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bettablue
May 26th, 2012, 04:37 PM
I just came acrross an auction of an IBM 5150 PC with a full front face plate. I know this has been beat to death previously, but I was wondering if anyone has ever thought about getting someone who can vaccuum form these. It can't be all that hard to come up with a design.

I contaced a companny here in Las Vegas about that possibility. While I have yet to hear back, I remember a while back that there seems to be a decent demand, at least for a limmitted run. What would you all consider a "fair" price for one of these full front face plates to cover both drives on an IBM PC?

I know I want one, if nothing else, but to protect the open floppy drives from dirt and dust while not in use.

What do you think? If I can get them to make a series of these, would any of you be interested?

k2x4b524[
May 26th, 2012, 04:44 PM
i'd be interested for sure in about 6 of them *sigh*

VintageComputerman
May 26th, 2012, 05:08 PM
How about laser etched?

bettablue
May 27th, 2012, 07:28 AM
I haven't mentioned laser etching, but I'm sure that will add to the final cost of each one. Besides, I did think about having the IBM logo etched in either of the upper corners or right above the handle. Price is what's keeping me from asking about itthough. I still need to find out if the company wants to do it yet.

If things go right, and the price is reasonable, I "may" ask about etching the IBM logo. Where would you like to see the logo? Or was it something else you want etched onto the face plate cover?

bettablue
May 27th, 2012, 07:32 AM
My initial introduction with the company, we talked about possibly making 50 of them to start off. I would expect that with that quantity, prices should be around $8.00 to $12.00 each, plus shipping. I may do like someone else here did when he commissioned to have the cork "feet" made. When they arrives, he did all of his own packaging and shipping to save the end user. I'll look into doing that here. But only if I can get all 50 sold before I even have them make their first run.


i'd be interested for sure in about 6 of them *sigh*

pearce_jj
May 27th, 2012, 07:53 AM
Can you post a picture of what it is you're intending to make?

Chuck(G)
May 27th, 2012, 07:56 AM
Second that, let's see a good photo.

Stone
May 27th, 2012, 08:10 AM
Can you post a picture of what it is you're intending to make?IIRC they're working on making this:


9075 9076

And IIRC once again, you're looking for this item, yourself.

As this is my last one and I still have a large hole in my XT it's been impossible to part with it.

Chuck(G)
May 27th, 2012, 08:19 AM
Hmm, I'd call that a "blanking plate". There was also a cover plate that fit the entire floppy area on a 5150/60 to keep out dust (and crud being sucked into the floppy drives).

So which are we talking about?

As far as the texture, that's easy--"haircell" is a standard finish on ABS sheet--all you need do is get a sheet and cut it into the appropriate shape:

http://www.totalplastics.com/assets/0000/1821/ABS-Haircell-Texture_large.jpg

If you wanted a blanking plate, just take some of the ABS scrap and glue some on the back--ABS is flexible and you should be able to get a very snug snap-in fit.

Stone
May 27th, 2012, 08:21 AM
Ahh, yes, you're thinking of this one:

http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/showthread.php?14393-IBM-PC-cover-plate-over-drives

But, the "blanking plate", as you called has a full metal backplate with a locking snap to secure it in the drive bay.

bettablue
May 27th, 2012, 08:25 AM
Sorry, I forgot to include it. The attached photo was taken from a system for sale on E-Bay. The black cover is what I'm trying to have made. The initial quantity of 50 seems doable, but once everyone here buys theirs, any that might be left over could sit for years, so I really would like to get enough commitments to cover the first 50 before I tell the company to go for it.

That is unless someone here can make them. It shouldn't be hard at all if you have the material and a vaccuum molding setup.

bettablue
May 27th, 2012, 08:31 AM
Sorry stone, not this time. ;-) I just posted a reply with a pic of what I'm talking about.

What I'm talking about isn't a blanking plate. It's just a dust cover to protect the floppy drives for dirt and dust while the system is in use. If it's made properly, it will fit kind of snugly, so that by simply pressing into place, it will stay put. But it also shouldn't bee too tight that it's hard to remove, because then you're asking for other wear issues on both the cover and the computer' front plastic casing.

I wish someone in the forums would make a batch and sell them. It would probably be cheaper. I know how to make things like this, but I don't have any of the required equipment. Plastic sheeting is fairly cheap though, so if someone had the setup, it should be a fairly easy thing to make. And, once the initial setup is done and the original mold is made, it would be fairly simple to reload for another small batch.



IIRC they're working on making this:


9075 9076

And IIRC once again, you're looking for this item, yourself.

As this is my last one and I still have a large hole in my XT it's been impossible to part with it.

bettablue
May 27th, 2012, 08:45 AM
Oh, no stone. I already know you can't part with your blanking plate. Those are very rare and almost impossible to come by. I' already went that rout with you. But when the new ones are finally released, I would buy a couple just -in-case. Same goes for the cover I'm talking about. Once I get something worked out, I'll probably buy a couple.

You know, I wish I had a shop to set up a vaccuum molding station. I bet with a little work, and one other person, we could crank these out pretty quickly. The hard part would be to trim them properly after the molding process. But even that is just a simple sanding operation. I hate knowing how to do things, but not being able to do them because of my disabilities. Having only one arm that works makes it difficult to do much at all any way, especially when I have to use it to control the wheelchair.



Sorry stone, not this time. ;-) I just posted a reply with a pic of what I'm talking about.

What I'm talking about isn't a blanking plate. It's just a dust cover to protect the floppy drives for dirt and dust while the system is in use. If it's made properly, it will fit kind of snugly, so that by simply pressing into place, it will stay put. But it also shouldn't bee too tight that it's hard to remove, because then you're asking for other wear issues on both the cover and the computer' front plastic casing.

I wish someone in the forums would make a batch and sell them. It would probably be cheaper. I know how to make things like this, but I don't have any of the required equipment. Plastic sheeting is fairly cheap though, so if someone had the setup, it should be a fairly easy thing to make. And, once the initial setup is done and the original mold is made, it would be fairly simple to reload for another small batch.

Chuck(G)
May 27th, 2012, 08:47 AM
It'd probably be easier on the case paint if you used a bit of black felt around the circumference instead of trying to get an exact fit. Rubber or cork would also work.

bettablue
May 27th, 2012, 08:49 AM
Thanks Chuck! Simple yet effective solution to a simple problem. Perfect! I'll run that by the manufacturer.


It'd probably be easier on the case paint if you used a bit of black felt around the circumference instead of trying to get an exact fit. Rubber or cork would also work.

pearce_jj
May 27th, 2012, 10:16 AM
I've not seen those before but would be interested in one. The only thing though from my experience with vacuum forming, I have some reservations on the quality of the finish available.

MaTel
May 28th, 2012, 01:26 AM
I would be interested in 3 pieces

Shadow Lord
May 28th, 2012, 11:51 PM
Depending on price I'd take a minimum of 6 (for personal use) up to 10 (always nice to have backups). The texture and fit has to be right though. You may want to talk to a company that does ABS work. It maybe easier to just cut them out then try and mold them.

I know the question has been asked before but it sort of came up again (in regards to "should we put an IBM logo on it"). IBM never made such an item for the 5150 body mold. Anything you see is after market. So aside from the legality of putting an IBM logo on it ,there is also the issue that it would be a complete fake w/ an IBM logo. Best to go with just a blank face IMHO but if the logo is done tastefully I won't complain ;).

per
May 29th, 2012, 06:10 AM
Thanks Chuck! Simple yet effective solution to a simple problem. Perfect! I'll run that by the manufacturer.

The original ones actually have a strip of beige rubberish foam around the edges. I have a photo right here that shows this quite well: http://oldibmpc.sitesled.com/xt/Drives2.JPG

The system I got the plate from also had extensions for five of the wider keys on the keyboard (both shift keys, enter, backspace and tab). You can se such an extension on the enter key in the image attached to post #11. It also had a conductive discharge strip attached to the space-key.

bettablue
May 29th, 2012, 09:54 AM
Personally, I didn't really want to have any etching on them any way. The additional cost may be OK for some people, but for most others, I think they would appreciate saving as much money as possible. I agree though that having a nice IBM logo would look pretty, but overall, I have to agree more with Chuck.

When I meet with them about making these plates, I'll make sure to take chuck's photo with me. That way, they'll have a more complete picture of the design. Leaving an ectra roll over to give the felt an attachment point won't be hard to fit into the overall design either, but it really depends on what they can or can't do. I expect that they'll also be able to do ABS work as well. But these things will have to wait until I can set up a meeting, which I'm hoping to get done by the end of this week. If this company doesn't come through, then I'll try another. The primary things I'm going for are to keep the cost down and still have a quality product.

I'll keep you all informed.

So far, I have accounted for 20 of these faceplates. And that's just for the vaccuum forming and cutting. I'll be adding a felt edge protector myself. These aren't confirmed orders. I expect that that the number number will fall as soon as the actual price is announced. However, as soon as I hear back from them, I'll know more. Right now I am just trying to get a feel for how many to order. This will probably be a single one time order, so I'll want to know how many to account for, and be as close as possible to the actual total I'll need.

Of course, I'll have to ship them my home address. So please remember, once I have a cost for each unit, that cost doesn't include shipping. I'm not into this to make any money. Personally I just don't care if I could make up to $10.00 each for myself. All I want out of it is to get three of these covers for my own systems. I'll account for my own as well, so that when it comes time, I'll end up paying the same for mine as everyone else, or at least as close as possible.

As a final note, since I'm expecting this to be a one time order, if your name isn't in my inbox for a certain number, I won't be able to guarantee that there will be any left if someone decides to try to get one or more later. If, however, the company I'm working with are willing and can handle mutiple orders, I'll pass their info on to everyone here so you can order the plastic portion yourself if you wish. Then you can add your own felt edging, or whatever.

ChrisCwmbran
May 29th, 2012, 10:41 AM
Had you thought about changing the design so that the protective plate actually looks like either a pair of floppy drives, or a floppy and hard drive combo? I know it might add to the price, but I just thought it was an idea worth some thought.

bettablue
May 29th, 2012, 10:44 AM
OK, I just got off the phone with Matthew Catterson, Product Development Manager, Quality Plastics Inc. in Sparks NV. Matt is very familiar with the IBM PC /XT. In fact, he sounded kind of excited to be making something for these computers. Not excited enough though (read on)

We spent a good hour talking about different methods of manufacturing these dust covers. He likes the ABS rout for simplicity, and cost effectiness. Matt suggested a 2 piece design with a handle screwed in through the back. Total thickness is 3/8" to 1/2" The front will be one solid piece, however, he plans to attach another piece to the back to act as a sort of lip to add some thickness to the edge and allow for the use of a filler. Then by doing a slight machineing of the edge, they would fill the edge with a felt "filler" to make the piece fit properly and not just fall out. The handle will also be designed so that the use will have a much better grasp.

So, the design sounds perfect. But, I was not impressed with the price. Mat gave me a preliminary cost of $30.00 for each completed cover. Personally, I would buy one. I like his idea of layering the plastics and working the edge so that it wouldn't have to be an exact fit. I even like his idea of using a slightly different handle. But in order to get 50 of these, that comes out to a grand total of $1500.00.

I can't afford that. I doubt that many of you would pay $30.00 plus shipping for one of these either. And I still think it could be done a lot cheaper with a single piece of sheet plastic and the vaccuum molding technique for about $10.00 a piece, or less. I bet the cover in the E-Bay auction was made by vaccuum molding too. OK, So, with this news, I'm going to look around at some other plastics manufacturing companies. So far, I am not impressed.

Any other ideas?

ChrisCwmbran
May 29th, 2012, 10:53 AM
You might find this is a way forward:

http://www.shapeways.com/

I haven't used them personally but lots of people seem to rate them.

bettablue
May 29th, 2012, 11:39 AM
You might find this is a way forward: http://www.shapeways.com/

Thanks Chris. I'm looking into this right now. I have to admit though, I never thought of 3D printing. The materials they use look pretty good too. If they can make these covers out of their rubberized plastic, there may not be any need for an edge piece either. I'll be contacting them shortly.

The only thing about these, is that I'll need someone to do the #D modeling. Any takers?

bettablue
May 30th, 2012, 11:05 AM
I just contacted another plastics manufacturer in Las Vegas. P&A Plastics at http://www.pandaplastics.com/contact.html. They seem to be a little more interested in doing business, but wouldn't give me a quote over the phone. The owner was even ready to do a run off of only a couple of units for just me when he found out what I was asking, but when I told him that I want 50, he opened up a bit more. I think I may have found the people I'll be working with. As soon as I get a rough quote, I'll call him back with the exact measurements and an exact cutout of the IBM PC's opening.

My IBM 5150 and expansion unit are currently at a friends home and not in my possession; so, can someone here get me a JPEG or PDF showing the exact measurements of the opening we're trying to cover. The photo or cutout should be actual size. I can't stress this enough, but I need the exact measurements to pass on. I also need the cutout to show the curvature of the rounded corners, and this cutout should also be 1:1 size ratio.

The plastics comany here, also is familiar with the IBM PC and it's peculiar design of having the floppy and hard drives built with their own face plate to dress the opening. But like the other plastic company, they don't have one to use as a model. That's why I need to get the measurements and the cutout.

Shadow Lord
May 30th, 2012, 11:13 AM
If they are local your best bet is to get your unit from your friend and take it in to them so they can take the measurements themselves. This way they get the measurements the way they want it, see the textures directly, and if they screw up the size its on them not you for providing a bad template.

Jimmy
May 30th, 2012, 12:24 PM
Thomas:

Can the company make a mold from an original, would that be easier?

Jimmy

bettablue
May 30th, 2012, 08:13 PM
personally, I would love to take my over to them, but I think having a plastic front for them to keep as they make a prototype and later the actual piece would be the best way. Besides, as I mentioned, the system is not at my home. My best friend has it and is working to get the rest of the configurations completed, IRQs assigned etc. Also, I don't like taking my rquipment anywhere like that. The chance of doing some damage to the system increase with each move. My problem is that I am wheelchair bound. I only have one arm that works decently, and the other is used to drive the power chair, so manipulating the computer with one arm is just asking for trouble.

That's why I want to try to get a 1:1 cutout, and the measurements from another computer A simple photograph of the opening taken at least 7 feet away with a telephoto lens to crop into the area the cover will be going will do the trick. As long as the pic is straight on I can resize it to give them something to work with.

Barring that, I'll have to wait two weeks till my friend get's back fro a funeral in order to get the pic and measurements.


Thomas:

Can the company make a mold from an original, would that be easier?

Jimmy

Jimmy
May 31st, 2012, 06:22 AM
Thomas:

What I mean is an original plastic cover, I have both the cover for the disk drive bay and the keyboard cover.

Jimmy

bettablue
May 31st, 2012, 06:51 AM
absolutely! That would make it a lot easier for them. Now Jimmy, do you have the full drive bay cover to cover both of the drives on the front of the PC.

If you have one that I could take to them, that would be fantastic!. Let me know Jimmy.


Thomas:

What I mean is an original plastic cover, I have both the cover for the disk drive bay and the keyboard cover.

Jimmy

Jimmy
May 31st, 2012, 08:31 AM
Thomas:

You mean like these.

Jimmy

9153

Chuck(G)
May 31st, 2012, 08:55 AM
Just a little plug for ABS.

Back in the old days in the 70s, I was pretty tight with the head of the model shop and the mechanical engineers. The first computer case was made using sheet acrylic, machined on a Bridgeport mill, then finally painted. It was tough enough to go with the early prototypes on the trade show route. The production cases were molded from high-density structural foam and painted. The prototype case was very useful for the guys making the forms.

When we needed to do an external hard drive case, it was a bit more involved than a desktop system case. The hard drive, being a 14" Shugart SA-4000, was big. A case would be at least the size of a 3-suit suitcase.

The model shop guy nixed handling big sheets of acrylic as being too cubersome and brittle to work with. He used sheet ABS, rough-cut with an ordinary circular saw (fine-tooth blade) and glued up with ABS cement. A lot of work was done on a shaper, but overall, it took less time to do a case. Painted, you couldn't tell the difference from the acrylic one.

If someone wanted to do a set of these very simple covers, one could probably do a very acceptable job in a home shop using sheet ABS. Any edge trim could be performed on a router table. Any moderately-equipped woodshop owner would make short work of this job.

ABS will last a lot longer than, say, a styrene unit--which the originals probably are.

Just my .02.

bettablue
May 31st, 2012, 10:09 AM
Very similar. If I see this correctly, The large one looks like a keyboard cover, and the smaller would be the full drive bay.

If I can get them though, the ones I'm having made are all tectured black plastic. From what I have been talking with this last company though, it looks promising. I told them what we wanted, and I gave them my price point as a goal. They seemed to be interested. I'm just waiting for the final word. If they will let me have them at $10.00 per unit, I'll start taking orders. I know they'll want a guarantee of 50 units, so I hope that when it comes right down to it, all of the ones people have told me that they want, will still want them. As of right now, I can account for 20. So, I'll need to not only get my price point, but I'll have to sell all 50 before I can even have them made up. That's the fun part. I'll expect that once I have them all here, shipping will add about 2 to 3 per package too. I'll deal with that when the time comes.


Thomas:

You mean like these.

Jimmy

9153

pearce_jj
May 31st, 2012, 10:55 AM
Don't forget to factor in costs associated with e.g. PayPal and jiffi bags or however else you'll pack them.

bettablue
May 31st, 2012, 11:39 AM
There are a lot of options and things that affect the end price, like the cost of packaging and shipping. I also like the idea of working with ABS. I just wish I had the equipment and a place to do the work. It really would be a piece of cake to make these things. The most expensive thing to purchase is the ABS itself. Damn, I want to do this.

Regardless which way these things are made, it's a very easy piece to make. May'be I'll look at trying to get some used tools and try to make these myself.


Don't forget to factor in costs associated with e.g. PayPal and jiffi bags or however else you'll pack them.

marcoguy
May 31st, 2012, 11:58 AM
Just an idea, why not sell these on your site? Also, you can put me down for one.

Shadow Lord
May 31st, 2012, 12:20 PM
Are you also making the keyboard covers or just the dust covers? If both, can they be ordered separately? While I'd be interested in 10 of the dust covers at $10 a piece I would only need 3 (maybe 4) keyboard covers.

per
May 31st, 2012, 12:24 PM
Very similar. If I see this correctly, The large one looks like a keyboard cover, and the smaller would be the full drive bay.

That's correct. The keyboard cover is semi-transparrent, and exactly the same as the one I got with a system that also had a faceplate.
See http://oldibmpc.sitesled.com/xt/Keyb1.JPG.

It seems like this was some sort of set; Faceplate, keyboard cover and keyboard-key extensions.

bettablue
May 31st, 2012, 04:50 PM
I'm only interested in making, or having someone make the drive bay covers. While a keyboard cover might me nice, there is a lot more work involved with the keyboard cover due to the contures of the top of the keyboard itself. Matching the curve on top of the keyboard will be a bear.




Are you also making the keyboard covers or just the dust covers? If both, can they be ordered separately? While I'd be interested in 10 of the dust covers at $10 a piece I would only need 3 (maybe 4) keyboard covers.

mikey99
June 1st, 2012, 06:33 AM
Will the drive bay cover work correctly (insert fully/stay inserted) even if the diskette drive is open ?
I notice that some diskette drive levers protrude slightly more than others and wondering if this might
interfere with the cover.

Shadow Lord
August 31st, 2012, 07:51 AM
Just wondering if there was any progress on this front?

bettablue
August 31st, 2012, 08:15 AM
I haven't heard anything from the guy I have been working with, so I'll drop him a line to see if he's got his equipment up and running. I have already passed on everything as far as the type of materials, dimensions etc, so I'm with you. I just don't have any idea what the holdup is.

I'll post a reply was soon as I hear something.


Just wondering if there was any progress on this front?

paul
August 31st, 2012, 02:08 PM
I have one of these covers, it seems to be molded from polycarbonate and is a smoked brown color. It has .25" x .12" closed-cell self-adhesive foam around the outside, still in excellent condition considering it's 30 years old. The dimensions under the foam are 3.420" x 11.981" x .330" thk with 0.12 corner radii. The front flange extends another .085" outside and forward of that to hide the foam. Overall thickness is 0.420 and it fits the PC perfectly.
For small volumes I would suggest simply machining these to the dims I've measured out of 3/8" smoked gray plexiglass and installing a black drawer pull in the middle.

1012010121

bettablue
August 31st, 2012, 02:19 PM
As noted. I have already passed these dimensions on to the guy who has the vacuum forming equipment. I'nm just waiting for him to assemble something that will be large enough and yet compact enough to fit in his workspace. Once that's been setup, he assures me it will be a simple process to make as many as we want.

As an update: I emailed him today to see how he is coming along. I will probably hear from him on Monday. I'll keep you all informed as I learn more.




I have one of these covers, it seems to be molded from polycarbonate and is a smoked brown color. It has .25" x .12" closed-cell self-adhesive foam around the outside, still in excellent condition considering it's 30 years old. The dimensions under the foam are 3.420" x 11.981" x .330" thk with 0.12 corner radii. The front flange extends another .085" outside and forward of that to hide the foam. Overall thickness is 0.420 and it fits the PC perfectly.
For small volumes I would suggest simply machining these to the dims I've measured out of 3/8" smoked gray plexiglass and installing a black drawer pull in the middle.

1012010121