Ongoing Development

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by AcidFire, Jul 8, 2014.

  1. AcidFire

    AcidFire I Make Stuff Staff Member

    So after some feedback from the molders, as well as the mechanical engineer who's guiding me through this process, I've started altering the casings for ease of manufacture.

    As a bit of a tease, here is the thumb cluster, being compared to the old version:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
  2. jackmills

    jackmills New Member

    On the last view, doesn't the chamfer on the outer edges make the amount of material a bit thin on the places where you have the cut-outs for the switches?
    It is probably sufficient for manufacturing, but wouldn't it wear a bit faster when taking it apart?
  3. QuadGMoto

    QuadGMoto New Member

    It looks like the position of the two parts is visually switched in the last picture. If you look at the widths (57 and 62) it looks like the design with more material is the newer one.
  4. AcidFire

    AcidFire I Make Stuff Staff Member

    It does, and that was done only for the 3D printed parts as it reduced the amount I had to trim from the part (typical first layers are a bit wider to ensure adhesion).

    actually the design with more material is the newer one. The size was increased to improve the ruggedness and allow for brass inserts to be used so that the case can be opened repeatedly. The smaller design was done with snap fittings (suppressed in the renderings) that would wear over time, as well as leave nasty marks when you opened the case.
  5. jackmills

    jackmills New Member

    I should have payed more attention, but good to see that you made the design more robust. Now it looks like it will last, no unnecessary fancy stuff :).
  6. QuadGMoto

    QuadGMoto New Member

    Um… ??? :confused:
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2014
  7. AcidFire

    AcidFire I Make Stuff Staff Member

    2.5mm walls w/ high impact ABS, she'll be built like a lightweight tank ;)

    And this is why you don't reply to posts with 4 hours of sleep, please ignore...
  8. xilius

    xilius New Member

    So anything new going on? Update us from time to time please, way too excited for this, and really can't wait!
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2014
  9. AcidFire

    AcidFire I Make Stuff Staff Member

    Currently have a new design for the wrist rests finished, hoping to print them out tonight. I've also got new solder paste stencils coming since the ones I did on the laser here didn't come out so well, and some leaded solder so I can hopefully get the reflow done on my skillet at home. In a nutshell, it's basically a waiting game for parts & tools atm.
  10. AcidFire

    AcidFire I Make Stuff Staff Member

    It's update time!

    1) First tests with the existing paste masks I have went exceptionally well, I'm just waiting for the new masks to come in to finish the assembly.

    2) I'm still waiting for parts on the 3D printer to finish the larger case parts, but all the peices I've done so far where I've cut them in half to fit the printer have worked out really well.

    3) Keycaps Are In! Mid June I placed a custom order with Signature Plastics. I now have enough keys to do 5 backlit DSA, and 5 backlit DCS. I still need to paint and etch them, but I have a plan in the works for that.
    [​IMG]

    4) I haven't had a chance to print the wrist rest pieces yet (last minute design tweaks), however last night I worked out a rough design for how I might connect the two halves for those who want a single board. Utilizing pieces that are designed to angle 15°, I can create splays for both straight & ergonomic setups.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Currently I've designed it this way because anything I could come up with that was adjustable was also inherently weaker. I'm not completely settled on it yet, but I do like the rigidity they offer once they're tightened down.
  11. AcidFire

    AcidFire I Make Stuff Staff Member

    With new paste masks in hand, I've started assembling the latest electronics:

    [​IMG]
    This is the new laser cut jig I made for the controller board, with the paste mask visible in the top of the pic. I have a jig like this for each of the new boards, which makes it easy to paste...
    [​IMG]
    and place on these boards, cutting my assembly time down substantially.
    [​IMG]
    And onto the electric skillet for reflow:
    [img width=640 height=360]http://axios.io/exports/forums/3d-proto-69.jpg[/img]
    Working on one of the large 5x7 clusters (sorry for the blurry pic):
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    These are 0.5mm pitch FPC connectors, and while this method was a bit more expensive to set up (new tools/materials + masks), it's taken a lot of the headache out of the assembly. This will also make it easier to assemble beta units once I've verified these prototypes.

    Speaking of prototypes, while I have my handy Kossel Mini printer for prototype parts, a friend of mine is currently printing me a full prototype case on one of his machines at work. While not a fast machine (expected to take all week to print), it'll be the closest I'll have to the final production design and is the last piece I'm waiting on to finish a video & photos for a campaign so I can finally get the funding up.
    jeep and jan_path like this.
  12. jackmills

    jackmills New Member

    So...how is it going ;)

    Edit: No news, good news?
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014
  13. AcidFire

    AcidFire I Make Stuff Staff Member

    I feel horrible that I haven't been able to update since getting back from vacation, it's been a busy couple of weeks to say the least. First, for those of you who were hoping to sit down with me and the prototype while I was in Seattle & Portland, I'm so sorry I missed you. As I was gently reminded by my better half, I was suppose to be relaxing and taking a little bit of a break before diving back into the home stretch when we got back (you should have seen the look I got when I suggested a meetup on my birthday).

    However, when I was visiting with my friend in Seattle he was able to finally provide me with the parts for the 3D printed full size prototype:
    [​IMG]

    I've also received the newest revisions of the IO boards (USB & I2C) that fit this case properly and I'm currently working to get them populated so that I can get a full prototype up and running for testing. (Will upload pics later)

    I'm also currently struggling a little bit with the wrist rest when the board is tented, since to doesn't have it's own support it becomes a point of leverage which off balances the unit. I have a couple of different solutions I'm drafting and testing.

    Lastly, on top of all this development work, I'll be showing at the Calgary Mini Maker Faire this weekend (Sept 6-7) and the Portland Mini Maker Faire in the Crowd Supply booth the following weekend (Sept 13-14).
  14. jeep

    jeep New Member

    Cool, I'll try to make the Portland Mini Maker Faire. I'm in the process of moving back to Hillsboro (just outside Portland).
  15. pdf

    pdf New Member

    Thanks for the update AF. How does that 45' angle work on the thumb clusters? Seems a bit extreme for optimal comfort?
  16. AcidFire

    AcidFire I Make Stuff Staff Member

    The 45° angle was the result of extensive testing to find what felt comfortable while ensuring that the bottom two rows of keys would be reachable without stretching. Between my own hands on and others at shows and locally, I'm confident people will find the angle quite comfortable.

    Speaking of hands on, one of the things I've noticed from the last couple of shows, and even bringing the units out for friends, was that the built in tenting stand had way too much flex to it. So I took a second look at a concept I had originally scrapped:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    This new stand is incredibly rigid, thanks in part to a small sliding part in the "kickstand":
    [​IMG]
    Unfortunately I haven't had a chance yet to take pictures of it installed, but trust me when I say the stability is impressive. Because there are fewer parts required, and the case itself no longer requires mounts for the stand, cost for both molds and parts is dropped quite nicely.

    As things seem to on this project, this little breakthrough snowballed into another; the connecting piece. A couple posts back I shared a design I had for a modular connector between the two halves and while I liked the concept, there was too much going wrong in practice. With this new design however, I'm able to let the kickstands connect via a third piece which if the currently printed parts are any indication, is quite stable and mobile friendly:
    [​IMG]
    (note that these parts are using an older connector piece, I have a new design in the works)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    because some things are changing with the main case design, I haven't rigged up the ergo set with the rests & joints like I did with the straight setup:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Due to some circumstances at work, I currently don't have access to the 3D printer I've been using. While my friend will be sending me one of his production units in a few weeks (score!), I've ordered another printer that I can refit for dual extruder use that I expect to have on hand by the end of the week. This setup should let me build with proper support material which will result in nicer looking units, faster production of beta units for testers, and make it less likely that I'll end up sticking a knife in my hand again (yes, I've actually bled for this project).
  17. jleechpe

    jleechpe New Member

    This looks very nice indeed.

    Is there any possibility of having additional keys in the connecting piece? (Similar to on a Maltron)

    It would be a good spot to include macro/programmable keys (since they would be out of immediate reach but still accessible).
  18. jeep

    jeep New Member

    Looking good.
  19. Tireurroyale

    Tireurroyale New Member

    I for one would love to see trackpad/trackball connecting pieces. I originally was holding out hope for a trackball thumb-pad but the connector opens up whole new real estate I'd love to take advantage of.
  20. Andrew Grover

    Andrew Grover New Member

    As commented above, that center connector piece is starting to look like attractive real estate for things like : number pad, track ball, track pad, macro keys, etc. Could be a very flexible "add on" accessory with many options available down the road. Love the progress.

Share This Page