Project: Spectrum | Metalworks


Hi there community!

We are back with more updates on Spectrum OLED. This time we would like to talk about the metal parts that make the chassis and heatsink. Last week our partner manufacturer received the first metal parts of our housing and we get to inspect it in person. Let’s take a look!

Shaping and assembling

Currently, we are still in the process of finalizing the tooling for our metal parts. So for this version of shielding, makeshift molds composed of bakelite resin (a hard plastic material) were used. This kind of mold is only good for producing a few units before disintegrating.

There are three metal parts that make up the inner structure of our housing: one which covers the back of the panel, one box-shaped which covers the entire motherboard, and finally a smaller piece that covers the daughterboard that houses the side ports. Together, these components provide us with mounting points for electronics and other parts, give structural rigidity to the monitor, provide thermal mass to aid in cooling our components, and offer shielding against electromagnetic interference (EMI).

After we received the parts, we attempted to assemble the motherboard into the shielding to see how it fits together. We used our manufacturer’s common room, which has a pool table. We figured that the flat felt surface is a good place to assembling our components without damaging them. During this assembly attempt, we noticed that the side port shielding does not fit well due to a slightly inaccurate cutout. Though these test parts were made based on careful measurements, such small issues are expected, and in fact the very reason we make such mock-up parts before finalizing the tooling. This, and any other issues we come across during assembly, will be fixed for our upcoming prototypes.

The top of the metal inner housing. Perforations are made to follow the back cover design.

Assembly process on top of the pool table! On the right, the panel is placed between two metal “sheets.” These are the extended inner frames for the panel.

The extended metal frame assembled to the back of the panel.

Metal shielding for the side ports. The left-most cutout (for 3.5mm jack) will be slightly altered with the uniformed surface area on the next iteration

Improvements, improvements

Before these test parts were made, we made some important final tweaks to our design:

  • We made the bottom ports flush with the port opening by slightly expanding the metal shielding.
  • We opened up one more line of holes on the shielding at the top.
  • We made all port openings to have uniform gaps all around.
  • We fitted the DC power opening to the 5.5 mm * 2.5 mm standard.
  • We reduced the tolerance for bottom Type-C to 0.5 mm on all sides.

Vastly improved metal shiedling
Diagram of bottom ports with uniformed gaps on all sides and tighter tolerance for Type-C port.

Measure gap
View from the bottom ports on the motherboard. Our partner measured the gap between the ports and motherboard to accurately fit them with the port openings.

Coming up next

The next process will be the actual sample itself. Soon, we will talk more about the detailed hands-on assembly process for our first sample unit (mockup)! It will give you a deeper insight into how the monitor is being assembled, part to part. As always, thank you for reading, and feel free to drop your comment below!

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