Designing 3-D cases: vDrive & Q68

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bwinkel67
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Re: Designing 3-D cases: vDrive & Q68

Postby bwinkel67 » Sat Jan 18, 2020 6:12 pm

tofro wrote:You are aware that there is a nicely designed QL Microdrive case at Thingiverse for download?


This is the only one I am aware of:

09d8a8708f0dc1380389c5b46bc31ad4_preview_featured.jpg


...and I made the point that this is way too big, being the depth and height of the QL. The purpose of my original vDrive mod was to create a nice small footprint and then design a case to fit that mod. So if you don't mind having a macro case for an SD micordrive then yes, that case works great (if it fits). I'm actually looking for inspiration in style from it in my next step. But you won't be able to put the vDrive, as is, into my newly designed case unless you do the simple mod first (check out original post of this thread).


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Re: Designing 3-D cases: vDrive & Q68

Postby Peter » Sat Jan 18, 2020 10:27 pm

bwinkel67 wrote:I also had a crazy idea of purchasing an empty QL case and seeing how to fit the Q68 within it. I think there should be enough room and using extenders for all the Q68 ports (even for the SD cards) you could get most QL ports filled. Then print some covers to make the backside panel of the QL conform to those extension of the Q68.

Do you target a british or international QL case?
For the German QL case, a long aluminium bracket is also something I'd consider. A mechanically robust solution, also providing RF shielding.
I must have published my CAD data for the Q68 panels somewhere. If you can't find them, please feel free to contact me.

As for the QL matrix to PS/2 keyboard adaptor, I'm aware of several projects, but don't know how far they progressed.


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Re: Designing 3-D cases: vDrive & Q68

Postby bwinkel67 » Sat Jan 18, 2020 10:52 pm

Peter wrote:Do you target a british or international QL case?
For the German QL case, a long aluminium bracket is also something I'd consider. A mechanically robust solution, also providing RF shielding.
I must have published my CAD data for the Q68 panels somewhere. If you can't find them, please feel free to contact me.

As for the QL matrix to PS/2 keyboard adaptor, I'm aware of several projects, but don't know how far they progressed.


I'm in the US so I have a similar backplane with regard to the serial and joystick ports. If I were to go for putting the Q68 into a stock QL case I think printing out black 3-D printed covers that fit from the inside would be easiest since, as long as you have a 3-D printer, you can, via trial-and-error, design it until it fits and then also have one for UK and one for international and distribute it as STL files so anyone can print them.

That said, I think I'll first try and see if I can create a Q68 case from scratch and give it some QL stylings. My first task, once I've printed and fitted the case for the mod'ed vDrive, is to then add some grill lines and vent holes to make it look a bit more like the QL. Maybe also those horizontal lines that run across every inch. After that experience I'll be better prepared to create something that looks good.

I don't know anything about texturing for 3-D printing but luckily at the univeristy I work we have a 3-D printing lab and I can ask my colleague if that's at all possible and if you do that through the design phase or just use different material, etc. I do see a lot of student projects that have textures so I don't know if that's a side effect from the particular machine or built into the design. School is starting up so progress on the latter will be a bit slower but I haven't gotten the Q68 yet and will likely play with it first before then sticking it into a case I build :-)


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Re: Designing 3-D cases: vDrive & Q68

Postby bwinkel67 » Sat Jan 18, 2020 10:59 pm

...but I do want to tinker beyond that with the Q68 so I think at one point (maybe late spring) I will try and fit it into a stock case. That'll give me time to scour eBay, etc, for one. I'd rather not take my QL apart again (having already completely disassembled it down to the case at least once as I had to re-solder the power plug connector which is on the back side of the motherboard).

I do have one rule which is that I don't want to take a working QL out of circulation so it has to be perhaps a bottom part (2 presently on eBay) and a top part (currently none with keyboard still attached). So maybe by summer I will have found one and then I'll try that fit, just for fun, and document it for others to give it a go if they want. I seem to like 3-D modeling so far so I don't mind designing internal brackets, etc...


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Re: Designing 3-D cases: vDrive & Q68

Postby Peter » Mon Jan 20, 2020 8:32 am

bwinkel67 wrote:That said, I think I'll first try and see if I can create a Q68 case from scratch and give it some QL stylings.

Sounds fantastic! I'd be happy to use such a case, especially if it contains two extra holes for QLNET jack sockets at the side, and "Q68" 3D letters like the "QL" letters of the original. Also nice would be less height, maybe moving the power switch away from the front panel.

I designed the Q68 for a metal case, mainly because of the RF shielding, and designing classic front and back panels is easier than learning 3D design & printing. All I could do is choose a case with some grooves, which is at least black with QL-style white text on the back. But while I think it looks quite sharp, it could certainly use even more QL appeal.

How would you achieve RF shielding? By spraying a metal layer inside?


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Re: Designing 3-D cases: vDrive & Q68

Postby Pr0f » Mon Jan 20, 2020 8:51 am

can you still get aquadag paint, would that work as an RF shield?


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Re: Designing 3-D cases: vDrive & Q68

Postby bwinkel67 » Mon Jan 20, 2020 9:42 am

Peter wrote:Sounds fantastic! I'd be happy to use such a case, especially if it contains two extra holes for QLNET jack sockets at the side, and "Q68" 3D letters like the "QL" letters of the original. Also nice would be less height, maybe moving the power switch away from the front panel.

I designed the Q68 for a metal case, mainly because of the RF shielding, and designing classic front and back panels is easier than learning 3D design & printing. All I could do is choose a case with some grooves, which is at least black with QL-style white text on the back. But while I think it looks quite sharp, it could certainly use even more QL appeal.

How would you achieve RF shielding? By spraying a metal layer inside?


Electronic shielding paint is available on eBay for about $13 to paint the interior of the case (both halves). Would cheap metallic spray paint also work I wonder? I personally wouldn't unless the interference is too much...Is the Q68 putting out a large amount of RF interference?

If you follow some of the retro YouTube'rs they seem to suggest it's not as critical anymore and the equipment works just fine. Some models, depending on their region, never even had any shielding. They even strip it out of models they are refurbishing. I also think I've seen a Lego Q68 case out there which didn't seem to have shielding unless it also was painted internally.

As for the design, yes, I like low profile but it should have a QL (or Sinclair) feel. Of course that may be easier said than done. Also yes on QLNET jack accommodation -- was going to ask Derek once I get going on it. I'm still working on a low profile case for my mod'ed vDrive which will be a good test bed for experimenting with style. I want to add that similar grill pattern on its right side and those horizontal lines just to see what it looks like. Then, I'll see if I keep the sharp edges or curve them (the QL does sharp edges but other Sinclair items, like the Spectrum, curve them a bit).

When you say the power switch, are you saying the plug on front left? Note that I'm looking at pictures since my Q68 is being shipped to me as I write this :-) If so that could present a problem as you force individuals to mod their Q68 by soldering wires and adding a new connector that gets mounted elsewhere, unless you can find a somewhat flat right-angle connector that looks like it's part of the case. Of course I'm not going to sell this, it's just a case I want to create for my Q68 and then share the design on Thingiverse for others to print their own. So the design could be augmented to fit individual needs with the majority of it hopefully being good enough to remain the same.


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Re: Designing 3-D cases: vDrive & Q68

Postby Pr0f » Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:14 am

I think the shielding is to protect external devices from the RF radiation produced by the Q68 - as it's a fast switching digital device

I am sure it will work just fine outside a case, but it is probably not playing nice with the environment ;-)


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Re: Designing 3-D cases: vDrive & Q68

Postby Peter » Mon Jan 20, 2020 2:56 pm

bwinkel67 wrote:When you say the power switch, are you saying the plug on front left?

No, the power switch is not on the board (and not even mandatory) but added via external wiring. For the standard Q68 case, it is located over the audio socket at the front panel. If moved elsewhere, the case could be more flat.

Pictures of the Q68 case are here: https://qlforum.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=1919


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Re: Designing 3-D cases: vDrive & Q68

Postby Derek_Stewart » Mon Jan 20, 2020 4:46 pm

Hi,

The power switch on a cased Q68 is located on the front panel, which is connected to the 3 pin header on the Q68 PCB.

On uncased Q68 boards, I fit a jumper on the pin header, on pins 2-3

See Q68 manual, Chaper 2, page 4 for details.

It is important not to connect Pin 1, which is a Ground connection.

The Q68 Power Switch on a cased Q68, connects pin 2-3 to power the Q68.


Regards,

Derek

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