3D-printed E Ink typewriter offers distraction-free writing with modern perks

Most if not all of us may have dreamed of writing some form of literature like a book or even a novel. It may be an adventure inspired by the latest bestseller that you read, a tear-jerking drama drawn from personal experiences, or even a technical matter intended to pass down knowledge to future generations. Although we still call it “writing,” the fact is that books today are all typed on some kind of machine or another, be it a computer or even an old-school typewriter, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. A computer, of course, delivers plenty of flexibility and convenience, but those also come at the cost of complexity and, more importantly, distractions. Distraction-free typing devices have been popping up here and there to cater to the needs of writers, but this particular design lets you create your own solution and, if necessary, even repair the digital typewriter yourself.

Designer: Vicente Cruz

There are quite a few distraction-free typewriter designs, but almost all of them have one important feature in common: they all use an e-paper display like E Ink. This usually monochrome screen is not just eye-friendly, it is also not that conducive to the colorful images and animations on the Web that distract us from our writing task. The technology is starting to catch up, though, but the advantages of E Ink still make it the perfect screen for such a purpose.

The Tapico Typer is a design that leverages that technology but also goes to the extreme when it comes to offering a distraction-free environment. You basically just have a keyboard with a somewhat small 4.2-inch E Ink screen centered on top. It doesn’t even have a battery, at least in this iteration of the design, so you’ll have to rely on an external power source like a power bank. It does have an SD card slot, however, which is the only way to get your files off the device since it has no network connectivity or even a USB data connection.

If that sounds extreme, it’s because it really is by design. The Tapico Typer is, interestingly, inspired more by a calculator than the old mechanical typewriter. It’s a single-function device that does only one thing but does it to perfection. It also means you have complete ownership of your content, free from subscription services and cloud storage. And, of course, there’s nothing to distract you on the screen, though the phone you place beside it could still steal your focus.

The digital typewriter is mostly 3D-printed and self-made, so it would be possible to follow the original’s design to make your own. Many of the components are available off shelves and there isn’t much soldering involved, so most of the work boils down to designing the chassis. A future plan is to include some internal power source or at least a way to use AA batteries that could last for months thanks to how little power E Ink displays consume. This also means that The Tapico Typerc can also be easily repaired, ensuring it will be your writing partner for a very long time.