[NTLK] Clear developer's Newton 110 pops up on eBay | MacNN

James Fraser wheresthatistanbul-newtontalk at yahoo.com
Wed Jan 23 14:21:19 EST 2013


--- On Wed, 1/23/13, Ed Carter <ed at cartersfarm.com> wrote:

> Just thinking...  Since HTC
> released the 3D Spec for printing new backs for their
> phones, is there any reason we couldn't scan and create
> a 3D printed clear case for our Newtons?  Ed

As near as I can make out, 3d printers have a couple of limitations that might limit their usefulness in this particular instance. 

Firstly, the type of parts they are capable of manufacturing are relatively simple.  For the most part, the machines excel at printing small 3-D parts:


I'm not clear on how they would fare when it comes to printing out something relatively large (the MP2x00 case is 4.7 inches wide and 8.3 inches deep) like a MessagePad case, something with -very- close tolerances.

Secondly, and perhaps more to the point, 3-D printers (or, at least, some models of 3-D printers; the RepRap is mentioned below) seem to be severely restricted in the types of materials they are able to use to form objects.  According to Matthias:


...the two types of plastics they can work with are ABS and PLA.  ABS probably wouldn't work for a MessagePad case because, as mentioned above, ABS warps when exposed to heat.

(Apparently, that's why the Apple folks who built the MessagePad specifically chose an ABS/Fiberglass blend for the MessagePad case.)

The PLA Matthias refers to is Polylactic acid.  PLA is great for things like medical implants (e.g. a temporary screw installed in a still-healing bone) as it dissolves over time (exactly as Matthias points out).  However, the fact that it degrades over time makes it much less desirable for a casing material like the kind needed to protect the guts of a MessagePad over the long-term.

None of this is to say that it cannot be done.  I have a very limited knowledge of the subject and I'm only pointing out the limitations that I'm aware of.  Seeing as how I'm not the smartest monkey in the cage, half the reason I mentioned the Frozen Newton Project at all is because there are, very likely, advances in things like 3-D printing of which I am not aware.

So, yes, this would be a great time for someone who actually knows what they're doing to school us all on how it could be done. :)


James Fraser

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