Re: [stella] Homebrew cart distributors

Subject: Re: [stella] Homebrew cart distributors
From: Joe Grand <joe@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 05 Jan 2003 15:39:04 -0500
The per unit cost of rapid prototyping is WAY too high. The quotes I've gotten range from about $5 to $13 per set in quantities of 1000. Obviously, that doesn't fit the price model for a hobbyist community. If the per unit cost of RP can be brought down to less than $2 per set, then it could be a possibility, but unfortunately I don't think rapid prototyping will ever get down to the price points of injection molding.

With enough pre-orders for cart housings, the tool and shells could also be made, but I'm not sure I'm comfortable with that, as it requires people to pay money upfront for "vapor-ware", and even though I consider myself reputable, I've seen bad things happen (twice that I can think of in the classic gaming community alone)


At 03:14 PM 3/23/2003, Aaron Bergstrom wrote:
We work some with rapid prototyping. For some objects, it is feasible to rp it and use it as the final product. Since the 2600 cart case is a small plastic shell, I would think that for the type of use these cases will get that this may be a viable option. Have you looked into that possibility?

Joe Grand wrote:

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.


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