In January of this year a rather splendid iMac concept was released by the design house CURVED. It takes the original Macintosh design and “Imacs” it. As I said, rather splendid.
Now I like the Classic Mac look as much as the next man, possibly more, but seeing that this is only a concept there’s no way that I can have one.
Or is there?
You will know from reading this site that I like retro computing (really? you hadn’t spotted that?) and I’m not averse to a bit of making.
So, inspired by the CURVED concept and also by RetroMacCast Jon‘s Mini Mac, I had a think.
I recently bought a not-quite-working Kobo Mini ereader with the intention of putting it to use in some future project. I wiped its memory and re-brained it with the standard Flash image and it burst into life. I’m a real fan of epaper, I think it’s great to look and and doesn’t use any power once its display has been set.
The Kobo screen is about half the size of the original Mac and the same aspect ratio. It does look to be an interesting choice. That’s the back end sorted. Kobo it is.
How am I going to do that?
I have a small CNC milling machine. It’s a bit light to cut aluminium but it eats through acrylic sheet with ease and so the obvious choice is to cut out a shape similar to the CURVED concept out of acrylic sheet and heat and fold it.
I asked around to see if anyone had any drawings of the original Macintosh but there was no reply. I did a bit of searching and found some dimensioned pictures on iFixIt.
So using Inkscape I drew my own design in a DXF file to give to the CAM software to turn into g-code to drive the CNC mill.
The next thing to do was mount some acrylic sheet on the CNC machine and let it do its stuff. I had some black 3mm sheet in my stock bin and so I used that. There is a protective white plastic sheet on top.
The normal route for bending acrylic sheet is to use a strip heater but as I don’t have one, I had to improvise. I have a bending “machine” that I use for thin sheet metal and so I used that with a heat gun to warm the plastic and bend it. I got two of the three bends done well but the third wasn’t hot enough and cracked a little.
I fixed it later with filler.
The next job was to lightly sand the Flatmac, prime it and paint with a silver car spray. I then masked the Kobo’s screen and sprayed the case with the same paint.
Double sided tape was used to hold it to the back of the acrylic.