Universal Atari Modding Case

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Universal Atari Modding Case

Postby bid » Fri Apr 29, 2011 1:45 pm

Image

I am designing a Universal Atari Modding Case, that will fit any Atari computer. Standard or non-standard.

I have a STe, Mega ST4, broken MSTE and TT030. So I am designing to fit all these machines. I have no Falcon, ST, STfm, or Firebee. But I would also like to make these fit too.

The product will be laser profiled, most likely in a clear acrylic 3mm sheet, and jointed with tight fitting slots, M3 Hex bolts in 8 positions, and some clever fitting and profiling, for which I do for prototyping products in my everyday work. The image above shows my basic idea, and it will be able to sit horizontally or vertically.

I have been careful to allow an unmodified ST or Falcon to fit in, and even position the FDD without modification to the right hand side. Clearly with an extended FDD cable the floppy can be moved to front, ala Mega STe and TT. In MSTE and TT, this would be the position I am guessing people would tend to use. Without this it would be hard to access the FDD if the case was positioned vertically or in desk side position. The cost will be around that of a 1000mm x 2000mm x 3mm clear acrylic or perspex sheet, plus the cost of laser cutting, which is quite low nowadays. There are several companies I already use, and anyone can have one, so long as they help me lay out the spec, and I will be needing some PCB mounting positions measured from the top left hand (PSU) corner so that I can outfit the base with PCB mount locations for all machines (see above for the ones I have in my collection). I will use cheap and cheerful snap in plastic PCB mounts, or perhaps nylon threaded ones. All items, except for the profiles will be available from common outlets such as Radio Shack or Maplin, and I will make the laser profiles available as DXF if people wish to make thier own, or I will order some made to amalgamate cost.

I have made some adjustments so that Mega St 1-4 fits, ST, Falcon, MSTE and TT etc etc, and reduced size considerably, and also rationalised no of drives. Clearly 1x 5.25" bay is sufficient, and if this leaves room for 1x full sized 3.5" HDD and 1x 3.5" FDD of any type.

There is plenty of room for any CT60 type mod in the appropriate area, and also any PSU (original or ATX) to the left hand side. Slots now for all ports for any production Atari at 28mm high covers all types. I may make a set of blanking plates that slot in for neatness, and would fit snugly round ports on the rear and left hand side. I DO HOWEVER NEED SPECS FOR PCI SLOTS AND PREFERRED ATX PSU's (i.e. those commonly used).

I have tried to copy the TT / MSTE case by Ira Valisnsky somewhat, but by using laser cut parts that slot together. The top panel and internal drive shelf would be removable. I have attempted to make this as small and compact as possible, and hence larger boards (MSTE, TT and MEGA) will extend under the sloping front area, just like on real Atari desktop cases.

Shown in the above pic is the ST/Falcon mainboard with original fitted PSU, but MSTE/TT mainboard extends further under the front angled section, just like on the desktop cases. Also the huge pizza box MEGA ST also fits (just) and the front of the PCB would come right to the front. I have designed some low cost fittings and keyed mechanical fixings that will fasten this assembly together firmly. It also has some Atari type / angles / on it!

Please can you indicate if you are interested, what you think this should accomodate, and if anyone else would like one. I estimate it will take me one week to design the final fittings, tolerances and required cable harnesses (if needed). But I am not planning to build for 2-3 months, as I have a MSTE to repair, and also I wish to make this a final re-casing solution that covers all models and tinkering capability, plus to protect the machines and showcase the cool electronics inside. I will finish the design with laser etching (shows up in white) for any lettering, logos etc. For example, I intend to mark the mainboard fitting locations with the markings ST, STE, MEGA, FALC, TT etc etc for ease of assembly, and will post full assembly instructions and supply as flat pack.

Please tell me your thoughts! Cheers Bid :D
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Re: Universal Atari Modding Case

Postby nativ » Fri Apr 29, 2011 2:02 pm

Are you producing a new housing for an existing ST keyboard?

So I can fit the motherboard to the case and take the 'old' keyboard and rehouse?
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Re: Universal Atari Modding Case

Postby christos » Fri Apr 29, 2011 2:20 pm

Pretty nice idea :)

I have a question though, what is the estimated weight and size (for shipping purposes). I won't ask for a cost estimate ;)

I really like it :)
Last edited by christos on Fri Apr 29, 2011 2:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Universal Atari Modding Case

Postby bid » Fri Apr 29, 2011 2:20 pm

nativ wrote:Are you producing a new housing for an existing ST keyboard?

So I can fit the motherboard to the case and take the 'old' keyboard and rehouse?


Yes. I have already done this to my old STe about 10 years ago when I was at Uni. So I already have an STe with external keyboard that is dead easy to do.

Its just a 7 core wire, and adding a molex connection at each end. If you want to be fancy, a plug + socket could be added. The case shown has a 12mm gap under the front 'angled' end. This is currently for air flow, ease of production and allows larger boards (like TT and MEGA) to fit. But also, the wire to external keyboard could fit under here. If there is interest, I will specify and produce schematics for a plug in cable. Probably mini-DIN

The external ST keyboard case is shown. I have not quite finished, as I want to make it look real good. So I am going to add a second 3mm layer where the F-keys are, and make them flush fit. Also cool laser etched markings for the FDD drive light. A small program on the ST (already available) allows the FDD light to be used for other things too. So this could be fun.

I am also going to add some sides to the keyboard, round off the corners, and make it a little bit more "designer". Also the joystick and mouse ports will be more accessible, and I will make it so that they can be accessed easily and the cables exit from front, side or rear. I'll just put little U or L shaped notches in, that trap the wire in these positions, or let them come out naturally from the front.

Image

This pic shows the keyboard area more clearly. Although still lacking some detail, while I decide how it going to look. There will certainly be a raised F-key area, and the underside area will be recessed more, with triangular fitted sides, and also I will round off corners and add etched logo's etc.
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Re: Universal Atari Modding Case

Postby nativ » Fri Apr 29, 2011 2:25 pm

bid wrote:
nativ wrote:Are you producing a new housing for an existing ST keyboard?

So I can fit the motherboard to the case and take the 'old' keyboard and rehouse?


Yes. I have already done this to my old STe about 10 years ago when I was at Uni. So I already have an STe with external keyboard that is dead easy to do.

Its just a 7 core wire, and adding a molex connection at each end. If you want to be fancy, a plug + socket could be added. The case shown has a 12mm gap under the front 'angled' end. This is currently for air flow, ease of production and allows larger boards (like TT and MEGA) to fit. But also, the wire to external keyboard could fit under here. If there is interest, I will specify and produce schematics for a plug in cable. Probably mini-DIN

The external ST keyboard case is shown. I have not quite finished, as I want to make it look real good. So I am going to add a second 3mm layer where the F-keys are, and make them flush fit. Also cool laser etched markings for the FDD drive light. A small program on the ST (already available) allows the FDD light to be used for other things too. So this could be fun.

I am also going to add some sides to the keyboard, round off the corners, and make it a little bit more "designer". Also the joystick and mouse ports will be more accessible, and I will make it so that they can be accessed easily and the cables exit from front, side or rear. I'll just put little U or L shaped notches in, that trap the wire in these positions, or let them come out naturally from the front.

Image

This pic shows the keyboard area more clearly. Although still lacking some detail, while I decide how it going to look. There will certainly be a raised F-key area, and the underside area will be recessed more, with triangular fitted sides, and also I will round off corners and add etched logo's etc.


I think the Mega ST keyboard is a duplicate of the ST and might be worth using as a base? Solid old thing that it is!

Also any chance of Extended Mouse/Joyports or Regular ones on the Keyboard?
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Re: Universal Atari Modding Case

Postby bid » Fri Apr 29, 2011 2:48 pm

The standard PSU sizes are listed here http://www.evercase.co.uk/PowerSupplyMeasurement.htm

The standard ATX is 85mm x 150mm x 140mm. Therefore, the standard ATX would leave only 5mm of space below mainboard, so in this version I have drawn, would be too large to fit any board but coldfire.

I like the idea of fitting standard ATX, but seems a bit overkill to make the case suitable height (needs 30mm+ underneath without CT 60) so would have to increase height a lot to fit this. I am thinking on standardising on the 1U Micro ATX PSU if a new one is required. The standard Atari PSU will also fit for every model. The 63mm x 125mm SFX (Mini ATX) would also fit well too, with all models of Atari, (except if Falcon has CT60, then this must be be seated 100mm forward of the rear of the mainboard, and I dont have one to check).

I would imagine that with the 1U Micro ATX that CT60 would fit (gives 50mm of height for this).

1U Micro ATX would also be good for ST, STe, Mega, Falcon, TT etc. Especially if the existing PSU is 'flakey' or more power is required for hard drive, CF Card, add-ons, and of course the contents of a Megafile or indeed any extremally powered Hard Drive caddy could be decantered and put into this all-in-one box. Personally, this is what I am going to do with my AdSCSi, and I will be putting openings to run an external DMA/ASCI cable internally or indeed place external ASCI boards on the internal shelf pointing backwards so that the cable can be looped back in in a 'U'. Of course, some Atari (such as Mega) have internal ASCI pins on PCB headers so these can be used with a flat ribbon (hard drive, Ultra-Satan for example) and flat ribbons could be made to route other ports back inside, such as Rom port for example. Allowing NetUSB to be mounted internally.
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Re: Universal Atari Modding Case

Postby bid » Fri Apr 29, 2011 3:08 pm

christos wrote:Pretty nice idea :)

I have a question though, what is the estimated weight and size (for shipping purposes). I won't ask for a cost estimate ;)

I really like it :)


My CAD software will do very accurate calculations, when this is completed, and the material is approx 5kg for a solid peice of 3mm perspex at 1500mm x 1000mm in size.

I would initially estimate that everything would fit into a nest form in something equal or less than this. Possibly significantly less, but not more.

Also I will have removed much of the material in the laser cutting process. However, this is a very very good point. Incidentally, the raw sheet perspex for this size is is about £35.

There are however, two solutions to reduce postage cost.
1. I will remove all excess perspex material internally to save weight, so long as strength is not effected too much. Obviously postage will be flat, and in flat cardboard packaging.
2. These profiles, once tested and perfected (obviously I will make a 1st one for myself), can be made in hundreds, if not thousands of locations around the world. So they can be made more locally.

How does 5kg equate to postal cost, and is this too much??
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Re: Universal Atari Modding Case

Postby alanh » Fri Apr 29, 2011 6:37 pm

Falcon CT60, Falcon CT63 x2, TT x3, MegaST x2, MegaSTE x2, STFM x2, STE x2, STacy, STBook, (Dead) Hades 060, Milan 060, T40.

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Re: Universal Atari Modding Case

Postby majere » Fri Apr 29, 2011 7:15 pm

Nice work! :D
it looks nice :wink:
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Re: Universal Atari Modding Case

Postby wongck » Sat Apr 30, 2011 3:45 am

This is excellent.
The keyboard opening to the outside world... does it allow for an Eifel to be fitted?
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Re: Universal Atari Modding Case

Postby wthorbjo » Sat Apr 30, 2011 4:31 am

Yes! I want one!

I've been looking for a suitable case to rehouse my CT60 Falcon for years, and even thought about making something similar to this myself. I don't have the CAD skills or access to manufacturing equipment, so I was secretly hoping someone else would come forward. This case will do very nicely! Much more Atari-like than a generic PC case, and probably more convenient, too.
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Re: Universal Atari Modding Case

Postby bid » Sat Apr 30, 2011 10:45 am

alanh wrote:CTPCI slot information....

http://www.powerphenix.com/CTPCI/english/technical.htm


Alan,

Thanks for the great info... and great website too!! :D

I am thinking that if I keep to the same size case (as I really want to make a compact model at the moment), that CTPCI should fit either
(i) In the area where the TT-Ram is located above a TT mainboard on front of the PSU and turned 90deg so ports are on left hand side (above Jagpad joystick port on Falcon) in the large free area
- This has the advantage that the PSU can possibly remain full sized as before (although would users perfer to use PicoPSU?) and also use space wisely. Also good for the large flat ribbon cable and allows cards to stack horizontally.

(ii) In the place of the standard/ATX PSU.
- However this would limit the space for , (a) PSU (b) CT boards
- However cards would exit to rear, and from a removable panel that I would also fit with standard holes for ATX fitting (probably the Mini ATX standard, or 1U Micro ATX SFX).
- This may mean that PicoPSU would have to be used?

(iii) In the position to the right of the PSU in the centre of the case, and exits to the rear. This would be the approximate position that a VME board would fit on the Mega STe or TT030.
- Problems with this are that in the exisiting case size there is only 110mm space to the central front Floppy Disk Drive, so on Falcon with CTPCI fitted in a central location I would recommend the Floppy Drive to be in its original position on the slot at the right... I am going to modify this anyway, so that there is an upper and lower position using fitting that allow a drive to hang on top or underneath the removable shelf. ... thus CD ROM could still be fitted in the large bay, a FDD on right lower slot, and a CF Card or UltraStatan on the front 3.5" drive bay or note book sized 2.5" HDD (of IDE variety). This would allow full expansion.

Personally I prefer (i) and (iii), and I was planning to make a VME cover for the rear. The only problem is that designing a fitting for PCCTI is easier in option (i) as it would be as simple as a drilling or having pre-drilled holes in the front face on the left front, or a vertical actrylic sheet that fits in front of the Falcon mobo and extends up to the top of the case with tabs at each end that seats the acrylic sheet nicely.
If I did the VME position as in idea (iii) the Falcon mobo is in the way for seating a vertical acrylic sheet (which I would position just to right of PSU and vertical. So this would be harder to design a standard fitting for, perhaps it slots into a tab on the Removable Hard Drive Tray in the centre, and a sot on the rear?

I really will need an idea of the types of cards fitted and specs of their sizes to confirm, and also your thoughts in this? I plan to supply the kit with every concevable option included, so I dont want to make for example the CTPCI fittings out of a huge amount of acrylic as I want to keep cost and weight down, and not everyone will use this (initially). But I can picture in my mind some neat solutions, and putting in relevant screw holes and slots for PCI boards. This would also be good perhaps for ST's with the EtherNEC too. How many PCI's are typically filled? I will try to put room in for 4 slots if it is required, and I require card depth info so that I can draw them in CAD and check fits and function? :D
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Re: Universal Atari Modding Case

Postby bid » Sat Apr 30, 2011 10:56 am

majere wrote:Nice work! :D
it looks nice :wink:


Thanks. I am planning now on the next revision to add two 3.5" drive bay locations on the RHS, but without changing the case dimensions. This would allow twin FDD for example. I noticed that you have a FDD emulator.

However, standard ST cannot be fitted with 2x internal FDD as far as I am aware. Although I have seen one user do this. However, the FFD port on the rear could be re-routed back into the case, and I am wondering if this FDD can be powered as an option by a Micro AXT PSU and if any other locic is required, or just a simple lead. I have no external FDD currently so I am unaware of the specs of complexity of doing this. However, this is a mod that I would find quite useful, and in any case the upper or lower 3.5" drive position would be useful for fitting full size 3.5" HD units if FDD is not required here.

The drive bays will have covers that are interchangable, and I will supply 2x FDD profiles (with diamond slot) non-diamond slot drives will be fitted flush without cover. Also a profile for UltraSatan or CF Cards. The large 5.25" bay will just have a plain cover, and if CR ROM fitted again this will fit flush to front of case. Otherwise, a large panel, in which any of the 3.25" covers can be fitted. I will put sots on the removable tray for all drive and card fitting options including Ultrasatan and any other devices required. Once I have developed this pattern, I will replicate this in all drive positions. :D
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Re: Universal Atari Modding Case

Postby bid » Sat Apr 30, 2011 10:56 am

majere wrote:Nice work! :D
it looks nice :wink:


Thanks. I am planning now on the next revision to add two 3.5" drive bay locations on the RHS, but without changing the case dimensions. This would allow twin FDD for example. I noticed that you have a FDD emulator.

However, standard ST cannot be fitted with 2x internal FDD as far as I am aware. Although I have seen one user do this. However, the FFD port on the rear could be re-routed back into the case, and I am wondering if this FDD can be powered as an option by a Micro AXT PSU and if any other locic is required, or just a simple lead. I have no external FDD currently so I am unaware of the specs of complexity of doing this. However, this is a mod that I would find quite useful, and in any case the upper or lower 3.5" drive position would be useful for fitting full size 3.5" HD units if FDD is not required here.

The drive bays will have covers that are interchangable, and I will supply 2x FDD profiles (with diamond slot) non-diamond slot drives will be fitted flush without cover. Also a profile for UltraSatan or CF Cards. The large 5.25" bay will just have a plain cover, and if CR ROM fitted again this will fit flush to front of case. Otherwise, a large panel, in which any of the 3.25" covers can be fitted. I will put sots on the removable tray for all drive and card fitting options including Ultrasatan and any other devices required. Once I have developed this pattern, I will replicate this in all drive positions. :D
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Re: Universal Atari Modding Case

Postby bid » Sat Apr 30, 2011 11:01 am

wongck wrote:This is excellent.
The keyboard opening to the outside world... does it allow for an Eifel to be fitted?


Is Eifel just a seperate PC keyboard? Then it would be very simple. If the Eifel requires a drilled hole or screw fixing points I will require a link and specs. I will then add this in a suitable location. Probably the right hand side, so its out of the way. Alternatively, there is a 12mm gap under the slanted front face (to allow for larger boards such as MEGA, MSTE and TT). This 12mm gap would accommodate any additional front facing cables that users wished to add to their board, external keyboards and the like. However, I can add a hole for a standard keyboard fitting if we can settle on a standard. I would then use this on the rehoused Atari style keyboard, which would be the one I would prefer on my unit, but I will make sure that Eifel also fits too. Please could you forward me the specs.
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Re: Universal Atari Modding Case

Postby bid » Sat Apr 30, 2011 11:05 am

wthorbjo wrote:Yes! I want one!

I've been looking for a suitable case to rehouse my CT60 Falcon for years, and even thought about making something similar to this myself. I don't have the CAD skills or access to manufacturing equipment, so I was secretly hoping someone else would come forward. This case will do very nicely! Much more Atari-like than a generic PC case, and probably more convenient, too.


Great. I was hoping that there would be some takers for this! I do however need the mechanical sizes for the CT60 when fitted. Ideally total height clearance required from mobo surface and approx dimensions measured from the top right hand side of a Falcon motherboard, where the PSU is usually fitted. There are some excellent pictures and information on AlanH's site, but I could do with someone to give me the accurate dimensions for the CT60 modification when fitted. Kind regards, Bid :D
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Re: Universal Atari Modding Case

Postby bid » Sat Apr 30, 2011 11:09 am

nativ wrote:Are you producing a new housing for an existing ST keyboard?
So I can fit the motherboard to the case and take the 'old' keyboard and rehouse?


I have made some more progress with the keyboard re-housing. It will use M3 Hex head bolts, for final fitting, and this is my current design. It is still lacking final details, but I have improved the F-Key area.

Image

By using laser cut layers of Acrylic, I am raising up the F-Key area, and I might make it so that the last layer can be removed without screws, and just a tolerance fit.

This would mean that printed paper overlays could be wedged in the top layer, for example to print in common functions such as program launch or for text editors, games etc etc.

Perhaps laser cut the word Atari in there too!! :D
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Re: Universal Atari Modding Case

Postby wongck » Sat Apr 30, 2011 11:43 am

bid wrote:Is Eifel just a seperate PC keyboard? Then it would be very simple.


It's a small PCB that sits between (in the wiring sense) the keyboard pins on the Atari motherboard and the PS/2 keyboard & PS/2 keyboard.
I do not have the specs but Alanh have the exact measurements as he made the boards.
you have see the board at his site http://www.freemint.org/eiffel/eiffel.html
and how it is mounted by didier as well http://didierm.pagesperso-orange.fr/eiffel.htm
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Re: Universal Atari Modding Case

Postby bid » Sat Apr 30, 2011 12:54 pm

wongck wrote:
bid wrote:Is Eifel just a seperate PC keyboard? Then it would be very simple.


It's a small PCB that sits between (in the wiring sense) the keyboard pins on the Atari motherboard and the PS/2 keyboard & PS/2 keyboard.
I do not have the specs but Alanh have the exact measurements as he made the boards.
you have see the board at his site http://www.freemint.org/eiffel/eiffel.html
and how it is mounted by didier as well http://didierm.pagesperso-orange.fr/eiffel.htm


Cool. Ill add the fittings and mounting bits to the tower design when I'm back in. Going on an all day drinking session today with pals. Gonna get wrecked!!! (",)
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Re: Universal Atari Modding Case

Postby wongck » Sat Apr 30, 2011 1:48 pm

wthorbjo wrote:I've been looking for a suitable case to rehouse my CT60 Falcon for years, and even thought about making something similar to this myself.


So you received your CTPCI yet?
My Stuff: FB/Falcon CT63+CTPCI ATI R7500 14+512MB 30GB HDD CF HxC_SD EtherNEC/ TT030 68882 4+32MB 520MB Nova/ 520STFM 4MB Tos206 SCSI
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Re: Universal Atari Modding Case

Postby Shredder11 » Sat Apr 30, 2011 2:34 pm

bid wrote:
wongck wrote:This is excellent.
The keyboard opening to the outside world... does it allow for an Eifel to be fitted?


Is Eifel just a seperate PC keyboard? Then it would be very simple. If the Eifel requires a drilled hole or screw fixing points I will require a link and specs. I will then add this in a suitable location. Probably the right hand side, so its out of the way. Alternatively, there is a 12mm gap under the slanted front face (to allow for larger boards such as MEGA, MSTE and TT). This 12mm gap would accommodate any additional front facing cables that users wished to add to their board, external keyboards and the like. However, I can add a hole for a standard keyboard fitting if we can settle on a standard. I would then use this on the rehoused Atari style keyboard, which would be the one I would prefer on my unit, but I will make sure that Eifel also fits too. Please could you forward me the specs.


This thread from August 2009 shows the Eiffel being fitted inside a standard STE wedge form factor case:

http://www.atari-forum.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=17278&hilit=Eiffel

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Re: Universal Atari Modding Case

Postby alanh » Sat Apr 30, 2011 8:10 pm

Bid,

You're in Rotherham ?

I'm just outside Chester, and maybe could bring over a Falcon & CT60 & CTPCI to show you with an Eiffel too, unless someone is closer that has a Falcon setup. Anyone ?

I'm very interested in your case, and would probably take 4 or 5.
Falcon CT60, Falcon CT63 x2, TT x3, MegaST x2, MegaSTE x2, STFM x2, STE x2, STacy, STBook, (Dead) Hades 060, Milan 060, T40.

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Re: Universal Atari Modding Case

Postby alanh » Sat Apr 30, 2011 8:11 pm

Actually, Shredder looks very close to you. Any chance you can show bid a Falcon with CT60/CTPCI & Eiffel ?
Falcon CT60, Falcon CT63 x2, TT x3, MegaST x2, MegaSTE x2, STFM x2, STE x2, STacy, STBook, (Dead) Hades 060, Milan 060, T40.

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Re: Universal Atari Modding Case

Postby Shredder11 » Sat Apr 30, 2011 8:38 pm

I just have stock Falcons upgraded to 14MB and 68882 FPU; sadly no CT60/63/PCI.

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Re: Universal Atari Modding Case

Postby krupkaj » Sat Apr 30, 2011 8:58 pm

It is very nice concept, looking forward to real cases :)


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