Fwd: Re: [stella] Homebrew cart distributors

Subject: Fwd: Re: [stella] Homebrew cart distributors
From: Joe Grand <joe@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 05 Jan 2003 15:42:23 -0500
Responding to myself...

I should also mention that the process of rapid prototyping varies greatly from injection molding, and the parts that come out aren't necessarily as good as production-quality ABS plastic like we'd use for standard cart shells. There are many RP technologies and I'm not sure the quality and accuracy of the parts can be matched with injection molding - though, if the unit price for RP was lower, it would obviously be investigated further.


Date: Sun, 05 Jan 2003 15:39:04 -0500
To: stella@xxxxxxxxxxx
From: Joe Grand <joe@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: [stella] Homebrew cart distributors

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 http://www.pixelspast.com/homebrew

Specifically, pictures are http://www.pixelspast.com/homebrew/images/2600_housing_01.jpg and http://www.pixelspast.com/homebrew/images/2600_housing_02.jpg

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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