Before the generic black boxes of the ’00s and the generic beige boxes of the ’90s, computer manufacturers actually tried to make machines that looked unique. Some, like the ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64, are now highly-valued for their stylish designs. But if you want a modern computer, your only real choices are to build your own desktop or purchase a laptop that looks like a slab of aluminum. Luckily, there is another option, and that’s to follow lewisb42’s tutorial to build your own retro-styled Raspberry Pi computer.
The design of lewisb42’s FLIPT-BIT computer was inspired by a computer Sony built in 1984 called the HIT-BIT HB-101. Like many other computers from the ’80s, the HB-101 had a built-in keyboard and even a joystick. The FLIP-BIT follows the same concept, but swaps the joystick for a small touch pad and adds a 7″ TFT display. lewisb42 used a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ for his build, but you should be able to use any full-size Raspberry Pi model, including the new Raspberry Pi 4 Model B.
To build your own FLIPT-BIT, you’ll need the Raspberry Pi, 7″ display, a 12V 5A power supply, a 12V to 5V voltage regulator, and a compact USB keyboard and trackpad (both from Perixx). The enclosure is constructed from a combination of 3D-printed parts, acrylic sheet, and foamed PVC sheet. After you’ve got all of your components together and the enclosure finished, the final assembly is as simple as connecting all of the cables. There is plenty of space inside of the case, so you shouldn’t have any trouble making everything fit. The result is a modern computer that looks as good as the classics from the ’80s!