The SDrive-MAX is an amazing device for your Atari 8-Bit; think of it as an unencumbered, open source, enhanced version of your SIO2SD. For all its awesomeness I felt the available case designs were letting it down a lot. I’ve been looking for an excuse to learn a bit of 3D modelling, so I set out to design some new cases that do the device justice.
I don’t have any 3D software. Blender feels like it needs a better brain than the one I own to use it properly, and I cannot justify $$$$ sums for modelling software if I don’t earn a living using it, so I ended up with Tinkercad.
Tinkercad is surprisingly awesome. The limited toolbox, missing features and occasional strange limitations require you to think around a problem that you’d expect to be a simple task in a full blown package, but you can’t complain about free software, so think around the problem is what I did.
For myself, I wanted a 1050, so that was the first one. I started with a model 1050 I found on Thingyverse but I fought with it from the start. It was hollow; I wanted solid. It didn’t have the right gap at the front so I tried to fill in a couple of vents to correct it, which left marks. It all got very messy, so I just gave up on that and designed my own from scratch.
I saw a modified 1010 cassette unit on Facebook and thought it looked really good and it was really only a truncated 1050, so I did that as well. When I started showing my progress on AtariAge and Facebook, people started requesting other designs and the most popular ideas were the 810 and XF551, so I added those as well.
The 810 was the hardest design to do; there are a lot of curves in interesting directions that merge with other curves in other interesting directions, all a bit of a nightmare to do in Tinkercad. Workplanes made it possible to do most of the weird angles but I really struggled with some of the corners.
The XF-551 was the easiest one to do and it only requires one colour so that’s a bonus, but it was too thin. By the time I had sized up the case to be thick enough it was enormous, so I added a plinth to the bottom of the case. The plinth increases the height a bit without increasing the other dimensions so I don’t have to scale too far to get it all to fit. It still looks right, even though strictly speaking, it isn’t.
The next problem was the PLA colours; it turns out to be really hard to get colors close to the real ones. Here are the final models in the closest colours I could find. Many brave printouts were discarded to bring you these images.
How do I get one
Each one of these cases took about $5 of PLA and 10 hours of print time so I only produced a limited number of these cases. All of them have now been sold. As a thank you for supporting the original artist, cases ordered from me have a signed, numbered back panel. A run of these cases without limited edition back panels is now available.