is if you look inside the bridge pickup cavity. As you say, it doesn't warp since it's made from layers of thin veneer, whereas solid wood can warp and crack as it dries out with age. This is particularly true nowadays, as well seasoned wood is very expensive - hence the use of MDF or soft woods like pine.

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J P

Re: We did question his use of plywood

A friend who builds rollcages for competition cars recently had to contact the MSA to check how to proceed when installing a rollover hoop to a vintage car with 19mm ply floor - standard MSA regs call for welding the cage to the floor. The MSA confirmed that all you have to do is bolt the plates in rather than weld them; the wooden floor is actually stiffer & more resilient than the pressed steel in moderns.

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Re: We did question his use of plywood

Nothing wrong with plywood, just remember the Mosquito fighter/ bomber/everything else from WW2

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Re: We did question his use of plywood

I will continue to malign cheapo Chinese plywood.

Here in Canada our mighty leaders have determined that the best way to grow our economy is to ship raw logs to China, then ship the finished plywood back for use here.

It IS cheap, but as if often the case with Chinese products, you get what you pay for.

When we painted the stuff the top veneer BUBBLED.

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Re: We did question his use of plywood

The Spruce Goose!!

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Re: We did question his use of plywood

"That router wasted more wood than was left" He should have just bought a router from Netgear, etc. instead of crafting his own :P

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Anonymous Coward

Re: We did question his use of plywood

I guess the plywood that comes back is not from the raw logs that went out. One boatbuilder suggested that the inner layers of Chinese plywood are made of blotting paper.

There is some excellent Malaysian stuff, though.

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Can be easily serviced

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Why did he use carbon fibre at the back? He'd surely have knocked off $150 off the total build cost for that? It may have even looked a bit better being in an all wooden case.

But fair play to the man, it's inspiring. I'm on eBay as we speak looking for a cheap 10" touchscreen....

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

I think he had the piece lying about, so no extra cost there.

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WTF?

He'd surely have knocked off $150 .....

Bloody hell where do you buy yours from? You may want to find another supplier!

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Re: Carbon fibre

Of course a cheaper alternative is good old Fibre glass.....if you are even remotely more skilled than me, as I tend to get more stuck to my body parts than the mould.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Carbon fibre

In fact in many cases carbon fibre is now cheaper than glass fibre. It is so much stiffer that a lot less can be used, and the big saving is in epoxy.

(I deleted my original post because someone downvoted it and I couldn't work out why.)

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Happy

Re: Carbon fibre

...have just upvoted to make you feel better...

( Fiver to the usual mail-drop of course )

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Joke

rounded corners

... a member of the legal profession will be along presently...

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Mushroom

Since it's portable it looks to me like there's a risk of the components moving around inside the case. Can I therefore suggest some white Play-Doh to fill the gaps.

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Pint

Brilliant idea!

Love the idea of having a wooden case. I have some birch plywood lying around which should be great for such a casing. Now to find a CNC router.

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Re: Brilliant idea!

The thing to do - apparently - is to build your own computer controlled router. Plenty of open source (plans and programs) projects out there.

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Re: Now to find a CNC router

It shouldn't be too hard to make that sort of thing with an ordinary plunge router and a couple of templates.

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Coat

He said...

hard wood....

I'll get my coat...

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Joke

....

Man gets soft wood around Pi.

Raspberry owners all ask to see if he'll get hard next time.

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Re: .... @Danbo

Not only NOT funny but factually incorrect.

Once you've learned to recognize your birch from quite a long way away you should then learn that it is a hardwood.

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Mushroom

Re: .... @Danbo

@Chris W. You certainly know your trees. Don't get lost in the woods now while you check out those trees.....It'll be a shame if you didn't come back and share more of your factual but unfunny posts.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Re: .... @Danbo

Gents, I'm bringing down the gavel (walnut, in case you're wondering) on this spat. I think commentards falling out over timber is an El Reg first.

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Re: .... @Danbo

^^^

Probably best. We could get a plaque made up about it being an El Reg 1st.

Not sure what it could be made out of though.

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