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Phase 1 Case FAQ


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Hello fellow Commandos! In my exciting new role as a fan and forum member I've seen many requests directed at @The 8-Bit Guy asking for info about the Phase 1, X16P case, which he has decided to retire so as to simplify the project. Firstly although I was a fan of the case (pun intended) I respect David's decision. The X16 has always been his baby and we're just along for the ride. To be clear, he has stated the Phase 1 official case is now in the past.

Having chatted with David about the questions about the case we agreed it's a good idea for me to present this thread as an unofficial FAQ of sorts, to answer those questions, so the community has access to the same info I had. I'd never want to feel I was withholding useful info as I continue my step back. So in no particular order:

Will there be a "vendor badge" sticker / stick-on badge available?

I shared all assets with the team as part of my handover, so everything is available to them including logos and badge designs. I think it would be wise to give the team at least a few days (or weeks) to adjust to the team member changes. I think if you can be patient, some well formed options will come to light. For any badges I recommend Marco van de Meulenhof aka BadgeMan.

Can we have the case designs to 3D print?

Sadly not, mainly as I don't have them. As stated from the start, the case was a modified existing design and I chose this path to cut the end user cost by a total of about $100,000 compared to designing and tooling our own case & keyboard. This means the X16 project does not have full ownership of the design which partly belongs to Sohoo. Standard copyright law applies. Also the X16 project signed a standard confidentiality agreement with them. They own the design starting point and will not license iterations. They also never released their own design files to us. The renders you’ve seen like the above were made by Mat Recardo & I, and are visuals only based on my own changes (see below). There's no internal structure for mounting and it's not exact size. Refining that for 3D printing would be a huge task, and that’s if the project had the rights to do so, which it does not.

If providing 3D print plans for the case were an easy possibility I would have made sure that was done for you guys a few days ago. I thought long and hard about the options. Unfortunately I had to conclude that it’s a bit of a minefield.

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Well give us the model number and we'll model it for 3D printing anyway!

The model number is public knowledge, available on Google, and this is the link to the manufacturer's case info page. However, again, the X16 project cannot legally condone or encourage recreating or cloning another party's intellectual property. To do so may jeopardise the X16 project.

Other important points to keep in mind:

  • Any price you see quoted on Chinese websites will always increase hugely, and excludes the PSU and modifications.
  • The last unmodified single unit I ordered from the manufacturer as a testing sample cost me $139.75 landed - paid by wire only (keep in mind the factory have no PayPal, no store, etc.) despite what you may see online.
  • Some of my mods included the plastic colour, plastic texture, steel texture, removing DVD tray, removing eject button, screen printing 8-Bit logo, butterfly logo badge engraving, 2nd badge creation, button changes, and more. Structural changes inside also. Oh and team autographs were to be embossed inside.

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Perifractic

  • I actually replaced the front panel with a whole new design. The reason is the standard one is designed for modern vertical use and has a big hole (release handle) on one edge. You cannot remove holes in injection moulds, you can only add holes. The hole is largely hidden at the bottom in the vertical photos but looks ghastly on the left side when laid horizontally to suit retro aesthetics. You can see the wires and columns through it. I'd never have wanted to release a product like that. It’s only fair I warn you about that hole in the Sohoo case (don't fall into it!). 
  • But yes, the above linked case was the starting point 2 years ago.
  • New front panel design:

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Perifractic

To help with realistic expectations, if acquiring one unmodified unit at $140, the photo below is about best one could get it to appear without colour and texture mods, and all the other changes. Obviously the retail product would've looked hugely better:

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Would it be possible to get the case later as separate purchase? 

No. The only real way to get that case as depicted is for the team to follow the normal practice and order 1000 units at a price I negotiated down to about $32/unit inc. PSU & box, and I had to fight hard to stop that going up to 2000 units minimum with COVID. My plan was for that to be achieved via crowdfunding at this website. But again I certainly understand the appeal of simplifying the project in light of other complications and concerns re parts and order assembly etc. and fully respect the change of direction, as should we all.

I believe this case is no longer an option.

What about a different 3D printed case design?

In my experience the case is too large for 3D printers and would need to be printed in 2 or 4 sections then clipped/glued together. A line could be factored into the design to make that less unattractive. David has said 3D printing of that size is cost prohibitive so I'm guessing it's unlikely that would be offered directly by the team as an option.

How about making a case design available at Protocase or similar?

This would be up to the team and community. I had liaised with similar companies before and they actually rejected the project due to some of its specific needs, which always surprised me. Anyone is free to upload their designs anywhere and make them available.

What is the form factor?

The case is a standard Micro ATX "Slim" model, and can house a Micro ATX or Mini ITX motherboard. At the time of writing the X16P motherboard is Micro ATX, and at the time of writing should fit in any Micro ATX case. The team will hopefully update this should that change (unlikely).

What about cases for the other phases?

The modified case designs for these are all on file with the team and they have my permission to use them. The same basic copyright situation applies as above re the manufacturer base designs.

X16C/Mat Recardo/Perifractic

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X16E/X8/Arne/Perifractic

As I conclude my one week handover, I truly hope this extra info and clarity is useful to the community going forward!

Your friend in retro, Perifractic
http://youtube.com/perifractic | http://patreon.com/perifractic 

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Thank you, @Perifractic,for this update and clarification.  Posts like this give us all insight into just how difficult it is to bring a new product to market, and how much effort and thought the Commander X16 team has already put into the project.  I think I speak for everyone in this forum when I say that we appreciate your contributions.

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How about making a case design at protocase.com? Someone could make a design in their proprietary CAD software and people could download the file and order one themselves. Not sure the cost of that though. I'm just having an open mind.

Edited by Robinkle
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2 hours ago, John Chow Seymour said:

Thanks for all the clarification.

With that last pic, are you trying to pay tribute to Arne's art style? Especially with the pokemon scribbled in the margins. Or did he actually contribute that sketch for the Commander project?

Good eye! I actually brought Arne on board early on as I love his style, and we worked together to make that image which is based on an existing case that I have sent to David now. I credited Arne under the pic above as Diglett (he goes by a few names) but have swapped that for Arne as that seems to be better known based on your post and the weblink you posted. I love that style and hope an X16E (or even X8) case may follow it. Again that's all up to the team now. 👍 

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2 hours ago, Robinkle said:

How about making a case design at protocase.com? Someone could make a design in their proprietary CAD software and people could download the file and order one themselves. Not sure the cost of that though. I'm just having an open mind.

I've stepped back from active design work in the project and David has stated his position re not offering a case, but I've added an answer to the FAQ.

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Gosh, thanks fellow forum member. What's great about the CX16 project is not just the team members, but the forum members are also interesting people. For people who don't know, Perifractic has a Youtube channel where his dogs show off retro hardware, and his fair other half adds sound effects, and it also has assorted other things.

But, oh my goodness, I want a CX16c in that cute little case now.

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For people looking for cases to fit the X16... you might do teh Google thing for "HTPC Case" . Ideally, I'd like to find an ATX case that looks like an IBM AT case, but that doesn't seem to be available anywhere.

Something like the Silverstone ML04 is a good contender for me... 

 

Edited by TomXP411
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14 minutes ago, TomXP411 said:

For people looking for cases to fit the X16... you might do teh Google thing for "HTPC Case" .

 

Funny enough an HTPC case was one of my early ideas. <Digs into the archives…>

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Perifractic/Gaz Marshall

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Heh. that's actually a pretty cool case. The design is certainly distinctive. 

Right now, my emulator station is an HP EliteDesk 800 G3. I have two of these: I use one for retrocomputing and one for video editing. In fact, I bought this specifically for its appearance.

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This is the kind of elegance and simplicity I like. I wish I could get a case like this as a standalone enclosure.

Edited by TomXP411
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Safest thing is a minimalist design - just speaking generally, not saying it should be completely plain of course. It's hard to hate the Mega 65 case for example - if you hate the colour, thinking it's too beige or whatever, it could be dark gray or black - but I mean no one could find it annoying or cheap looking or tacky. Anything exciting or jazzy or however else you might see it, would excite some people but turn other people off. Or even just find it distracting. Best keep it simple. It's fun to speculate about different designs though.

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13 hours ago, James Anders Banks said:

Safest thing is a minimalist design - just speaking generally, not saying it should be completely plain of course. ... Best keep it simple.

Yeah, that's one reason I will definitely be a bit sad if they don't launch a CX16c with a case crowdfund. It's something that won't get me in trouble with the wife from adding to my home workdesk.

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For myself: I plan to make a case myself out of clear plexiglas (acrylic,  whatever). I want to show off that beautiful motherboard that I will fully populate myself. 

What's the word on decals/stickers? 😉

Edited by Davish47
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38 minutes ago, Davish47 said:

For myself: I plan to make a case myself out of clear plexiglas (acrylic,  whatever). I want to show off that beautiful motherboard that I will fully populate myself. 

What's the word on decals/stickers? 😉

As Perifractic said, it's been answered, but more to the point, if you want a plexiglass/acrylic/whatever to show off the beauty inside, it seems odd to be asking for things that would presumably be put on the exterior of said case and obscure it! 😄

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20 hours ago, Scott Robison said:

As Perifractic said, it's been answered, but more to the point, if you want a plexiglass/acrylic/whatever to show off the beauty inside, it seems odd to be asking for things that would presumably be put on the exterior of said case and obscure it! 😄

I re-read above a bit closer, sorry I missed it 👍

You do bring up a good point: the challenge of highlighting the beauty within while properly identifying on the outside is not to be overlooked. 

It is a challenge I respect and look forward to. 😃

Edited by Davish47
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