Project: Spectrum | Mill, Swab, and Paint

Project: Spectrum | Mill, Swab, and Paint

Hi everyone!

We are back with more updates on Spectrum OLED! We are still on schedule with the project and we would like to share with you our most current update in preparation for our first-ever sample unit. Since the last update, we have been working with the mock-up factory to create the back panel. You will learn how it is being made, and get to see how it materializes into a ready-to-use part. So, let’s dive in!

Housing production method

At the current stage of development, we are using the milling process to create the back panel. Starting with a solid block of plastic, a computer-guided router cuts away all parts of the plastic that we don’t need, until only our housing is left.

We will ultimately use molding because of its practicality and cost-effectiveness for mass production. However, in this stage of development, having a “hard” mold will lock us out of any design refinements.

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The milling process. A block of plastic is placed on the CNC milling machine then the “drill” is used to carve out the shape we need. It has an interchangeable head to adjust how fine the cutting should be.

The factory visit

Grant, our Project Manager, went to the factory to see and capture some pictures behind the scene! We get to see the back cover being treated with finishing touches and deep cleaning. The piece is then spray-painted and we get to see the results immediately after. The aim is to get a black high-quality finish belonging to the Spectrum family.

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The worker rubbed and cleaned the milled plastic out of any residues. This is to make sure that no impurities will affect the coloring process and ruin the texture.

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Uncolored buttons, button springs, and indicator light cover.

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Colored Spectrum OLED back panel mounted with our Spectrum stand.

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Spectrum OLED housing on its stand, compared to the original Spectrum at the bottom.

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Comparing the actual color vs. the color reference cards.

The results

Overall, we are happy with being able to proceed with tooling as planned. There are things that we like in particular from this current mock-up:

  • The mock-up appears very well made. Straight lines and overall design look very neat as expected based on the industrial design (ID)
  • The ports are well-aligned. With center-aligned ports and less gap between the port and the housing, these are improvements over our current Spectrum lineup.

We also noticed some things to improve based on the current mock-up:

  • Dough logo is slightly warped
  • The gap between the button and the housing is a little too wide.
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Side ports, center-aligned.

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From top to bottom: (capless) joystick, dedicated KVM switch button, power button. We noticed the gap between the buttons and the housing is slightly bigger than intended.

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Dough logo still does not look right with slightly too much curve on parts where it is supposed to be straight.

Entering design validation testing (DVT)

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With the housing already in our hands, we getting even closer to entering the next stage of development: DVT! In this stage, we focus primarily on the design aspect of the product. Any testing and design refinements referred to above will count as part of DVT.

There are a few items still pending as part of electronic validation testing (EVT) that will go in parallel and will be done once we have the sample unit ready.

This concludes the update for our Spectrum OLED! In the upcoming topic, we will cover more about thermals and the making of the glossy panel. Join in the discussion in the community.

Stay tuned for more updates coming just around the corner. Until next time!