Re: [stella] Homebrew cart distributors

Subject: Re: [stella] Homebrew cart distributors
From: Joe Grand <joe@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 05 Jan 2003 15:00:51 -0500
I have a design for a 2600 cartridge casing that I debuted at CGE 2002 in Vegas last summer. I had a model of the design made so people could check out the design, feel it, etc. Some pictures and description of the prototype can be found at

Specifically, pictures are and

I had more pictures on the website of the internal structure, along with a real mechanical drawing, but I took those down. It was brought to my attention that some people had "borrowed" my design, with my specific features I designed into the housing, and made their own design based on it. However, I haven't heard much about that recently.

The cost of the tool is quite expensive and too much for one person (I feel) to put up to make the tool and a quantity of cartridge shells (around $10k). Since we would want to offer cartridge housings to the community for relatively cheap, there would be minimal mark-up to the actual manufacturing cost (basically the cost of the plastic) of the cartridge housing (say around $2 in quantity). The most costly part of the project is the tool/mold, which is an extremely accurate milled block of steel or aluminum that is used in an injection molding machine to make the parts. It would take at least a few years to make back the cost of the tool, so the whole thing is pretty risky.

With the help of a few people each putting in some money for the tool, it would make the project more likely. I have a great mechanical engineering firm I've been working with and have contacts to low-priced, short-run injection molding houses to make the housings. As a matter of fact, I already have quotes.

The design is essentially ready to go, but then I opened my piggy bank and looked inside.


At 01:23 PM 1/5/2003, Glenn Saunders wrote:
At 09:38 AM 1/5/2003 -0800, you wrote:
I imagine the hardest part would be making the plastic
casing for the cart. I don't think anyone does that

Somebody has to bite the bullet and make a new mold for these things sooner or later. It's already happened for the Vectrex scene, so you'd imagine it's economically viable for the 2600 (at least in the long run) to dump the overhead into a new mold.

Either that or to try to track down some existing dies, maybe from Curt Vendel or Best or some other entity that might have had close contact with insiders at Atari.

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