Case for Newton Non-NTI PCB

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Case for Newton Non-NTI PCB

Hi,

 

 

Anyone out there making a case for the Newton Non-NTI PCB?

 

 

Looking to purchase!

 

THanks!

 

Bill

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retro_bill wrote: "Anyone out

retro_bill wrote:

 

"Anyone out there making a case for the Newton Non-NTI PCB ? "

 

Uncle Bernie comments:

 

Seems you have discovered a market niche nobody is filling yet. A nice, properly designed wooden enclosure for the Apple-1 is sought by many builders who lack the woodworking skills. Actually, it's not so much lack of woodworking skills --- if you can build an Apple-1 you do have all the fine motor skills necessary --- but it's more about lack of proper woodworking machines. For a nice result, you need a table buzzsaw to make exact cuts. And then there is the glueing (lots of clamps needed), sanding, staining, coating, polishing ... and the work with these nasty liquids requires some skill that can only be gained by doing it, and material and time will be wasted. I saw a video on youtube which shows how to build a wooden enclosure for the Apple-1 but he made the mistake to use water based stain ("going green") which gave an unsightly result, so he had to build another one and then he used a mineral oil based stain.

 

How much would such an enclosure cost if made by a cabinet maker here in the USA ? The best estimate I got was $800 each, for a small production run, but this was 3 years ago. But this was a sort of hobby garage business, the same guy built the custom book shelves for my mansion, which I had bought only to find there was not enough space for my books.

 

So to make a dozen such cabinets, you need to take a roll of Green Toilet Paper, held together by a rubber band, "worth" $9600, hand it over to the cabinet maker, and then hope you can sell the remaining  11.

 

And this is where the problem with niche markets lies.

 

- Uncle Bernie

 

 

 

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Hi Uncle Bernie, You are

Hi Uncle Bernie,

 

You are right. It costs too much to make a wooden case. 

 

The is a gentleman who is making an acrylic case which I like for around $90. He says it only fits boards made from generic gerbers and said maybe in the future he wll sell a case for the Newton boards.

 

 

Just have to wait :)

 

Thanks Uncle Bernie for your reply!

 

Bill

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Some ideas about Apple-1 enclosures

In post #3, retro_bill wrote:

 

"He says it only fits boards made from generic gerbers and said maybe in the future he will sell a case for the Newton boards."

 

Uncle Bernie answers:

 

The main difference between "Newton" and "open source" PCBs (as far as mounting them is concerned) lies in the mounting hole locations. Newton PCBs are ~0.2" / ~5mm higher (in the Y axis, along the short edge with the row A...D indicators) and so the hole locations differ just enough to make pre-drilled panels not fit.

 

But you can't get an acrylic enclosure for $90, unless you mean the acrylic sheets with pre-drilled holes which ain't no case, but more than a "front plate" and "back plate" combo, like this:

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/295017459008

 

These are meant as mounts to hang the Apple-1 clone to a wall (the majority of use cases) or to protect it from curious fingers and pets when it's placed on a table.

 

For a real acrylic enclosure, like the one seen in this thread:

 

https://www.applefritter.com/content/ive-finally-completed-my-apple-1-replica

 

the materials alone exceed the $90 by far, even when bought out of the "scraps" bin in an acrylic sign shop (usually the cheapest source for these materials other than from a dumpster dive). And acrylic is a really nasty material to work with. Now, thanks to the COVID madness, we might be able to find all these huge acrylic "protection shields" they set up everywhere in the dumpsters, so the material would cost nothing (see how cheap I am ! --- even Scrooge McDuck could learn thriftyness from me !).

 

I think that a much cheaper solution would be to make an enclosure out of sheet metal  much in the style of the Ohio Scientific Challenger 1P:

 

https://www.old-computers.com/museum/computer.asp?st=1&c=813

 

But again, this needs some tools and machines a typical hobbyist does not have. The sheet metal could be CNC cut for the keyboard cutout, the screw holes CNC drilled, then bent on a sheet metal bending machine, then powder coated for good looks. Side panels could be made from wood instead of sheet metal.

 

Another idea is to find an old but still in good shape attache case at a thrift store or a garage sale and mount the Apple-1 in it. There is one famous original where the complete Apple-1 system including keyboard and cassette recorder lives in such an attache case.

 

But the "ugly truth", as far as I know it, is that most Apple-1 clones end up as "naked" wall hangers. Some of those are mounted on a wooden mount, like hunters do with their trophies. There is only a small minority of Apple-1 clone owners who actually use their machines. And "using" the priceless originals - God forbid !

 

- Uncle Bernie

 

 

 

 

 

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UncleBernie wrote:In post #3,
UncleBernie wrote:

In post #3, retro_bill wrote:

 

"He says it only fits boards made from generic gerbers and said maybe in the future he will sell a case for the Newton boards."

 

Uncle Bernie answers:

 

The main difference between "Newton" and "open source" PCBs (as far as mounting them is concerned) lies in the mounting hole locations. Newton PCBs are

 

Making a wood case isn't difficult.  I've got the tools (the big up front expense) and woodworking experience.  Materials, although they've gone way up in the last year or so are still not that much.  What is the killer is labor.  I don't think most retro-computing hobbiests, who are notoriously cheap, would pay emough that I could make cases and pay myself more than minimum wage.  If I charged enough for it to be worth my time to do, I'd probably be able to sell maybe 2 or 3 to people who understand what goes into this.

 

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The materials for a real

The materials for a real plexiglass case are in the 100's of dollars these days.  Plexi isn't cheap and if it's a bent plexi like I used to then even more so as for every few you make, there will be one that cracks due to some unforeseen defect (a factory using a proper set of tooling will have much less defects than a hand made one).

 

This case used almost a full sheet of .25" plexi glass when you include the keyboard part.  Even 10 years ago the sheet was about about $100 at Home Depot.  Now the sheet is much more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hi everyone,I can't remember

Hi everyone,

I can't remember exactly, but the total material costs for my case were around €120. I got the 2K acrylic adhesive for free from a friend. This high-quality adhesive would certainly have cost additional €30.

In my opinion, working with Plexiglass has turned out to be relatively "good-natured". I never worked with it before and at first had a lot of respect for it. However, my first results were surprisingly good. Tests on some leftover pieces is definitely recommended.

The most important thing when dealing with acrylic is tempering, to get the tension out of the material! Better too often than too little. Otherwise, microcracks can develop very quickly.

A bandsaw can be used for sawing, if you have one available, but a jigsaw will do it as well. It is also important to always cool well, i.e. plenty of water. And yes, it's quite a mess. With a good file you can achieve results very quickly, which I found out with the keyboard bezel. Of course, to get the edges nice you have to sand them. I started with some coarse sand paper and then got finer and finer, always with water. At the end you can get the final look with polishing paste, and also touch up one or the other scratch.

The gluing is then again a thing for itself. It was important to me to see as few screws as possible, so it was clear that I would mostly glue the parts together. At first I thought, "that will never hold together", but after some tests on scrap parts, which I couldn't get apart, no matter how hard I tried, I was convinced.When gluing, it is also important to take your time and glue one by one. I made countless little helpers with my 3D printer, to align and hold the parts perfectly.For my lid, I also built small clips with the 3D printer, so that I can open it quickly, but it still remains securely closed.

In the end, a case came out that really gives an extremely stable impression. I actually didn't expect that at the beginning, but of course I'm happy about it. Okay, it also weighs a bit, since I used 8mm thick PMMA for the bottom and side plates. 

- Pete

 

 

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Looks fantastic.

Looks fantastic.

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Hey, Corey986 & Peo2000!

Your enclosures inspire me to try working with plexiglass or wood...

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This is the most wonderful Apple-1 enclosure ...

... I've ever seen. Great work, peo2000 !

 

I'd wish this could be series produced. CNC machining could take a lot of the tedium of the manual work out. But this needs to be done by a shop which has experience with machining acrylic / plexiglass. The most important "trick" of course is the proper tempering mentioned by peo2000 already. Another thing is using the proper cutting fluid. Some chemicals make acrylic ("Plexiglass") craze and crack. But all this work is not cheap. I had a few prototypes of my inventions made from acrylic to show the inner workings to prospective licensees. This work was done by a specialized company and it was not cheap. Alas, this was some 25 years ago and over the years the industry started to use 3D CAD to "see" how parts fit together and how the gadget works. This takes the butter from the bread of these specialized companies and once they close shop, the know-how is gone !

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