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Snow White Case Experiments

It’s been a few months since I experimented with some alternative laser-cut and 3D printed case designs for the Floppy Emu disk emulator. The most popular case concept was the Snow White design, intended to complement the design style and color of mid-1980’s Apple computers. I’ve continued to experiment with the Snow White design as time permitted, and have finally arrived at a laser-cut Snow White case that I’m mostly happy with.

The laser-cut case is constructed from the same matte white acrylic that I used in the last prototype, which is about as close to vintage Apple coloring as I can get. But instead of subtle engraving for the case lines and other details, they’re now cut-outs that go all the way through. It’s hard to see in the photos, but the matte acrylic also has a slight texture to it. This creates a look that’s quite different from the smooth gloss normally associated with acrylic. I like it a lot.

With this prototype, I also tweaked the button plunger size very slightly, which should help give the buttons a tighter feel.

A question to readers: What do you think about the single grooves on the lower part of the sides? Good or bad? I was trying to echo the design of the top plate’s lines, but I’m not sure if plain solid sides would be better.

   

   

   

Working with a friend, I also did a few more experiments with 3D printed cases. These look attractive and are quick to assemble, but I concluded they’re just too slow and expensive to manufacture. I won’t be making any more 3D printed cases, but the remaining 3D printed prototype cases are available for sale if anyone would like one.

   

My goal is to create a polished Snow White case option that I can offer as an alternative for people who prefer this style. Meanwhile, I’m also working on some refinements to the standard case… more on that soon!

Read 3 comments and join the conversation 

3 Comments so far

  1. The48thRonin February 16th, 2017 2:58 pm

    They look really nice! I do have some suggestions though. If you could do some kind of ‘deep’ engraving where the light still shows through, but you can’t see the boards (like on the 3D printed ones) that would be really neat I think. Additionally, if you’re going to use stripes on the sides, I don’t think they should be cutouts, and there should be at least two. I know it’s fairly nitpicky, but it’s just a suggestion to make them look (imo) even better than they already look, which is quite nice.

  2. Steve February 16th, 2017 4:24 pm

    Thanks! The previous attempt used the heaviest possible engraving, but it was still so subtle you could barely notice it – a drawback of this particular material. You can see a photo here: http://www.bigmessowires.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/snow-white-rev-angle-800.jpg To my eyes, the cut-outs are the more attractive option.

    Maybe solid sides would be best? Engraved side lines would be nearly invisible, and multiple cut-out lines on the sides would be a bit too much for something this small, I think.

    I probably don’t want to make any more big changes, but could tweak the cut-out size or placement, or give the cut-outs more rounded corners instead of a hard 90 degrees. Or I could just declare it good enough, and stop obsessing endlessly!

  3. Johan Kotze June 23rd, 2017 2:40 am

    Hi. The FloppyEmu appears to be a well designed device. I am curios though; would I be able to use it in other computers?

    I am busy preparing to build a Z80 based computer and ran into some hardware availability problems. It appears as if parallel EEPROMS of 32KB pr smaller are unobtainable in my part of the woods (South Africa.) In one of many YouTube videos, Ben Eater used an Arduino Nano to program EEPROMS. That gave me the idea of programming an Arduino Mega (mega IO-pins 🙂 ) to:
    – Handle one or more IIC EEPROMS
    – Serve as bootstrap device for my planned SBC which would have two 32KB SRAM chips. The second one could be banked in a later design.
    – Act as a floppy controller to interface to one or more IIC EEPROM chips
    – Handle at least one logical serial IO port (via Arduino’s serial port) to access my SBC

    At the moment all dreams, but I am trying. 🙂

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