Monday, November 09, 2015

Final Case Design Shipped to Shapeways

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Az15 Raspberry Pi Computer / LeosStick Computer with ZX81 Keyboard
AZ15 Deign Impression
The final AZ15 case design has been shipped off to Shapeways for printing and the nervous wait for a tangible object to arrive in the post has begun. All being well, the physical product will work as designed; meeting all expectations generated by the on screen version of reality.

The case was designed using the modeler AC3D, I've been using this tool for various projects over a number of years (though never for a 3d printed model before), so am pretty comfortable using it. A Raspberry PI 2 / B+ model was sourced from Thingiverse to construct the case around. I can't locate the exact model I used now, however there are a number to chose from including this one by jayftee. It's always a bonus when somebody else has done the hard work of modeling and exacting object for you.

AZ15 Case Design, Side View
Some decisions taken early on that dictated the shape and size of the AZ15 case. The choice not to de-solder the USB and Ethernet ports from Raspberry PI 2 lent extensively to the final design. The PI 2 has four USB ports, and I've designed the case such that two of these ports are only available internally. This layout allows the Leostick to connect internally and invisibly to one of these ports, giving the overall external appearance of one complete unit. The other internally USB port could be used to house a WIFI or Bluetooth adapter.

AZ15 Case Design, Rear View
The choice of configuration for the USB ports has given a rather unique cut-out appearance at the back of the computer, a nice little design touch that also helps maintain a compact and tidy feel when external USB devices are plugged in at the side.

From the outset I hadn't intended to clone a ZX81 case, the original being a design classic in its own right. What I'm after is something reminiscent of a classic 80s microcomputer but with a contemporary feel. A kind of modern clone. Hopefully within the next week or so I'll find out just how successful I've been.

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