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3D Printing old PowerBook parts?

M235i

Well-known member
Just an idea that came to my mind when working on both my PowerBook 5300ce and 150. Both of them suffer from that PITA hinge and stress cracking issue. Both have the standoffs ripped off the housing and the 5300 is literally crumbling with the Rev. A plastics. As the 5300 fell apart in my hand and more fragments of plastic than actual computer piled up next to it, I looked at the other piece of the screen assembly and it occured to me. The chances of finding new assemblies or housings for these things are becoming harder and harder everyday, with most (if not soon to be all) eventually having it crack. Why have we not assembled 3d printed case part replacements? I would believe the filament would be strong enough to hold the very tight and overpowered metal hinges (for at least a while), and it would not be that hard to model the standoffs and the threads for the screws into the moulding. Almost all of the PowerBooks using ABS plastics can have the housings fit into a printing tray for fabrication. I still have the parts from both models that people could use to assemble a proper model of it. I have the basic knowledge of 3d modeling, but I would like to know if anybody here has had any luck with the printing of cases, housings or assemblies. And if not, should I atleast see what it would take for that to occur?

 

Johnnya101

Well-known member
I have a 3d printer. I dont have a 150 or 5300 though. If they are anything like the earlier 100 series, then you would need to make an entire new lid. Which, could work, but most home 3d printers cannot print an entire lid in one shot.

 

Elfen

Well-known member
I too have a 3D Printer, 2 actually. Only one of them would be big enough for such a project. The problem is warping due to uneven cooling when printing. This is a major problem for parts that long and wide and ABS plastic

 

M235i

Well-known member
I too have a 3D Printer, 2 actually. Only one of them would be big enough for such a project. The problem is warping due to uneven cooling when printing. This is a major problem for parts that long and wide and ABS plastic
What about fabrication of just the hinge mounts? We should be able to just fuse together the rest of the frame. 

 

maceffects

Well-known member
I'll chime in with experience in producing injection molded parts and 3d prints.  Unfortunately, there really is no way to make this work with 3d printers.  Likewise, the costs for producing the cast parts would include a fixed cost of $60,000 plus for at least 4 molds. 

 

Franklinstein

Well-known member
Im not sure anyone would be willing to pay $1000 for a 5300 with new plastics (or $600ish for plastics alone) but with enough awareness raised in conjunction with the clear SE case, maybe we would be surprised. Anyway you'd need at least 6 molds: the black-and-white models use different display housings than the color ones, and the ce model may too so that would be 8 molds. Plus the brightness/contrast buttons, that long piece under the display, the two clutch covers, the I/O port door, probably the PC card flaps, maybe the floppy drive case too. 

If people were willing to pre-order re-cased 5300 models i have probably 50 of them in various states of case destruction that could be lined up for sale assembled in the new case to drive interest. 

 

Charadis

Well-known member
So I kinda built a CNC machine

IMG_3031.jpg

..out of a harbor freight mill using a Fusion kit. It's in pieces right now, since I moved, but I was thinking about fabricating some PowderBook parts out of aluminum someday when I hone my skillz. It might be a while though, but maybe someone else here with such a CNC machine and knowledge of G code and Mach3/4 could implement the idea? And sharing the design files wouldn't hurt.. :)  

 

Trash80toHP_Mini

NIGHT STALKER
Sweet, I'm sooooo jealous! :grin:

Unfortunately, there really is no way to make this work with 3d printers.
Wouldn't SLA prints be workable for PB Parts? The prints are inherently more accurate, have a far better finish and the polymer materials are a lot tougher than printable ABS, no? Still a beyotch to model though, but fun! With SLA, production, cost factors need only concern those who might want the new parts.

 

IlikeTech

Well-known member
I don't know what you would make, but my father purchased a 40x28 laser machine.  It is 75 watt, so it can cut a lot of stuff.  I can use it if there was a requirement for laser cut stuff!

Thanks

 

M235i

Well-known member
Looks like this may have some more interest than I thought! I could certainly see what fabrications I could do to get some of these basic shapes molded. I was working with my PowerBook 150 last night, and to say the least, the plastics made sure that that was the last time the machine would ever be a whole unit again. Has anybody ever seen the actual chassis split? I knew the screen was common but I had never seen anything like what I saw last night. 

Thinking about it now, considering the costs of prototyping and manufacturing, it actually might be a good time to start looking at alternative ways to house PowerBooks with the plastic plague. Looking at how people sometimes make Raspberry Pi laptops and use housings. Or maybe make them look like slim desktops. 

Thanks everybody for the input! 

-M235i

 

dcr

Well-known member
Just curious if any kind of progress has been made on any of the discussed options.  I have a 5300 (not sure offhand if it's a cs or ce) that I dare not flip open again.

 

M235i

Well-known member
@dcr Actually some progress has been made, but it is not in the direction that I thought I was going to take it. I am currently working on prototyping with, of all things, a briefcase. Since both the 150 and the 5300ce have irreplaceable plastics, and we found out that the manufacturing process was going to be harder than initially thought, i'm using a thrift store hard leather briefcase that fits the 5300, and placing mounting hardware into that for putting the screen in. After that I need to figure out how to make the ports accessible and make sure there will be no shorts. I will keep everyone updated

 

macman0512

Active member
@dcr Actually some progress has been made, but it is not in the direction that I thought I was going to take it. I am currently working on prototyping with, of all things, a briefcase. Since both the 150 and the 5300ce have irreplaceable plastics, and we found out that the manufacturing process was going to be harder than initially thought, i'm using a thrift store hard leather briefcase that fits the 5300, and placing mounting hardware into that for putting the screen in. After that I need to figure out how to make the ports accessible and make sure there will be no shorts. I will keep everyone updated
How has the project been going so far?

 

M235i

Well-known member
How has the project been going so far?
Not well to be honest. Infact, completely dead. The 5300 turned out to have a bad screen and the screen cable was too short for it to be mounted. So out to the parts bin it went. Anybody need a 5300ce motherboard or HDD? 

 
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