Framework, which launched its modular and expandable laptop last year, now sells its most important part separately in its marketplace: the motherboard. And while it might let you upgrade a Framework laptop, the company also offers a bunch of information about 3D printing and electricity open source so you can make your own projects out of it.
In a blog post on Framework’s site earlier this week, founder Nirav Patel showed off a 3D-printed case (in a vibrant orange color) that he would provide instructions for making the motherboard a single-board computer (something akin to to a Raspberry Pi).
Motherboards ship today in the US and Canada and are coming soon to the UK and other countries in Europe “soon”. However, the processors are still limited to the three 11th Gen Intel mobile chips. The cheapest card with a Core i5-1135G7 is $399, while a Core i7-1165G7 is $549 and a Core i7-1185G7 is $799. And that’s all before the rest of the parts you’ll need!
Like the DIY version of the laptop, you will need to add memory and storage for the project. You can use a USB Type-C charger or buy a battery from the market. Hopefully Framework will soon update the motherboard with Intel’s 12th Gen processors, and maybe even some AMD Ryzen or Arm options.
Everything you need to create your own weird little computer is in one. Github repository. It includes 2D images of the motherboard for designing your own accessories and a CAD file for printing out this example case (though I guess you could choose a more boring color.) There’s also a bunch of electrical documentation.
This decision could potentially lead to distant IT projects. Of course, some enthusiasts didn’t wait for Framework’s open source to get started. In November, a YouTuber made a 60% mechanical keyboard with a Framework motherboard inside, featuring four modular ports.
Since the launch of the Framework laptop, the company has been slowly adding parts to its marketplace for repairing, upgrading, and directly hacking the PC to make it what you want it to be. They include displays, lower cases, speaker kits, new keyboards, touchpads and more.
Me? I hope someone finds a way to turn this into a NUC-like PC and hook it up to a graphics card. A guy can dream.