Deep Drawn Aluminum Sources



#13

The first physical prototype OpenRPN enclosure design is in progress, but I've hit an annoying snag. Sourcing samples of deep drawn shells, which are planned for the back of the case design, has proven difficult. It may be a simple matter of actually registering a business to be taken seriously, but some vendors fail to reply and others are sending back some ugly looking quotes. The most recent quote I received for a design that supposedly requires no tooling costs the wholesale price per unit at quantities of 500+ was nearly $20. If need be, I will have the part machined for the prototype.

Does anyone have a good source for such parts?

Most of the work right now is revolving around negotiating with component manufacturers. Realistically, what started as a crazy idea appears to turning into a business. We have definite needs for a hardware designer, potentially a few dedicated programmers, and someone familiar with production logistics. If anyone is interested in getting involved please contact me. I have a strong preference for bringing people into this small group who are truly passionate about making a new breed of high end calculators. Crowd sourcing hardware doesn't seem to be a great approach. The goal is to create a great platform, and build great calculators on to of it.


#14

One we've used with good results is Lynx in northern California, at (209)833-3400. I have here that Vance Anderson is the sales mgr, that Mike Archer is in sales also, and the foreman who also does quoting is Steve Macredy (sp?). I can't find a website for them. Another one is Omega Tool in San Bernardino, CA. Their website address is http://www.omegatool-usa.com/ . They have molds for a lot of box sizes. The depth is custom but does not require special tooling. Same goes for things like nutplates. IOW, you should be able to get very close to what you want without having to pay tooling.

#15

I would check out Zero Manufacturing

They have many to choose from.


#16

FWIW.....having a registered business name with a tax id has worked very well for me. Just to add another option check out MFG"dot"com. Hope this helps.

#17

Where can I see renderings of what OpenRPN hopes to produce? I can't seem to find any recent info on OpenRPN newer than a couple years ago. Help?


#18

This is not the most current design but it is more recent:

I'm focusing on a portrait layout that fits in the same 3x5 form factor. The back shell is deep drawn, and the keyboard overlay and display are being approached as a single e-ink display (dynamic overlays sound cool enough?) That will be covered with aluminosilicate glass. Finally, a rubber boot will provide a gripping surface and impart some impact resistance.

I have no plans to post further CAD renderings around here until I have a picture of a physical prototype in the palm of my hand.


#19

Are you expecting to get a dot-matrix E-Ink display that has holes in it for the keys? I very much doubt that you're going to be able to get that.


#20

Quote:
Are you expecting to get a dot-matrix E-Ink display that has holes in it for the keys? I very much doubt that you're going to be able to get that.

The interconnect/drive technology doesn't currently exist, assuming
it ever will be commercially feasible or even justifiable. But I
suppose if you have sufficient financial resources you can
certainly try. A more available alternative might be replicated
individual panels situated in the horizontal key row spacing with
perhaps matrix displays, but far more likely segment icons. Still
that's a rather extreme undertaking for the limited benefit.

The other consideration being the actual key-resident legends
will be static. So what really is the benefit of such a partial
solution?

A less glamorous but perhaps more complete approach might be
mechanical where a keyboard keycap matrix along with integral
legend plate can snap in/out of the switch matrix, or slide
into retainer channels adjacent to the matrix. This would
allow a 100% reconfigurable keyboard but frankly the notion
of carrying around "extra" key cap plates and needing to swap
them is quite unappealing.


#21

I would probably have one or two sets of keys, but once I got it the way I liked (like a supercharged 32sii 35s combo) I'd leave it alone. The sheer thought of having my dream calculator done right would be enough for me.

#22

The way I see it, swapping keyboards wouldn't be a normal activity. The benefit would be that new calculators could be implemented on the same hardware. An enthusiast might reconfigure the calculator in various ways, but most users would stick with the machine as shipped.

As a business proposition, that would mean you'd primarily selling software and perhaps services. Does that sound familiar?


#23

Quote:
The way I see it, swapping keyboards wouldn't be a normal activity. The benefit would be that new calculators could be implemented on the same hardware. An enthusiast might reconfigure the calculator in various ways, but most users would stick with the machine as shipped.

That's a realistic simplification, yet it does obviate
the need for dynamic reconfiguration.

However as a means to facilitate reconfiguration as a
manufacturing option I'd cast my vote for the demountable,
integral keypad matrix and legend plate approach. But only
if the resulting ergonomics were at least equal to a legacy
HP benchmark.

Quote:
As a business proposition, that would mean you'd primarily selling software and perhaps services. Does that sound familiar?

The above seems reasonable for a platform of sufficient computation
power and generality. But I don't believe I see a contemporary
business case for it built around an essentially non-reconfigurable calculator.

That said, in the above scenario it is possible to offer a
custom keyboard manufacturing service targeted at the
enthusiast or calculator firmware projects in need of a
bootstrap vehicle (perhaps to limited scale production).
I'd thought about doing so a few years ago but didn't see a
compelling business case. I'm doubtful one exists but OTOH
a technology labor of love doesn't really need one.

#24

A portrait layout? Do you mean the kind of raw layout that is found on the 32sii, 20b, and 30b? It shouldn't be too hard to find an appropriate LCD dot matrix in small quantities. I'm not sure about thicknesses. The only ones I've played with have been around half an inch thick. I didn't have much luck sourcing e-ink displays in small quantities. They seem to want you to buy a thousand-dollar development kit.

How hard would it be to get physical buttons?


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