12 Jan 2015: Progress on casework

This is a hugely-detailed project. Currently there are over 40 parts (some duplicates, especially along the top and bottom edge of the LCD). The general construction principle is to split the design into several parts that may be 3D printed on a 200mm x 200mm Mendel90 printer, and to use 2mm threaded bar end-to-end to hold all the parts together.

Ends and middle of both the LCD and main base may just - quite literally with millimetres to spare - fit across the long diagonal of a 200mm square 3D print bed. It was discovered during testing that the height of these rather long parts is sufficient to result in the parts breaking free of the glass, so a surrounding "support" structure at 0.7mm height was added which keeps the parts down and stable. Also it turns out that the thickness of the walls in some places (only 1.7mm) is insufficient at the corners and especially on the round hinge area to stick to the glass on their own, resulting in curvature during printing. The support structure helps ensure that they remain down.

A 15.6in laptop case is pretty large: the LCD dimensions are 36cm x 21cm (14in x 8in) so the outer dimensions will be somewhere around 14.5 x 9.5in x 0.8in. Quite a lot of structural support is therefore needed. Aside from five threaded bars a couple of shorter bars for extra support at the hinge end will be used, as well as some small screws for the lid.