OT: Does anyone have access to rapid prototyping?



#11

With a community such as this, it's certainly worth asking. You can probably guess what this is for as well, and you would be correct in your assumption. I need two major parts with the largest measuring about 3"x5"x3/8" while the other is literally a sheet of keys. All of this will fit into a deep drawn enclosure and eventually require a rubber case for grip and shock protection.

Next: get ready for some physical hardware. I have designs in CAD and they are looking amazing. Otherwise, don't expect to hear much from OpenRPN until major developments take place. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me an email. We are looking for a host aside from sourceforge as well. I can't wait to share what I've been working on with everyone here!

We are actively recruiting sw, hw, and documentation talent if you have skills you would like to contribute. OpenRPN is alive and underground. But the next response from the intended end users (you) is "WOW!"

Thanks!
I look forward to hearing from you soon!


#12

Quote:
We are actively recruiting sw, hw, and documentation talent if you have skills you would like to contribute. OpenRPN is alive and underground.

If you could provide some details of the project's charter it
may help prospective contributors decide whether or not it is of
interest to them. Otherwise such a semi-clandestine appearance
begs the question whether this is indeed an open vs. commercial
endeavor, either which may be attractive to folks, but from
different motivations.

FWIW a major attraction for myself (and I'd hazard others as
well) to contribute to an open effort is the ability to be
involved in the definition phase of the design, rather than
jumping in to help productize someone else's preconceived brain
child.


#13

Valid concerns, more information will be available shortly. There will be community involvement in the definition, although since this is a reboot I can already rattle off a set of specs that 99% of the people here would not complain about. Physical production is a risk I will most likely be assuming, which ultimately means that the community has more overall say over the software.

For now, I recommend staying tuned while information is made available. Messages on this board will be sparse and largely limited to major announcements of progress.

Feel free to send me an email if you have any specific questions or concerns.


#14

Quote:
Valid concerns, more information will be available shortly. There will be community involvement in the definition, although since this is a reboot I can already rattle off a set of specs that 99% of the people here would not complain about..

Feel free to send me an email if you have any specific questions or concerns.


Ok, could you share the above "set of specs" so I (and likely others)
could assess their interest in this open project?

One point I'd offer is a device such as a
calculator (I assume that's what we're discussing) is most
successfully approached as an
exercise in functional/UI/software/hardware/mechanical/manufacturing
codesign rather than a concentration on a convenient subset of
the above with the balance left as an afterthought. I have
no idea where you're at in the process however from my reading
above it appears the effort may not be receiving benefit
of a concurrent engineering approach.


Edited: 8 Oct 2011, 12:56 p.m.


#15

I don't want to create confusion by listing specs that are not yet set in a public forum. If you send me a PM I will be happy to discuss this at length with you. A great deal of room exists for changes right now and I am being vague and evasive only because I *want* to avoid any confusion at this stage.

A fully concurrent engineering approach would be ideal, but in my experience it is questionably feasible at best with all volunteer labor working on a specialized niche device. You sound like you're holding back on some thoughts regarding how best to approach this project, and I would appreciate it if you would share your thoughts with me. Progress will likely not be as fast as many of us would like. One important lesson I learned the first time around is that the physical components present the greatest challenge, and that is what people require proof of to generate real interest.

The end users here want a reliable scientific tool that will last a very long time. That means never cutting corners for the sake of improving margins, and going for the best quality of build that is possible. Long battery life, access to internal features/expansion similar to a development kit, keys that feel solid and provide excellent tactical feedback (go "click" every time and register), a high contrast display, and the ability to expand.

Again, if you have questions I don't think cluttering this forum is the place for it. Until there is something to show off, I want to keep quiet.

#16

I have own machining equipment and have the design and programming experience with making injection molds for production as well as ersatz molds for making mockup components.

Long story short, I would like to be involved.


#17

Matt,

I'm not sure if you received my e-mail. We can discuss details of the designs at OpenRPN.org and hopefully get the ball rolling. The priority is to create a physically complete hardware platform for development. Basically, we need a field to play the game and nice drawings or even simulations don't count.

Alternatively, you can respond via email through this site or direct: hugh.evans at columbus dot rr dot com.


#18

yes we do! What materials are you looking for?
Email me john@proto3000.com

John Frangella - Proto3000
1-888-887-7686, ex:111

#19

I'm busily designing keyboards at the moment but I'd like to move on to other projects if time permits and our baby is done.

#20

Everyone who responded to this thread expressing interest should have received an email from me already. Please come over to the forum currently in use as the splash page at OpenRPN Forum

I have a couple of quick renderings that make use of minimal manufacturing capabilities. These are first drafts and establish only the working outside dimensions. It shows the proposed rubber boot/case that will protect an underlying deep drawn case. It's a starting point for discussion and planning.

Thanks for your interest, I look forward to working with all of you and getting some physical hardware ready from production.

#21

Anybody got one of these 3D printers ?

$1700 if you need to buy your own, and claimed to print from CAD files.

Probably not much good for volume production, but sure looks useful for onesies and twosies.


#22

That's essentially the point of this thread. Even using rapid prototyped plastic parts I can cast molds for low volume runs. Since the company I work for makes a lot of polymers I'm consider using a two part urethane if necessary to fabricate a small run of keys and case components. These will prove extremely useful for those designing the electronics and give us a chance to start testing snaps domes and learn how to get the best tactile response. Once the electronics are designed I've considered selling them as nice ARM development kits to increase volume and hopefully improve the pricepoint. I also want to build one or two dozen complete prototype calculators to give several major team members as thanks for their contribution and debugging of the design before fully locking it in.

After that, the tricky part will be financing. I would prefer to avoid pre orders. This is where trying a kickstarter or finding investors may come in. The goal price maximum is $200 for both the voyager and pioneer format designs. I already have several tricks up my sleeve to keep production costs low. For example: those of you joking about all aluminum: I can get it done for well under $20 per complete case with keys at quatities of around 500.

Hardware must be proven first, then everyone gets to see what wp34s can do when hardware isn't the limiting factor :)


#23

I wasn't joking about the aluminum case. For small runs it will quite possibly be cheaper than a moulded plastic case.


- Pauli


#24

Agreed, I'm giving it a good close look. Even in low quantities it can be very reasonable. The outer (back) shell wi be deep drawn. Not to mention the inherent cool factor. One idea I'm toying with is using a sheet of gorilla glass to cover the entire faceplate. Not only would it be sleek and durable, it's a great way to slip layouts underneath. If that doesn't pan out, the aluminum face would be great for etching custom labels. I'm doing a good job of selling myself on this now lol.

Lots of ideas to consider. And the improved access to fabrication this time around is very exciting. I'm hoping to have at least one prototype within 90 days and one complete with electronics within 6 months.

I missed this project. If fizzled out last time largely because I went through a very rough period in my life. Across the board I'm much better equipped to see it through this time and devote more of my energy towards it. I hope anyone who grew frustrated with OpenRPN in the past will put it behind them. This crazy project is for you. The target audience can be summed up as the members of this board. The resources are here, and I understand the burden is on me to prove this project is possible. I look forward to making a lot of people happy with the kinds of calculators they've always dreamed of.


#25

Quote:
I'm hoping to have at least one prototype within 90 days and one complete with electronics within 6 months.

Hmmh, a prototype without electronics? :-?

#26

Absolutely, although I suppose mock-up might be a more appropriate term for that stage. I want to experiment with tactile response variables at that stage as well. I suspect solid keys will give the best feel and sound. Snap discs will require selection and manufacturers usually have specific pc board patterns they design for their own discs. If everything checks out at this stage the electronics designers have all the dimensional information they need to design.


#27

Wish your resurrected project all the best - but the stop watch's running now again :-/

#28

Quote:
Once the electronics are designed I've considered selling them as nice ARM development kits..

Which ARM SoCs are you considering or have decided upon?

Quote:
..those of you joking about all aluminum: I can get it done for well under $20 per complete case with keys at quatities of around 500.

I don't think I've seen anyone downplay use of an aluminum case. Actually I'd considered doing so in my former voyager recreation
project. It is fairly easy to cast rough blanks to minimize
material removal and finish machining.
And the choice of Al brings in
desirable strength and shielding properties. The point I paused
was that of aesthetics in use. An anodized finish is subject to
wear and will start looking shabby after it abrades. A textured
or blasted natural finish may be a better choice from this
perspective but may not have universal appeal. The thermal
characteristics of a cold block of Al vs. ABS could also be
a detraction for some. A elastomer boot will offset these issues
but at the cost of added bulk. So there are a few things to
consider here if you're targeting a premium design with a
corresponding premium end user cost.


#29

Have you ever worked on an all Al MacBook? The feeling is just great. The surface is very smooth, not glossy, just pleasing the skin touching it.

#30

The SoC selection process is not far along. Ive started shopping around and am keeping in mind the consensus from the first time around. Battery life is everything and even lower end ARMs will have no problems working very fast as calculators. I nice big chunk of on board flash makes sense, potentially using USB mass storage device to interface and load files. Hopefully sufficient memory is available onboard, but its easy enough to leave pads on the pc board for expansion or as an option. More and more include LCD controllers, but these tend to be geared towards power hungry applications such as tablets and phones. Do you have something in mind?

Also... What was your voyager project?

#31

Hugh,

In the "TwistyPuzzles" community some of the more exotic Rubiks type puzzles are prototyped and then sold directly from a 3D printing company called Shapeways.

Here's an example of an item that I've actually purchased. I can vouch for the quality and precision of their prototyping process.

Geared Mixup


#32

Mark,

I've come across that site a couple of times and I appreciate you bringing it back to my attention. It appears that they do enough work to be a viable option for short production runs, which could be very useful in a project like this. Production runs of 500 sound a lot less scary than 10,000!


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