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Scratch Build – In Progress Lenovo Slice Project - CNC, powdercoating and laptop parts

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by aussiepete, 8 Dec 2010.

  1. aussiepete

    aussiepete needs more Tanqueray

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    Hi Everyone. Along with Slipperyskip and some other members of the modding community, I've been given the opportunity by Lenovo to build a mod based on their hardware. They've provided us with a complete computer system and a healthy budget to really go nuts with it and create something extraordinary. My project is now approaching completion (and by that mean I'm freaking out while very expensive robots and lasers machine my mod), so there is a lot to catch up on. You can always catch up in more detail at http://sliceproject.wordpress.com/ , and votes at http://www.whatsyourideaoffun.com/us/content/y560-slice are always appreciated.

    A lil sneak peek at the present to get things rolling:

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  2. aussiepete

    aussiepete needs more Tanqueray

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    The Challenge a.k.a unbuildable renderings

    “Submit your idea for a cool mod and tell us how you will build it. We´ll choose the best and give those modders the hardware and a $2000 budget to bring it to life! They will be featured in our website, and the modder that gets the most fan votes will be invited to join Lenovo at CES 2011″

    A few bowls of ramen and some time in Rhino with V-Ray; and I done had me a renderin:

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    This got me in the door, with some pretty sweet gear courtesy of Lenovo and very little time to design and build a functionally complete and working prototype of an entire computer. And so the fun and games begin...

    The Lenovo Ideapad y560, a very nice piece of hardware. Good screen, half a terabyte hdd, 4 gigs of RAM, *amazing* speakers:

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    It’s all very… normal and laptop-ey though. Time to tear it apart:

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    Yup, one green board and a few aluminum boxes to hold all of our assignments and love letters and pirated television shows. Childhood photos, epic music collections, porn. It’s funny that we develop relationships with our laptops – we name them and talk to them and get angry at them when they fail – but inside, it’s all ugly little plastic bits and QC PASSED stickers.

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    So now the industrial design/breaking things/sleepless nights fun begins, how does this floppy, fragile board transform into an as-yet-imaginary-object? On opening up the Ideapad it immediately became clear that my submitted design would not work as planned (surprise surprise, late night rendering not working out in reality). I had somehow envisaged a 15" laptop motherboard as much smaller than it is in reality. I had hoped to build an enclosure with the motherboard in one solid area, storage in another, and transparent "leg" lending the form a sense of lightness. Looking at this motherboard, it seems that building this design would result in a ridiculously huge and impractical object.

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  3. aussiepete

    aussiepete needs more Tanqueray

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    Starting properly - details, bloody details

    Before I can even get to the fun design-ey part, everything has to be measured and characterized (stupid laptops with their almost complete lack of standards). Where will dozens of tiny screws have to be mounted? How are they placed in relation to each other and other important components? Where are the USB ports and the Blu Ray drive, and how will the necessity of making them easily accessible affect the form of the casing? Where do vents need to be placed so that the whole contraption doesn’t just melt or catch fire? The number of interconnected variables and the accuracy with which they need to be measured is intimidating.

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    Things you should never do to a laptop #447:

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    Experimenting with foamcore to get an idea of basic casing dimensions:

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    One of my big early challenges was accurately measuring a complex shape like the motherboard, and more importantly, accurately establishing the locations of all the screw holes in relation to each other.

    The following picture was.... An idea. A bad one. One of those ideas that you refuse to give up on and continue to make worse for hours. I figured if I could *scan* an image of the motherboard at a known DPI, I could accurately calculate the location of any part. But the old scanner in the box in the corner had port X so I fired up old nasty computer Y but then realized that the scanner was missing crucial component Z, so I grabbed some wirestrippers and XYZ and... (4 hours later):

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    Let us never speak of this again. Sizing new M2.5 hex fasteners to replace the cheap nasty screws that hold the original laptop together:

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  4. Skorchio

    Skorchio New Member

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    This looks like it could be quite epic :) Subbed :)
     
  5. aussiepete

    aussiepete needs more Tanqueray

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    Inspiration - beautiful forms

    For a while now I’ve been collecting examples of forms that are beautiful in their own right yet could conceivably house a functional device of the type I'm designing...

    Anima Terra by Yves Behar:

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    A piece by Kishi Eiko, a Japanese ceramic artist

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    The back side of an HTC Evo smartphone. Sometimes the beauty of a functional object can be found in the places that are normally out of sight – thousands of patents and man hours and dozens of companies and countless different materials, all working seamlessly and hidden from view.

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  6. slipperyskip

    slipperyskip Member

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    Welcome to the forums. Good luck with your project.

    This makes bit-tech the only web site with all four Lenovo contest entry project logs. Way to go BT!
     
  7. sixfootsideburns

    sixfootsideburns modeteer

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    +1, we're always happy to have new members and I think I speak for the community when I say we hope your project goes well! Really interesting design, I'm excited to see how this pans out :thumb:
     
  8. aussiepete

    aussiepete needs more Tanqueray

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    Development (a.k.a failing lots of times)

    The reality is that the XXL (for a laptop anyway) size of my components would render my original design comically large and kind of impractical. I’m also loath to waste a perfectly nice 15.5″ LCD screen. And I like the idea of a portrait-format screen – perfect for reading those long PDFs or efficient viewing of Gmail and Outlook inboxes. In fact, many of our daily PC activities make a lot more sense in portrait orientation. We’re gonna need a montaaaaage….

    One of my many "forests of failure" = experiments with form and shape within the constraints of component sizes:

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    After a lot of these (crappy draft designs):

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    A fair amount of this (can't beat the price/performance ratio):

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    And quite a few of these (diagrams and measurements to calculate optimum viewing angles, compoment distances, proportions etc.):

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    ... I finally struck upon a basic design that

    * fulfilled my aesthetic design and usability requirements (long boring post about that later)
    * can be fabricated in a relatively short period of time with no revisions (kinda tricky)
    * fits a laptop motherboard, blu ray drive and storage with all their myriad awkwardly placed ports and annoying PCB clearances (effin' hard)

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    Full size image here

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    Slot load and 1 usb port on top, vandal switch or touch sensor on the front, ports on the lower back with space for hands to fit, plenty of room under the angle of the back stand to conceal and route messy cables. Laser engraving branding or abstract artwork on the largest unadorned surfaces perhaps?

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  9. aussiepete

    aussiepete needs more Tanqueray

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    Putting it all together

    It may seem that I'm working in models and renders more than many modders, and this is entirely true. For one thing, multi axis machining of AL is going to be expensive (at least $1000), and any mistake is going to be very difficult to correct. I also don't possess the time, the talent or the patience of many of the artists on this forum, who can create masterpieces from a few blocks of material and a:dremel:

    My mod is very minimalist in physical shape and design detail, which means that getting the little details right - like chamfers that are just right, surfaces that intersect perfectly, cutouts in the right places - is extra important.

    Checking placement of port cutouts (machining tolerance will be 1/1000th of an inch, so the only thing that will screw it up is my measurments):

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    Insetting M2.5 hex fasteners from McMaster Carr to make sure enough thread makes it into the front face:

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    Creating cutouts to neatly route cables under the "stand" at the back of the casing:

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    0.01 inch :eyebrow: indentations for proper placement of Lenovo logo:

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    Plastic insert and hidden cutout for Atmel QT1011 capacitive touch sensor, to serve as an on/off/reset/hibernate switch:

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    Exploded layout, done as a sanity check of how everything goes together:

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    An early test render of color in a black/red finish. Fasteners were later moved to the back to maintain the minimalist look:

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  10. Mork

    Mork New Member

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    Welcome to the forums! Your design style is really cool. I love those minimalistic mods! :)

    *subbed*
     
  11. bobisgod

    bobisgod New Member

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    Amazing concepts. I can't wait to see where this is going:thumb:
     
  12. aussiepete

    aussiepete needs more Tanqueray

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    Final renders and off to the machine shop!

    Final renders with everything as it will be machined:

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    Aaaaand, into a 5 page PDF and Solidworks file to be turned into sweet, sweet 4-axis CNC toolpath goodness: :clap:

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  13. aussiepete

    aussiepete needs more Tanqueray

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    A little old school modding

    While I'm waiting for the machining to get done and watching the deadline grow ever closer, a little old school modding is in order. Resprayed the OCZ Agility II SSD in Ferarri Red, along with a mesh plate for the cooling fan and the slot-load blu ray casing (not shown):

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  14. aussiepete

    aussiepete needs more Tanqueray

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    From Render to Reality!

    At last, the translation from render to real life! Taken in the parking lot of the powder coating facility, the final step of the process:

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  15. djzic

    djzic Bokehlicious!

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    :jawdrop: I was going to try picking my jaw up, but I lost it somewhere underground :D

    Can't wait to see what you do to this baby :)


    May the :dremel: be with you :lol:
     
  16. Angel OD

    Angel OD Pump Killer

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    Lenovo didn't make a mistake choosing you as one of their modders on this project, that's for darn sure! :thumb:

    This is gonna be amazing!
     
  17. Nexxo

    Nexxo Stopped treating this country as if it was his own

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    Cheesecake mod is cheesecake. :thumb: Nice to see someone with a poetic appreciation of product design and a mad-inventor approach to modding. :D
     
  18. perplekks45

    perplekks45 LIKE AN ANIMAL!

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    Can't wait to see this after the powder coating.
     
  19. Sheiken

    Sheiken Wat?

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    This is CRAZY nice!
    Sweet ass-work!
     
  20. aussiepete

    aussiepete needs more Tanqueray

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    Awww yeah

    Allll finished. Gratuitous images coming soon... :cooldude:

    [​IMG]
     
    perplekks45 likes this.

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