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selgus

Atari Portable Project

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6 hours ago, _The Doctor__ said:

speakers up, thumbstick down maybe?

That may be able to work.. let me try some redesign with my current model. Thanks!

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So, after some modifications and design work, I was able to move the thumb-stick up enough and still work well for the end-users, plus add a second speaker to the other side of the upper layer. It actually has more symmetry now, and I am going to wire them in parallel, by making a Y connector which plugs into the motherboard. The second speaker can then be disconnected from the Y connector and used for stereo, if I ever do a mod. The current layout..

 

case-twin-speakers.thumb.png.c2efb55cd29cd4c90d30f4caf3bb2f4d.png

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While working on the enclosure, I decided to do another revision on the keyboard, to see if I could swap out the tactile switches (and remove the clicking sounds) while also shrinking the height. The tactile switches adds multiple mm of extra height, with the body and posts, that then need to "connect" with my key-caps. I was previously going to glue the key-caps onto the posts, but that doesn't allow for much post-assembly modification.

 

I have designed and manufactured a new keyboard PCB that utilizes metal dome keys, and modeled new keys that have a track inside of the keyboard enclosure base, to slide up and down inside. This solves my "connection" issue and allows me to shave about 5mm of height from the enclosure, which I see as a big win.

 

atari67xePortable-keyboard-r3.thumb.png.978155845652f192c3ed6fa14e575828.png

The new keyboard keys, now with each key with embossed labels, so I also solve the water decals for each of the keys. I can lightly paint all the keys, then "fill" the embossing with key label color..

 

keyboard-keys.thumb.png.54d001440f658e13becc98239a376857.png

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1 hour ago, selgus said:

While working on the enclosure, I decided to do another revision on the keyboard, to see if I could swap out the tactile switches (and remove the clicking sounds) while also shrinking the height. The tactile switches adds multiple mm of extra height, with the body and posts, that then need to "connect" with my key-caps. I was previously going to glue the key-caps onto the posts, but that doesn't allow for much post-assembly modification.

 

I have designed and manufactured a new keyboard PCB that utilizes metal dome keys, and modeled new keys that have a track inside of the keyboard enclosure base, to slide up and down inside. This solves my "connection" issue and allows me to shave about 5mm of height from the enclosure, which I see as a big win.

 

atari67xePortable-keyboard-r3.thumb.png.978155845652f192c3ed6fa14e575828.png

The new keyboard keys, now with each key with embossed labels, so I also solve the water decals for each of the keys. I can lightly paint all the keys, then "fill" the embossing with key label color..

 

keyboard-keys.thumb.png.54d001440f658e13becc98239a376857.png

this looks sweeeeeeet!

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It's missing the pseudo graphics characters though 🙂

Perhaps you could add them the way they are on the C64C keyboard.

IMG_7706.jpg

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6 minutes ago, pseudografx said:

It's missing the pseudo graphics characters though 🙂

Perhaps you could add them the way they are on the C64C keyboard.

It was a design decision I made, not to include them. On a normal XE keyboard, they are on the front facing surface of the key-caps, but I won't have that angle to see them, nor did I want to spend the time modeling them (for something that will provide very little value from my POV). Sorry.

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Finished the previous version's prints, and need to adjust a few things (make a couple walls thicker, bring in the sliding track for the LCD display, fixed the scale for the locking tabs), plus use the newer models with the dual speakers and metal dome keyboard. Also printing up all the 64 key caps with the embossed labeling. Coming along nicely..

 

enclosure.thumb.jpg.2ce608eddcd54201c4d5f215299322ca.jpg

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Thanks all. Applied all my changes from my test prints and the new keyboard mods, shrinking the depth of the enclosure, and am now printing the final design. I'm going to try dyeing the white nylon 12 parts, to see how that works with the embossed keys. Not sure if I'll dye or paint the case, to give it the ATARI grey. Now we just wait for the completion of the printing..

 

enclosuer-v1.0.thumb.png.4fc7d0ac414763e38751fc029e525c15.png

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Made a modification to the motherboard of the portable, to account for voltage differences needed for the LCD display. My current design works with the current LCD I am using, but testing with additional displays shows inconsistencies in powering them.

 

I am using low-cost automotive backup camera monitors as the displays for the ATARI portable, though they require a bit of modification before use (between $15 to $20). They are designed to be driven by the car's 12V battery, but the internal components need to that converted to other voltages. The monitors are made by multiple companies but they seem to mostly use very similar circuitry, based on the AMT630A Video Display Controller. This controller needs 3.3V for its voltage rails, but the LCD displays also need to drive the back lighting LEDs. These are normally multiple LEDs connected up, which need ~32V. So the LCD controller boards take in 12V and first (many of them, at least) convert it to 5V, then use that 5V to drive a step-up converter for the back lighting. That 5V is then passed through a 3.3V regulator for the AMT630A.

 

Now some monitors (like the one I selected first, and am currently using), bypass the 12V -> 5V conversion, and goes directly to 3.3V, which is used for both the controller and the back light. So my ATARI LCD connector takes in 3.3V, GND and VIDEO. To make it work with other variants of backup camera monitors, I have added a jumper on the motherboard, to select what VIDEO VCC should be. My ATARI motherboard has an on-board 3.3V regulator, which drives the video voltage. I added the jumper to be able to select 3.3V or 5V being sent over the video cable..

 

lcd-vcc-jumper.thumb.png.2b64db7ba82992b2aeb7426f4115825b.png

 

This doesn't affect me right now, but if I release the boards into the wild, I'd want to be able to use multiple LCD displays. It is impossible to know what voltage is used internally, without actually measuring at different points on the LCD controller board. Out of the 3 backup camera monitors I've disassembled and tested, each used a slightly different controller board (even being the same brand).

 

Oh, and the modifications needed for the controller boards involve routing the VIDEO VCC line to after the initial 12V converter, to either drive the 5V logic, or the 3.3V logic, whichever is appropriate for that board. Also, I remove the unused components from the circuit, so they are not causing possible draw of current (if they don't have a diode already in place). 

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Received my revised keyboard PCBs that can take metal domes, instead of the tactile switches. Still waiting on the full order of metal domes though (I have around 30 samples I've been using for testing). Once I get enough, I'll build up one of these PCBs. I can start with all the passives and ICs first, though..

 

keyboard.thumb.jpg.54496f57aa07adeba22074de5c710e03.jpg

 

Also, completed a full set of the 3D printed key caps, and well, key sizes and shapes came out nice.. but the embossed labeling was a fail. Some of the keys, that just had a larger single emboss turned out better, but most detail was lost. I am going to attempt making the embossing deeper and thickening up the font I am using, while also making the labels larger. I will need to take some liberties with the actual scaling compared to the real XE keyboard labels, but I'd like to try to get embossing working..

 

keys.thumb.jpg.6422345c42f552d3d1d349a77f252676.jpg

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What are you using to print those keys? They look like they have been sandblasted or put through a tumbler to remove surface artifacts which will ruin fine detail. I've found fff to be inadequate for the level of detail needed. Given that your keys are solid and just rest against metal domes the brittleness of resin might not be a issue for you, in that case it would certainly have the required resolution, I'd be a bit worried about the strength of the flanges at the base of the keys over time, maybe use tough resin, it's almost as strong as PLA. 

 

You can still use those failed prints for testing the functionality which is useful. 

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4 hours ago, Mr Robot said:

What are you using to print those keys? They look like they have been sandblasted or put through a tumbler to remove surface artifacts which will ruin fine detail. I've found fff to be inadequate for the level of detail needed. Given that your keys are solid and just rest against metal domes the brittleness of resin might not be a issue for you, in that case it would certainly have the required resolution, I'd be a bit worried about the strength of the flanges at the base of the keys over time, maybe use tough resin, it's almost as strong as PLA. 

This is using SLS nylon 12, and there wasn't suppose to be any post-processing on them. I am doing another test print now, with a few specific keys with adjusted embossing, using a a couple of different materials. I will check the results and figure out how I will redo all the keys.

 

And yes, it was just a "failure" as a final print that could be dyed and filled. For testing it is just fine. Plus I am going to try my water decals I've made, then clear coat them and see how that turns out.

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the SLS explains both the texture and the resolution. you get that grainy effect from the fused powder and while its great for nice strong prints, the resolution is pretty low compared with even FFF printers. Stratasys claim a resolution of 0.030-0.050" which is 0.8-1.2mm while even a cheap FFF printer can manage 0.4mm. You can get close to SLA resolution if you use a 0.2mm nozzle with a 0.1mm layer height. I've seen some astonishing prints of miniatures at that resolution. 

 

I've been trying to find a way to home make a pad printer but there is a lot of mechanical parts that need to be metalworked and the pads are still very expensive. The tech seems to be being replaced with dye sub printing for custom keycaps but dye sub printers are just stupid expensive so out of reach for home or hobbyist users. 

 

There's a real hole in the market for a reasonably priced inkjet that uses alcohol inks on irregular surfaces like keycaps. Industrial alcohol inkjets are horribly low resolution and monochrome so they tend to only get used for spraying the best before markers on products and stuff like that. 

 

I've seen some attempts to laser etch keycaps and fill the etch with ink and the results arent bad but that is on injection moulded keycaps, rubbing ink into 3d printed keys is impossible to do as it sticks to all the lines. It might be possible to print a 2 colour key and burn through the first layer to expose the colour underneath but I've not seen the results of people trying that 

 

 

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I'm going to try a test with my new label geometry, to use Multi-Color Polyjet material and modify my objects to remove the embossing, having the labels slightly raised, embedded into the keycaps. Then compare to the other materials I am already testing. Let the best technique win!

 

 

keycaps-color-keys.thumb.png.a4046c0d76f1cbbde53f97a83b932d93.png

 

keycaps-color-labels.thumb.png.b5ba03934bed2014d67188150ac6cbb5.png

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Did some work on the keyboard keycaps, increasing the typeface sizes and height, to work better for printing and for readability in the actual product. Need to keep in mind how small these keys are in the portable.

 

Did a test print with a few of the keycaps, to see how some of the label sizing will work in practice. I'm doing it with a full color printing material, call High Definition Full Color, because when I tried costing it out using Multi-Color Polyjet material, for just these 6 test keycaps, it was an order of magnitude more expensive! I have a few different tests going on in parallel right now, so I'll post when I have some results.

 

keyboard-multicolor.thumb.png.8a27eac2d8b9b8d17433b9c9223ef23e.png

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Finished building up the main keyboard, though still need to attach the connection header.. with all the metal dome switches and their dust covers/adhesive. Much lower profile than the tactile switches, which I really do like..

 

keyboard.thumb.jpg.9a035fcb965afb35d9c2bb1bbb589ec3.jpg

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Was running some printing tests on the keycaps, after adjusting some embossing sizes and depths. First, the SLS Nylon 12.. it was better defined than the first test, but still not high enough definition to be able to read/fill in with a second color..

 

keys-test-sls.thumb.jpg.d0228d41e340a330cddba411edccb39e.jpg

 

Then I tried a fine detail plastic printing, resin-based acrylic plastic.. this worked remarkably well, with great definition. I want to see how this takes dye, or if it will need to be lightly painted..

 

keys-test-highdef.thumb.jpg.c92c46ad79c784872659b324a4528155.jpg

 

I still have one more set of tests I'm printing, where it is using full color (so the labels will be filled in a different color than the actual keys). If I can get this quality with two-tone printing, that would be my preference.

 

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Some more 3D print compares and results.. first, my next version that had the bottom section containing the enclosure walls, with the middle section fastened on top of that. This was problematic for mounting the motherboard PCB, with its ports and controls on the sides..

 

case-ver1.thumb.jpg.bdc1cfb9bd2b5662d4d61154314b08db.jpg

 

So I had redesigned it to split the enclosure walls to have the upper half part of the middle model section, solving this issue.. (here I have a few of the keycaps fitted in place, to test for clearance)

 

case-ver2.thumb.jpg.fd95541dd9055967583a60e8d28193e6.jpg

 

With the sections sitting on top of each other..

 

case-keys.thumb.jpg.f1083e6d2b7c1594f20aa47fbac3b4e8.jpg

 

and the top section next..

 

case-top.thumb.jpg.4d799f4165f62cc53f84bef3b0d27fa7.jpg

 

There were a few issues with some of my Boole operations for the bottom screw holes and wells around them.. so will be printing yet another version that fixes them.. plus I had to fix some indentation reliefs on the bottom of the middle keyboard PCB mounting area (as I modified the PCB, but forgot to fix the 3D model too). I think I just need to do one more print and it should be complete.

 

Here is the display in the open and closed positions, as it slides up and down the top section..

 

case-display-up.thumb.jpg.6ec62ab14d8e33fa407839d1a9cef172.jpgcase-display-down.thumb.jpg.85293fdcfe5d1718b5396a6b4f2b45dc.jpg

 

 

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This is really starting to come together. How will you be latching the screen open/closed? 

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