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.
If you do have a 3D printer and would like to print your own, the STL files can be downloaded from here.
I’m releasing these for free, but if you’d like to say thanks for all the hard work and wasted PLA over the last few weeks designing them, there is a donate link on the sidebar.