Rapid prototyping and other updates
On Thursday, we got the first rapid prototype of our case design. We chose to use SLA due to cost, material characteristics, and resolution. We sent the models off to the rapid prototyping company before Thanksgiving, and got the printed model Thursday.
While you can choose various finishing options, we chose a basic satin media blast. The parts still have their “step lines” from the printing process. Finishing the parts to see what the final model would look like involved a lot of sanding, priming, and painting. The light ring was wet-sanded to 2000-grit, then sprayed with a gloss polyurethane. The other parts were sanded to 800-grit, then sprayed with black paint and matte lacquer.
We’re still playing with the light ring a little bit to improve light transmission. We have 4 LEDs in there now, with room for up to 9.
On the production version, the light ring will be a smoke colored polycarbonate to blend in better with the rest of the black case. Also, the case will be made of black ABS as opposed to painted. The colors and types of resins for SLA printing are limited.
It’s very exciting to see the 3D model in a physical form. We have some minor model revisions that need to be made, and we’ll be test-fitting the rest of the electrical and mechanical components this week. After the changes are made, we’ll order the parts that require updates again – then have the steel injection molds made for mass production.
You can view hi-res pictures at our blog at http://blog.themprinter.com. We'll be posting more detailed updates on there.
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