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HP Forum Archive 18

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Open45s: Commitment poll
Message #1 Posted by Meenzer on 11 Nov 2007, 4:10 a.m.

First of all, I want to thank Pavneet for taking the lead in clarifying the goals of the Open45s project and coming up with so many important topics.

My main issue for starting this topic however is something else:

I am no engineer and don't deal with such projects on an every day basis like many of you presumably do. So I have no way to tell if this is the way it should be. Thus, please forgive me for bringing something up that might be obvious for most of you. It's just that I don't see clearly who, apart from Pavneet, is really commited to the Open45s project - to the extent that she/he would spend an amount x>$100 without knowing if there will ever be an actual project. I get the impression that most of the contributors say something along the lines of

nice...but my dream calc would look a little diffrent in this or that aspect and therefore I will keep my beloved HP xy and not invest in this project.

Being a lawyer by trade I love to have everything in writing ;-) Hence, I propose a definite outline of the project to be made (Pavneet ;-) ?) and people signing up while paying there share to the project's PayPal account.

I will gladly tell my own degree of commitment: I would not invest any amount of money in the project, but I would happily buy the calculator for ~ $100.

      
Re: Open45s: Commitment poll
Message #2 Posted by reth on 11 Nov 2007, 5:38 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by Meenzer

I'm in, I'll gladly give away $100 to support the project. Just open an account and publish details here. Keep up good work ! Reth

            
Re: Open45s: Commitment poll
Message #3 Posted by Pavneet Arora on 11 Nov 2007, 8:23 a.m.,
in response to message #2 by reth

I agree that this is an important question an deserves asking. However, I think that a project like this requires more than just money to succeed. It requires time and expertise in a much larger proportion. So I would like to expand the question to two parts:

1. Are you willing to contribute your time to the project? Hardware, software, design, sysadmin, etc.

2. Are you willing to contribute financially to the project?

To state the obvious, I am willing to contribute both time and money to the project.

Cheers.

      
Re: Open45s: Commitment poll
Message #4 Posted by Maximilian Hohmann on 11 Nov 2007, 12:12 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Meenzer

Hello!

Quote:
Being a lawyer by trade I love to have everything in writing ;-) Hence, I propose a definite outline of the project to be made (Pavneet ;-) ?) and people signing up while paying there share to the project's PayPal account.

An excellent proposal!

As I said earlier, I am willing to pay a reasonable amount of money (100$ without hesitation, even more, if the product is special in some way, e.g. if it will get a machined aluminium housing) for the calcualtor, if necessary via Paypal up front. Just for the sake of supporting the project and getting the calculator for my collection.

It would be different, however, if the calculator is useful for my work. In this case, I would contribute to the project both in terms of money and time (if my I can do something useful as a dumb aviator).

Therefore, I would suggest to finalise the most important design criteria as soon as possible, ideally by means of a questionaire that all interested persons can fill in and submit within a deadline.

With basic questions like:

Orientation: O landscape O portrait Graphics: O yes O no No. of lines O one O two O four Display type O LCD O LCD backlit O (O)LED O TFT I/O: O Memory card O USB O bluetooth O I/R Power supply: O X x AA O X x AAA O button cell O solar

and so on...

Greetings, Max

Edited: 11 Nov 2007, 12:13 p.m.

      
Re: Open45s: Commitment poll
Message #5 Posted by Miguel Toro on 11 Nov 2007, 3:48 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Meenzer

Well, I am in. At this moment I am a project manager, but I do not think I am a bad programmer. I could also contribute with some money. It would be easier if it can be done via Paypal.

Regards,

Miguel

      
Re: Open45s: Commitment poll
Message #6 Posted by Walter B on 11 Nov 2007, 5:04 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Meenzer

OK, I'm in. I'm willing to spend ~100 US$ for the project IF there is a reasonable chance there will be a touchable, half way decent calculator eventually at least for every member of the project team. And I will spend another ~100 US$ for such a calc itself IF it will be housed in a way it can be used in an office environment without the need to explain myself everytime I'll use it.

As many of you may have noticed ;) I like to design user interfaces (keyboards etc.) in a (hopefully somehow) logical manner. So, I offer my contribution to this topic. Additionally, though my software times were many years ago, I am trained in asking questions persistently, and can do some thorough quality checking of prototypes (HW and/or SW) as far as possible for me as a plain, but educated user.

HTH, Walter

      
Re: Open45s: Commitment poll
Message #7 Posted by Paul Dale on 11 Nov 2007, 8:09 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Meenzer

I'd probably put some $ into the project once it became clear that the project would likely reach some kind of fruition.

I'd definitely be up for buying the results.

I'm also willing to do or help do the software component.

- Pauli

      
Re: Open45s: Commitment poll
Message #8 Posted by DaveJ on 11 Nov 2007, 10:23 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Meenzer

*Warning Will Robertson"!! Whilst everyone's intentions are admirable, I cannot think of anything worse than people paying into some project fund hoping that something is going to magically pop out the other end. Having had experience in projects just like this, I can almost guarantee it's not going to work, and things will turn very nasty indeed.

If this thing is going to happen, here is (in my opinion) an example realistic and risk free way it could progress:

1) Forget having a project "fund" or project "team". Forget deadlines and commitments.

2) Mr Housing comes up with a *real* 3D cad drawing (not just a 3D render), with real dimensions and internal bits, and all the real stuff that you can simply feed into a 3D printer and get a real calc with pushing buttons. This is presented to the community and tweaked until at least a few people agree. This will need a some input from Mr PCB in #3, unless Mr Housing has the skills.

3) Mr PCB (who has one of the housings) designs a circuit and PCB and presents this to the community. Tweaks are done until at least a few people agree.

4) Mr Housing (or someone else) asks for PayPal donations to manufacture a couple of prototype housings. Mr PCB asks for PayPal donations to manufacture and assemble a few boards.

5) Quick'n'dirty check to make sure a second spin is not needed on either the housing or PCB. i.e. it fires up, we get hello world, and buttons push ok.

6) At this stage you know you have a real product. Further PayPal donations are taken to pay for a few more full prototypes.

7) Mr Software (who has one of the real prototypes) cuts some code to at least get the thing adding two numbers together.

Congrats, we have a real working first prototype.

Note that I haven't factored in the front panel or key legends.

Notice the BIG hurdle at step #2? There are several big hurdles which must be tackled by keen individuals. A project team isn't going to help one bit.

Also, and hears the rub, has it not occurred to everyone that the Open45s already exists in the form of Eric Smiths DIY3 prototype?? Eric's DIY3 prototype is **THE BEST** that any Open45s project can hope to produce as a first prototype. Just picture it in black with a bigger/better screen. If anyone thinks the Open45s prototype will look or operate substantially better than the DIY3, then they are kidding themselves.

It seems silly to waste all of Eric's effort and start from scratch, he's done all the hard yards. Perhaps Eric would be kind enough to share his vision of what he has in store for his DIY project, and if he is willing to share his drawings and knowledge so others can build on it?

Dave.

            
Re: Open45s: Commitment poll
Message #9 Posted by Eric Smith on 12 Nov 2007, 3:43 p.m.,
in response to message #8 by DaveJ

I generally agree with everything DaveJ said. While the 3D renderings that people have generated and posted here are very impressive, I think many of us are vastly underestimating what it takes to get from renderings and design concepts to a product.

Quote:
Perhaps Eric would be kind enough to share his vision of what he has in store for his DIY project,

I'm reluctant to describe any specific vision or goals publicly. To date, Richard Ottosen and I have each invested thousands of hours and thousands of dollars, and yet we are still far from having a viable commercial product. The prototypes we've displayed (and even sold) are not necessarily very representative of the type of final product we'd like to develop. We cannot make any specific commitments.

However, it does seem reasonably to expect that the next revision of the DIYRPN could have a bigger display (possibly dot matrix rather than character) and more powerful processor (perhaps an ARM). Whereas the current DIYRPN firmware is written in PIC18 assembly language and simulates the microcode of old HP calculators, a hypothetical future DIYRPN could be an open platform supported by free software development tools (e.g., GCC and GDB), and could conceivably leverage some of the free calculator software already publicly available.

Quote:
and if he is willing to share his drawings and knowledge so others can build on it?

I'm not sure whether I want to give out the Solidworks drawings, nor how many people here would actually be able to use them. However, I can export them as eDrawings files for use with the "free" (no-cost) eDrawings viewer, for those that would like to examine the models.

Case design seems to be fairly difficult, even with modern CAD tools. I can barely even imagine how it was done in the "good old days". My limited experience to date with Solidworks still seems rather crude compared to real products.

Note that having a 3D rendering of the exterior of a case is NOT the same thing as having a manufacturable case design.

While I'm certainly willing to entertain ideas and suggestions, I'm not convinced that it is practical to do case design as a collaborative effort.

                  
Re: Open45s: Commitment poll
Message #10 Posted by Pal G. on 13 Nov 2007, 8:50 a.m.,
in response to message #9 by Eric Smith

Quote:
While the 3D renderings that people have generated and posted here are very impressive,

Thanks.

Quote:
I think many of us are vastly underestimating what it takes to get from renderings and design concepts to a product.

I don't think anyone is underestimating much. DaveJ has been telling it like it is since day one so I think everyone is clear on the magnitude. :)

Quote:
Note that having a 3D rendering of the exterior of a case is NOT the same thing as having a manufacturable case design.

True, but it's half. Designing the inside of the case is not too difficult, and for a prototype all one needs is a bed for the PCB to lay on..

...

I have some good news. There is a company in New Jersey that I have worked with that specializes in low volume, short lead time, no tooling custom enclosures. I think they could be a good resource. The people I talked to over there (over several months, during a project) were great. They have mechanical engineers working there too (in case I die).

http://pei2000.com/Index.html

I am looking at a PDF of a quote from 2004. The line items are as follows:

Design&Eng'g: $700

Prototype 1: $1042

Prototype 2: $274

Total (for 2 prototypes): $2016

Here is the prototype:

CONCEPT 1 REMOVED TO AVOID CONFUSION

Regards, Pal

Edited: 13 Nov 2007, 12:28 p.m. after one or more responses were posted

                        
Re: Open45s: Commitment poll
Message #11 Posted by Walter B on 13 Nov 2007, 10:24 a.m.,
in response to message #10 by Pal G.

Hi Pal, please forgive me for asking something presumably very stupid, but so far I see 2 CAD models only. I cannot find the prototype :(

                              
Re: Open45s: Commitment poll
Message #12 Posted by Pal G. on 13 Nov 2007, 12:27 p.m.,
in response to message #11 by Walter B

Hi Walter,

In the last picture, the one with the geeks in it, you can see our prototype sitting on the desktop next to the white ibook. If you want better pictures of the prototype I will try to dig them off the server. The point was to illustrate that for $2000 we had something we were proud to show our customer.

Did you check out the PEI2000 website???

UPDATE: I found some photos.

Edited: 13 Nov 2007, 12:33 p.m.

                                    
Re: Open45s: Commitment poll
Message #13 Posted by Ren on 13 Nov 2007, 2:53 p.m.,
in response to message #12 by Pal G.

I'm guessing...

Your prototype is a humidor with LED's on the side indicating humidity levels.

It also contains a USB port to control the storage environment and notify a server if there is a problem. (e.g. Alert! Low on Havana's!). It may even open the door and have a servo lift the product for the client. (or a CO2 cartridge to launch one?)

But shouldn't cigars be stored horizontally?

I think the rich Chocolate color is a great idea, (cigars are brown, it defies the paradigm of putty colored appliances, and is more subtle, not attracting the attention of those you wouldn't want to share your best cigars).

And due to its sturdy construction, it can also be used to crack walnuts!

                                          
Re: Open45s: Commitment poll
Message #14 Posted by Pal G. on 13 Nov 2007, 5:00 p.m.,
in response to message #13 by Ren

You are close!

Actually, the unit is/was a revolutionary DNA amplifier.

http://usdd.com/Display_Page.php?pageTitle=DNA%20Amplifier

We built two working units. We managed to stuff five PCBs and (one web server) inside the enclosure. All of the boards were our design, one was a Rabbit 3000. The unit worked but our customer bailed on us. We were working with a group of chemical engineers who were seeking funding (DARPA), but they never got anyone to sign off so we were left holding nothing except two prototypes and the memories. We may have gotten paid a few $$$ but nothing close to what the company invested.

Cheers, Pal

                        
Re: Open45s: Commitment poll
Message #15 Posted by Eric Smith on 13 Nov 2007, 2:09 p.m.,
in response to message #10 by Pal G.

Quote:
True, but it's half. Designing the inside of the case is not too difficult,

That's what I thought too, until I started doing it. Now I'm not so sure. What is fairly clear to me is that design of an aesthetically pleasing case exterior and design of a good case interior require significantly different skill sets.

Quote:
Total (for 2 prototypes): $2016

I can make prototypes myself at TechShop for a lot less than that, though if the $700 includes the services of an expert industrial designer, it's quite a bargain.

However, what worries me more than prototype cost is production tooling cost. Making molds tends to be very expensive.

                  
DIY3F3 case images and eDrawings
Message #16 Posted by Eric Smith on 13 Nov 2007, 8:14 p.m.,
in response to message #9 by Eric Smith

Images and eDrawings files of some of the DIY3F3 case parts and assemblies may be seen here.

There is a link on that page to the download page for the eDrawings viewer, which is available for Windows and Mac OS at no charge.

                        
Re: DIY3F3 case images and eDrawings
Message #17 Posted by DaveJ on 13 Nov 2007, 9:11 p.m.,
in response to message #16 by Eric Smith

Quote:
Images and eDrawings files of some of the DIY3F3 case parts and assemblies may be seen here.

There is a link on that page to the download page for the eDrawings viewer, which is available for Windows and Mac OS at no charge.


Very cool indeed, thanks Eric! Love the engraving on the bottom of the case, nice touch.

I like how the button top simply slides over the existing switch post, that's how I would have done it, less fiddling about than with membrane switch domes I would expect.

Dave.

      
Re: Open45s: Commitment poll
Message #18 Posted by Meenzer on 16 Nov 2007, 3:55 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by Meenzer

This poll is up for 5 days now. 5 (five) enthusiasts commited themselves to the project during the first few hours.

Well, everybody, judge for yourself...

            
Re: Open45s: Commitment poll
Message #19 Posted by Pavneet Arora on 16 Nov 2007, 5:07 a.m.,
in response to message #18 by Meenzer

You were right to raise the question. However, with all community run projects, there are ebbs and flows.

For those who are interested in Open Source projects and how they can work, have a read of "The Cathedral and the Bazaar"

The Cathedral and the Bazaar

There continue to be contributions outside of the "Commitment Poll" thread.

I haven't yet had a chance to come up with a definition RFC, because:

1. It was Diwali, the South Asian festival of lights so lots of family commitments.

2. I have a project for a build-out of a 5,500 sq ft penthouse office which has had demolition, framing, electrical, concrete cutting tightly pipelined and crews working through the evenings and weekends for the past couple of weeks.

3. It was my birthday, which at this is point is a mere nostalgic curiousity ;).

However, this results of the poll, to my mind at least, neither validate nor invalidate the concept: an open source hardware calculator. Whether the project has legs to reach fruition, I cannot say at this point. But if I gave up at every obstacle, and lack of response to a poll is hardly an obstacle, I wouldn't be in business --- not my current one or my past ones.

I am also pursuing some other avenues for resources (personnel) that I'll report back on once I find out whether they are realistic.

Happy belated Diwali everyone!

Cheers.

                  
Re: Open45s: Commitment poll
Message #20 Posted by Arne Halvorsen (Norway) on 16 Nov 2007, 5:22 a.m.,
in response to message #19 by Pavneet Arora

Hmmm I feel bad for this...

Sure I will put up 100$ (preordering of a 45s :-).

But as said before by many, money aint what will kick this off. I think that would be something of more help later in a project.

But yea, if some project materialize that need some cash to get over a hurdle I would considering.

But sure gonna fork out 100 for a 45s! Do not think that is the problem.

                  
Re: Open45s: Commitment poll
Message #21 Posted by DaveJ on 16 Nov 2007, 6:51 a.m.,
in response to message #19 by Pavneet Arora

Quote:
However, this results of the poll, to my mind at least, neither validate nor invalidate the concept: an open source hardware calculator. Whether the project has legs to reach fruition, I cannot say at this point. But if I gave up at every obstacle, and lack of response to a poll is hardly an obstacle, I wouldn't be in business --- not my current one or my past ones.

Open source hardware calculators are already happening. Sounds as though Eric Smith will eventually be selling his DIYx in some way shape or form, and I'll eventually be selling my uWatch in some way shape or form also. OpenRPN may even emerge one day, maybe. All have (or will have) dedicated websites: http://www.openrpn.org/ http://www.diyrpn.com/ http://www.calcwatch.com/

All will be "open hardware" by the fact that they will be easy for anyone to program however they please.

No one's "ideal" calculator will ever appear because there is no such thing, everyone wants something different. Those who want to play with an "open source" calculator will have to use whatever happens to come along, be it a DIYx, a uWatch, a Phoenix, or something else entirely.

Dave.

                  
Re: Open45s: Commitment poll
Message #22 Posted by Maximilian Hohmann on 16 Nov 2007, 6:55 a.m.,
in response to message #19 by Pavneet Arora

Hello!

Quote:
3. It was my birthday, which at this is point is a mere nostalgic curiousity ;).

Happy birthday then :-)

And maybe, we as a community should commit ourselves that your next birthday present will be an Open45s "Phoenix"!

Greetings, Max

BTW: I have good contacts to one of the biggest manufacturer of sheet metal machinery here (incuding laser cutting and labelling) and have got some names of their customers who are specializing in prototypes and low-number series production. Just in case metal (aluminium or stainless steel) will be the chosen building material for the calculator case.


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