Novena

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May

04

More on the Hackable Bezel

When designing Novena, we had to balance budget against hackability. Plastic parts are cheap to produce, but the tools to mold them are very expensive and difficult to modify. Injection mold tooling cost for a conventional clamshell (two-body) laptop runs upwards of $250,000. In contrast, Novena’s single body design has a much lower tooling cost, making it feasible to amortize tooling costs over a smaller volume.

The decision to use flat sheet aluminum for the LCD bezel was also driven in part to reduce tooling costs. Production processing for aluminum can be done using CNC, virtually eliminating up-front tooling costs. Furthermore, aluminum has great hack value, as it can be cut, drilled, tapped, and bent with entry-level tools. This workability means end users can easily add connectors, buttons, sensors, and indicators to the LCD bezel. Users can even design in a custom LCD panel, since there’s almost no setup cost for machining aluminum.

One of our first mods to the bezel is a set of 3D-printed retainers, custom designed to work with our preferred keyboard. The retainers screw into a set of tapped M2.5 mounting holes around the periphery of the LCD.

The idea is that the retainers hold a keyboard against the LCD bezel when transporting the laptop, protecting both the LCD the keyboard from impact damage while making it a little more convenient for travel.

Such an easily customizable bezel means a limitless combination of keyboards and LCDs can be supported without requiring expensive modifications to injection molding tools.

The flat design also means it’s easy to laser-cut a bezel using other materials. Here’s an example made out of clear acrylic. The acrylic version looks quite pretty, although as a material acrylic is much softer and less durable than aluminum.

We also added a notch on the bottom part of the bezel to accommodate breakout boards plugged into the FPGA expansion connector.

The low up-front cost to modify and customize the bezel enables experimentation and serendipitous hacks. We’re looking forward to seeing what other Novena users do with their bezels!

Thanks for your support,

bunnie and xobs

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May 18 2014

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Product Choices

$550

Just the Board

For crafty people who want to build their case and define their own style, we'll deliver to you the main PCBA, stuffed with 4GiB of RAM, 4GiB microSD card, and an Ath9k-based PCIe wifi card. Boots to a Debian desktop over HDMI.


$425

Hacker Case Kit

The barebones hacker case kit! It'll give you the structure on which to build your custom Novena set-up using your main board. Grab some mounting screws from the hardware store, and you're ready to go.


$16

Battery Holder

A holder for the standard Novena battery pack mentioned above. Holds the battery nicely in the Peek array of the injection-molded case. Has a 4mm bullet connector.


$50

AC Adapter

AC power supply for Novena configurations, with a US plug. 100-240V input at 50/60Hz and 1.5A. 18V output at 3.47A. Branded with the Novena logo!


$4

Cable Clips (Set of 3)

Helping you keep your project tidy, these cable ties screw (M2.5 screws with washers - not included) into the Novena case "Peek Array". Domestic shipping included.

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Credits

Sutajio Kosagi

Sutajio Ko-usagi supports and produces open hardware products designed by bunnie and xobs.


bunnie

Hardware

Sean Cross

Software


Mottweiler Studio

Heirloom laptop design and fabrication

AQS Inc.

Contract Manufacturer

Monstro

Video Editing

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