Jump to content

Replica boxing for Macintosh SE


Recommended Posts

Hi folks,

 

I own a Macintosh SE that was surplus-sold by Boeing in 1997, and like many surplused computers, it was just picked up off a table without any provision for pristine boxing/packaging to protect it during shipping.  So, I've wondered for quite a while what the original package engineering looked like.  Now with all the hacks/developments out and about for Macintosh SE and Macintosh SE/30, and seeing sight of an actual Macintosh SE box owner somewhat near me (thanks @erichelgeson!), I decided to start an effort to produce suitable designs for recreating new, replica boxing for the Macintosh SE.

 

The cardboard box design at a glance, still needs more work for font matching and other miscellaneous cleanup:

 

box-layout.thumb.png.b6171dea2d1b7a2d646d509294a9e104.png

 

The PDF file, with accurate scale, of the box design.  (It might be off by a few fractions of an inch for the time being.)

 

box-layout.pdf

 

The actual box outer dimensions measures 19.5inx15.5inx20in.

 

A miniaturized toy box model, useful if you fancy with playing with a package engineering desktop toy:

 

handheld_macse_box.thumb.jpg.b78d6e7dbf607b71332ac174d1e6fe8c.jpg

 

My printer didn't print enough magenta ink for some odd reason, but I'm still convinced at the play-value of the result.

 

I retraced the vector graphics design as an SVG file in Inkscape, source files are on GitHub in my repo where I'm staging some other Macintosh SE hardware info of my own:

 

https://github.com/quorten/macsehw/tree/master/hardware/packaging

 

The half-toned Macintosh SE photo on the box was generated by doing some intensity clamping on the photo of the original box.  (Though I would need a higher resolution photo to get a true monochrome halftone representation.)

 

Designing preliminary styrofoam block 3D models is up next.  Once the preliminary steps are all complete, I'll probably request the actual box from @erichelgeson so that I can verify proper precision fitting at the full scale.  And, compare with a real manufactured replica at full scale.

 

The obligatory callout, @maceffects probably knows a few things related to this since he had to ship around his injection-molded Macintosh SE clear cases.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The box notes that the ADB mouse is included too, so we'd also need a reproduction of that.  It should be fairly easy to 3D print most of the mechanicals of an ADB mouse and build a simple circuit board for the optical encoders, then it just comes down to programming the microcontroller, but that should be very easy since it's just a mouse.

Link to post
Share on other sites

@quorten brilliant work!  I made my 'retail box' smaller to save on shipping and did the same for the foam.  The molds for the foam were $1800.  I'd bet to be the same as original would be close to $4000.  The good news is that boxes aren't super expensive.  If you end up making some of these, I'd love to buy some.  This took a lot of dedication. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Amazing to see this done so well, I tried a reproduction of the SE/30 box and only got as far as reproducing one side in Photoshop.

 

Seeing as the SE/30 box is very similar, would you mind having a go at that one too? @quorten

 

Photos for reference if you scroll down a bit: https://se30forever.com/design.html

 

Perhaps out of scope of what you were trying to do here, but incidentally to get a complete SE reproduction we would also need to reproduce all of the manuals and other printed materials that came in the box (warranty sheet, etc).

Link to post
Share on other sites

Good to know about some of the estimated price points for creating molds for the foam blocks.  Related to prototyping options, one I'm seeing is CNC routing to cut away from a solid block of foam.  With enough interest, mold-making could be quite doable.

 

Relating to the SE/30 box, I'd be willing to have a go at that one too.  Do you have additional high-resolution photos of the box @joshc?  Probably the biggest thing would be to get a good photo of the grayscale Macintosh SE/30 box photo, from the looks of what I see on the box so far it looks like it may have slightly less text on the two big Apple logo faces than the Macintosh SE box.

 

One important thing to include on box, stickers.  The box design depicted is without the sticker indicating the customization option (two 800k drives, one 800k drive and one hard drive, etc.), but it would also be good to put together a sticker sheet so you can match the box accordingly with your Macintosh.

 

By all means, the Macintosh SE cardboard box can be pretty cheap to print... I showed black ink in my design although this was supposed to be gray, going all black would be cheapest to print.  I, personally, didn't realize the earliest Macintosh models had gaudy full color printing on them, but that will be interesting to see.

Edited by quorten
Grammar
Link to post
Share on other sites

Those boxes were originally bleached white. Doesn't look like that part aged all that well. Eventually Apple moved to plain brown cardboard with black-only printing likely for environmental reasons. Earlier boxes (likely up to 1986 as the Plus came in them) were of the laminated full color printed variety for most product lines.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah, interesting.  Looking at that other Macintosh SE/30 box photo, it's making sense now, I thought I saw hints of white coloring when looking at the photo of the Macintosh SE on its box but I wasn't sure if that was really legitimate what I was seeing.  But now taking a second look, I'm seeing more signs that the Macintosh SE box was originally bleached white but the white bleach was heavily weathered away making the box appear mostly brown.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, looks like there must have been different revisions of the Macintosh SE/30 boxing, some with carrying handle holes.

 

Though it looks like the cause of the de-whitening is simply the fact the bleaching was only on the very surface of the cardboard and easily weathered away by surface contact (unlike the ink that bleeds in deeper), mentioning this, acid free cardboard would be ideal for replacement boxing to avoid other related issues.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't know there were different revisions.

 

Yes, the boxes were all bleached white. The boxes I found above look to have been probably stored in damp conditions.

 

I've never seen a brown SE/30 box - the brown boxes came a bit later on in Apple's history, as part of an effort to make their packaging more environmentally friendly in the early 90s IIRC.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

A few quick updates here.  After a little bit of trouble with working out the perspective unproject from the photos, I'm making progress on creating 3D models of the foam blocks.  The trick to remember is that conventional DSLR prime lenses move the lens outward during close focus, so the actual field of view is going to be narrower than the calculation based off of the rated focal length, which is only correct when the lens is at infinity focus.

 

@ScutBoy, you've mentioned previously that you were going to take photos of your Macintosh boxes, have you uploaded those somewhere yet?  After the discussion of the effects of aging on these boxes, having photos of a second Macintosh SE box would be helpful.  And I figure I might eventually get to the Macintosh Plus and 512ke boxes as well.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/14/2020 at 11:31 AM, quorten said:

A few quick updates here.  After a little bit of trouble with working out the perspective unproject from the photos, I'm making progress on creating 3D models of the foam blocks.  The trick to remember is that conventional DSLR prime lenses move the lens outward during close focus, so the actual field of view is going to be narrower than the calculation based off of the rated focal length, which is only correct when the lens is at infinity focus.

 

@ScutBoy, you've mentioned previously that you were going to take photos of your Macintosh boxes, have you uploaded those somewhere yet?  After the discussion of the effects of aging on these boxes, having photos of a second Macintosh SE box would be helpful.  And I figure I might eventually get to the Macintosh Plus and 512ke boxes as well.

Didn't get there last weekend. Thanks for the nudge - I'll try to get that this week.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice, looks like the box is about the same size as Macintosh SE and Macintosh SE/30, along with rather similar box printed designs.  The final question would come down to how the foam blocks on the inside of the box look like, considering the keyboard is included in-box.

 

One thing I guess I'm seeing is missing from Eric's boxes is the fragile icon printed on the top of the box, maybe that should have been on the Macintosh SE box but it got stripped off of Eric's copy due to the handling conditions it was subject to.  It is, after all, present on both the Macintosh Plus and Macintosh SE boxes.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/2/2020 at 7:27 AM, blusnowkitty said:

So let's see, between this, the MacEffects SE case, and Kai's SE logic board repro... are we able to make a complete, brand-new run of Mac SEs exactly as they would have been made factory in '87? :D

If we are going to use the transparent MacEffects SE case, then we should have a matching box with the white replaced by a transparent packing material.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Oh yeah, another thing.  What font has Apple used for Japanese text on their boxes, marketing material, and the like?  Right now the strokes are just individually drawn as vector graphics lines, but from the photos the font definitely looks mundane in terms of decoration.

 

English: Keyboard not included Mouse included

Japanese: キーボードは含まれていません マウス付

japanese_font.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, so now I wanted to simply post my progress on the foam blocks.  Just a screenshot from what I've been doing in Blender, to show that I'm almost ready to 3D print some foam blocks for a (miniature plastic) prototype.

 

So I've been thinking this through, and maybe one thing I might end up doing is making a new cardboard box but reusing the foam blocks, at least for the first few instances.  In any case, @erichelgeson, I'll probably be ready to pick up the box for you in a few weeks, in case you've been wondering when you can get the space back.

2020-09-27-133745_1680x1050_scrot.png

Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice, more than skin-deep, that Lego design even accurately models the major interior components!  The actual Lego model looks to be bigger than the corresponding size of my miniature box printout, though, it would require printing the box design on paper larger than US letter or A4.  But yeah, that would be pretty nice to make a box and "foam blocks" made of Lego to complement the Lego design.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...