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cost of atari shells


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#1 Syntaxerror999 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:04 PM

Clearly it is more economic to gut common carts... but this is killing carts... even if they're just Commons they're still carts. What would it cost just out of curiosity to mold and cast cart shells from scratch? I'm not proposing anyone actually do this, I'm just putting the question out there.

#2 revolutionika OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:21 PM

I am ballparking on these figures:

3D Cad work on cart design - 300 to 500?

Factory set up/tooling/Injection Mold - 4000 to 6000?

Actual cost of new carts: 1 to 2 dollars each? (i could be way off on this)

Shipping costs?


Once someone had the Injection Molds made, i guess if you ordered bulk carts the price would come down.

I think it is easier to gut carts. A few years ago i bought 500 carts for 100 dollars.

Who cares about common carts. there are millions floating around....

#3 GroovyBee OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:47 PM

At that price the mould would only be made from aluminium so that would reduce its impression lifetime. Plus you'd be looking at having carts made in batches of 1000 to keep the costs down. Some other advantages of making a new mould are that carts can be produced in other colours besides black and you can make a design that eliminates the design flaws of the original(s).

#4 CPUWIZ OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:47 PM

This post makes me wonder what VGWiz did with his mold. :?

#5 Tinman OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 18, 2012 4:53 PM

I agree. I hate the idea of killing carts, even commons. But they're so cheap it seems it old be hard to build new ones at a competitive price.

#6 ls650 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 18, 2012 5:25 PM

Let's face it: it's not much of a sacrifice to 'kill' yet another PacMan or ET to make a homebrew.

Don't think of it as the death of a cart, but more of a reincarnation into a better life...

#7 AtariBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:57 PM

well maybe years from now my pac man might actually be worth something when it starts becoming rare :grin:

#8 revolutionika OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 18, 2012 9:37 PM

Maybe one day someone will dig up all the ET carts, then you guys could use them for homebrews! They would be perfectly preserved.

#9 batari OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 19, 2012 12:46 AM

This post makes me wonder what VGWiz did with his mold. :?

I heard that it broke. I don't know where I heard that, though.

#10 Nathan Strum OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 19, 2012 12:05 PM

This was the most recent thread I could remember about someone interested in making new shells. Doesn't seem to have gone anywhere.

#11 batari OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 19, 2012 4:21 PM

I have considered buying a 3D printer just to experiment with this stuff. Would also find other uses for one I'm sure.

#12 Nathan Strum OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:30 PM

Like so?

#13 Matthew OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:17 AM

I am ballparking on these figures:

3D Cad work on cart design - 300 to 500?

Factory set up/tooling/Injection Mold - 4000 to 6000?

Actual cost of new carts: 1 to 2 dollars each? (i could be way off on this)

Shipping costs?


Double that!.

Die set would be at least $12,000.

#14 S1500 ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:57 AM

With all our advancements in technology, makin' cheap plastic stuff(ie the pillar of WalMart) is still that expensive? I'm a little surprised. Sure, there's the 3D printers & such as MakerBot. From what I've seen of it, it uses a liquid precisely drawn into a 3D shape. Nowhere near as precise as molding. Hmm.

#15 Byte Knight ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:57 AM

I have considered buying a 3D printer just to experiment with this stuff. Would also find other uses for one I'm sure.

Like so?


Wow, does that look cool! Not only could you make your own carts, you could also make custom consoles and joysticks...

#16 HelloAtariJason OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 20, 2012 4:23 PM

I agree. I hate the idea of killing carts, even commons. But they're so cheap it seems it old be hard to build new ones at a competitive price.


I love the idea on increasing the rarity of those common carts, well at least theoretically, what's infinity minus 1,000 again?

#17 stringfellow OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:21 PM

I have to agree that killing carts no matter how common bothers me. There are people that believe it or not like pac-man and e.t.

#18 AtariBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:32 PM

yeah, i hate to think of all those carts gone forever. doesnt some place or someone have the old molds from the originals

#19 Silntdoogood OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:37 PM

Maybe one day someone will dig up all the ET carts, then you guys could use them for homebrews! They would be perfectly preserved.


I'm pretty sure they ran a steamroller over them...I mean, some might have survived...but if they're dug up, the ebay value would be amazing...if there was some way to authenticate the claim. THEN YOU COULD BUY EVEN MORE ETs to home-brewize!

#20 esplonky OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:39 PM

Maybe one day someone will dig up all the ET carts, then you guys could use them for homebrews! They would be perfectly preserved.

I'm pretty sure they ran a steamroller over them...I mean, some might have survived...but if they're dug up, the ebay value would be amazing...if there was some way to authenticate the claim. THEN YOU COULD BUY EVEN MORE ETs to home-brewize!




Atari rolled over them in a steam roller, buried them, and put a thick layer of concrete over them so people wouldn't dig them up, its dangerous with wild animals out there

Edited by esplonky, Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:40 PM.


#21 Syntaxerror999 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:50 AM

Assuming we start using fabricated shells... do they really have to be to Atari specs? Wouldn't a reproduction of activision like cart or even a simpler shell work just as well... besides where the hell are you gonna find that v shaped spring?

#22 Matthew OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 21, 2012 3:14 AM

One way to make a new cart is to CNC machine one. A lot quicker than 3d printing them.



This is your best bet for small production runs.

#23 Cynicaster OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:14 AM

I'm pretty sure there are way more Missile Command, Asteroids, and Pac-man cartridges floating around out there than there are people who would ever care to own them. Just think about how easy it is today to get these games, and then consider that the number of people in the market for them is only going to decrease as time goes on. Might as well use them for something, and a home brew sounds better than landfill padding.

#24 solidcorp OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:35 PM

One way to make a new cart is to CNC machine one. A lot quicker than 3d printing them.

This is your best bet for small production runs.


CNC is not used, as far as I know, to produce plastic parts for production, it is however used extensively for metal parts. For plastics, CNC and 3D printing are generally slow processes used to make high precision prototypes or molds. I suggest designing and fabricating a prototype, then make a silicon or polyester mold and cast shells it in using resin. Original Atari cartridge halves could be used to make flexible (silicone) molds as well.

http://www.freemansupply.com/ Serious manufacturer and supplier for casting from hobbiest to industrial applications - great videos on their site and interesting newsletter.
http://www.smooth-on.com/ More retail sort of distributor for casting supplies, mostly for artists.
http://www.alumilite.com/ Casting supplies, more geared towards hobbiests and small projects, they have kits and good videos too but are unnecessarily expensive.

D. Scott Williamson

#25 Shawn Sr. OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 21, 2012 1:05 PM

This post makes me wonder what VGWiz did with his mold. :?


He's willing to make more and\or sell the mold last I heard BUT he wants a minimum order of like 1000 units.




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