VOGONS


The quest for the perfect retro laptop: a saga

Topic actions

Reply 880 of 894, by 3lectr1c

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Thanks for the SENS 800 hinge guide, I need to loosen the ones on my unit that I recently acquired.
No one has 3D printed a whole new case because that wouldn't make sense for 3D printing technology. It's not the right texture, printing large durable parts isn't really doable for most setups, etc.

I probably have too many old laptops.

Reply 881 of 894, by Thermalwrong

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Just making replacement parts from existing is tough work, either you'd have to:

  1. Make moulds
  2. Design from scratch - only really do-able for the libretto, even then that's a complex structure
  3. 3d scan

I've never seen the original CAD data floating about online, which you'd need to create replacement parts with. Or perhaps the things the parts are molded from

I have a 3d scanner and the tech is improving but it's tough work and requires a fairly high end photogrammetry or 3d scanning capture setup to get enough detail to make functional replacement parts. Just making up this battery door was a couple of days work and that's with the 3d scanner already dialled in and me knowing how to work all the software. Notably though, this is the first design where I relied purely on scan data rather than going into Fusion 360 / parametric CAD, instead just using the 3d printing slicer software to add on parts and fix areas.

IMG_3355 (Custom).JPG
Filename
IMG_3355 (Custom).JPG
File size
746.5 KiB
Views
501 views
File license
CC-BY-4.0
IMG_3354 (Custom).JPG
Filename
IMG_3354 (Custom).JPG
File size
790 KiB
Views
501 views
File license
CC-BY-4.0

The trouble is, bits where there are mechanisms or where one part interacts with another, are notoriously difficult to scan since they can only be seen from a few angles meaning the scanner can't fully determine the 3d shape of parts it can't see.

printables-sat2800-batterydoor.png
Filename
printables-sat2800-batterydoor.png
File size
381.47 KiB
Views
501 views
File comment
scan data
File license
CC-BY-4.0
printables-sat2800-batterydoor.jpg
Filename
printables-sat2800-batterydoor.jpg
File size
467.37 KiB
Views
501 views
File comment
scans prepared for printing
File license
CC-BY-4.0

Just this battery cover took ages to print and the detail of FDM is almost not enough for the parts to work and fit properly in my Satellite 2800-500. Why'd I do this btw? Well I have two 2800-500 laptops one without the battery cover and parts for it seem to be entirely unavailable. I'm not 100% happy with the outcome since the slider doesn't stay attached but it's doing the job.

It'd be easier with some of the older laptops where like the tub chassis is a bit rectangle with some protrusions but then how to get it made? Resin works for small parts and FDM is good for big parts, but around the size of an A4 page and you'd need to break up a part into multiple pieces or get a bigger printer.

3lectr1c wrote on 2024-05-04, 23:08:

Thanks for the SENS 800 hinge guide, I need to loosen the ones on my unit that I recently acquired.
No one has 3D printed a whole new case because that wouldn't make sense for 3D printing technology. It's not the right texture, printing large durable parts isn't really doable for most setups, etc.

And there's this, FDM printing gives a rough surface finish and can be weaker at the same density as an injection molded part because of layer lines and imperfections. Resin is hard to get dimensionally accurate from what I've seen and can be weaker than FDM especially for big flat surfaces like the underside of a laptop.
There are 3d printing services that can do that though with more advanced printers that make stronger parts with better surface finishes. That might be better but the costs are not low, especially if more than one design iteration is needed.

IMO, where plastic parts can be repaired they should be - even when they're missing entirely 😜 Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?
But maybe that won't work forever and some of the plastic mixes i.e. glass fiber reinforced plastic are breaking down quicker than others. It would not be a small task to make replacement housings even for a select few models, but there are so many variants of laptops that'd be a mind boggling amount of work.

Reply 882 of 894, by supercordo

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
Thermalwrong wrote on 2024-05-05, 01:54:
Just making replacement parts from existing is tough work, either you'd have to: […]
Show full quote

Just making replacement parts from existing is tough work, either you'd have to:

  1. Make moulds
  2. Design from scratch - only really do-able for the libretto, even then that's a complex structure
  3. 3d scan

I've never seen the original CAD data floating about online, which you'd need to create replacement parts with. Or perhaps the things the parts are molded from

I have a 3d scanner and the tech is improving but it's tough work and requires a fairly high end photogrammetry or 3d scanning capture setup to get enough detail to make functional replacement parts. Just making up this battery door was a couple of days work and that's with the 3d scanner already dialled in and me knowing how to work all the software. Notably though, this is the first design where I relied purely on scan data rather than going into Fusion 360 / parametric CAD, instead just using the 3d printing slicer software to add on parts and fix areas.
IMG_3355 (Custom).JPGIMG_3354 (Custom).JPG
The trouble is, bits where there are mechanisms or where one part interacts with another, are notoriously difficult to scan since they can only be seen from a few angles meaning the scanner can't fully determine the 3d shape of parts it can't see.

printables-sat2800-batterydoor.png
printables-sat2800-batterydoor.jpg

Just this battery cover took ages to print and the detail of FDM is almost not enough for the parts to work and fit properly in my Satellite 2800-500. Why'd I do this btw? Well I have two 2800-500 laptops one without the battery cover and parts for it seem to be entirely unavailable. I'm not 100% happy with the outcome since the slider doesn't stay attached but it's doing the job.

It'd be easier with some of the older laptops where like the tub chassis is a bit rectangle with some protrusions but then how to get it made? Resin works for small parts and FDM is good for big parts, but around the size of an A4 page and you'd need to break up a part into multiple pieces or get a bigger printer.

3lectr1c wrote on 2024-05-04, 23:08:

Thanks for the SENS 800 hinge guide, I need to loosen the ones on my unit that I recently acquired.
No one has 3D printed a whole new case because that wouldn't make sense for 3D printing technology. It's not the right texture, printing large durable parts isn't really doable for most setups, etc.

And there's this, FDM printing gives a rough surface finish and can be weaker at the same density as an injection molded part because of layer lines and imperfections. Resin is hard to get dimensionally accurate from what I've seen and can be weaker than FDM especially for big flat surfaces like the underside of a laptop.
There are 3d printing services that can do that though with more advanced printers that make stronger parts with better surface finishes. That might be better but the costs are not low, especially if more than one design iteration is needed.

IMO, where plastic parts can be repaired they should be - even when they're missing entirely 😜 Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?
But maybe that won't work forever and some of the plastic mixes i.e. glass fiber reinforced plastic are breaking down quicker than others. It would not be a small task to make replacement housings even for a select few models, but there are so many variants of laptops that'd be a mind boggling amount of work.

Im sure, like minded people could come together and tackle the more popular laptops. A data base would need to be made for each laptop on what parts have been remade and what not.

Reply 883 of 894, by 3lectr1c

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Problem is there’s just too many laptops and no one model is popular enough… I can’t think of one most popular PC laptop. There’s the supposed best ones, but 90% are just gonna settle for something good enough, and there is PLENTY of good enough.

I probably have too many old laptops.

Reply 884 of 894, by Thermalwrong

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
supercordo wrote on 2024-05-05, 04:29:
Thermalwrong wrote on 2024-05-05, 01:54:
Just making replacement parts from existing is tough work, either you'd have to: […]
Show full quote

Just making replacement parts from existing is tough work, either you'd have to:

  1. Make moulds
  2. Design from scratch - only really do-able for the libretto, even then that's a complex structure
  3. 3d scan

I've never seen the original CAD data floating about online, which you'd need to create replacement parts with. Or perhaps the things the parts are molded from

I have a 3d scanner and the tech is improving but it's tough work and requires a fairly high end photogrammetry or 3d scanning capture setup to get enough detail to make functional replacement parts. Just making up this battery door was a couple of days work and that's with the 3d scanner already dialled in and me knowing how to work all the software. Notably though, this is the first design where I relied purely on scan data rather than going into Fusion 360 / parametric CAD, instead just using the 3d printing slicer software to add on parts and fix areas.
IMG_3355 (Custom).JPGIMG_3354 (Custom).JPG
The trouble is, bits where there are mechanisms or where one part interacts with another, are notoriously difficult to scan since they can only be seen from a few angles meaning the scanner can't fully determine the 3d shape of parts it can't see.

printables-sat2800-batterydoor.png
printables-sat2800-batterydoor.jpg

Just this battery cover took ages to print and the detail of FDM is almost not enough for the parts to work and fit properly in my Satellite 2800-500. Why'd I do this btw? Well I have two 2800-500 laptops one without the battery cover and parts for it seem to be entirely unavailable. I'm not 100% happy with the outcome since the slider doesn't stay attached but it's doing the job.

It'd be easier with some of the older laptops where like the tub chassis is a bit rectangle with some protrusions but then how to get it made? Resin works for small parts and FDM is good for big parts, but around the size of an A4 page and you'd need to break up a part into multiple pieces or get a bigger printer.

3lectr1c wrote on 2024-05-04, 23:08:

Thanks for the SENS 800 hinge guide, I need to loosen the ones on my unit that I recently acquired.
No one has 3D printed a whole new case because that wouldn't make sense for 3D printing technology. It's not the right texture, printing large durable parts isn't really doable for most setups, etc.

And there's this, FDM printing gives a rough surface finish and can be weaker at the same density as an injection molded part because of layer lines and imperfections. Resin is hard to get dimensionally accurate from what I've seen and can be weaker than FDM especially for big flat surfaces like the underside of a laptop.
There are 3d printing services that can do that though with more advanced printers that make stronger parts with better surface finishes. That might be better but the costs are not low, especially if more than one design iteration is needed.

IMO, where plastic parts can be repaired they should be - even when they're missing entirely 😜 Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?
But maybe that won't work forever and some of the plastic mixes i.e. glass fiber reinforced plastic are breaking down quicker than others. It would not be a small task to make replacement housings even for a select few models, but there are so many variants of laptops that'd be a mind boggling amount of work.

Im sure, like minded people could come together and tackle the more popular laptops. A data base would need to be made for each laptop on what parts have been remade and what not.

I can see it happening for some of the 90s Mac laptops in a few years once the plastic starts crumbling more on those, but yes I'm in agreement with 3lectr1c that laptops are too varied.
With the Macs those will have a dedicated following for just a few model variants like the TinkerDifferent forum and it's feasible that people would scan / recreate those parts like is happening for console parts now: https://bitbuilt.net/forums/index.php?forums/ … repository.183/
That bitbuilt forum is amazing, a few folks gathered together and have created a repository for 3d scans of original console housings and controllers with all sorts of customisations coming from those. And for consoles it makes a ton of sense because those are mass, mass-produced and stay the same for years on end.

There's no equivalent at all for computers right now, the 3d print repositories like thingiverse and printables are too general purpose.
A Laptop's housing is designed pretty much around the computer it's in and is bespoke, for instance the Toshiba Satellite 400 series, you'd think they're all the same right? Nope, I found out the hard way that the 400CDT's chassis is different from the 400CS in the screen bezel area, then the 400CDT's lower chassis is 1cm shorter than the 410CDT's chassis, the 430CDT is a little taller. So recreations of those instance you'd need discussions / sub-categories for each.

At the moment, 3d scanning of general objects where it's not a commision based service and models are just free to download, otherwise isn't happening from what I've been able to see.
3D scanning has never gained traction like 3d printing has, I think because there's no real cheap / diy option because the complexity of computer vision shuts out a lot of people and the people that have need of it are more than willing to pay for scanning equipment / services, like dental and jewelry scanning. The cheap scanners are too low res for part recreations or too poorly made to be particularly usable for scanning. Photogrammetry is a good option but I don't think it can achieve the same part accuracy / details that structured light scanning can, though that's my own bias since I have a well tuned structured light scanner and have had no luck with photogrammetry.

For laptop scanning and recreation parts, there are some where it already makes sense to do - the Toshiba Libretto is loved by quite a few including myself but the glass reinforced plastic turned brittle on those years ago and now sometimes they'll crumble like chalk.
People have started making 3d printed replacements for those but it's still no small task, even a libretto is quite large in 3d printing terms because it's large with lots of detailed bits so you can't just accelerate with a bigger nozzle.
But here are some examples, you can get an HDD cover and even print a replacement lid: https://www.yeggi.com/q/libretto/
Libretto HDD door / cover: https://www.printables.com/en/model/377530-li … -70ct-hdd-cover
Libretto 30 (not 50? argh) replacement lid shell: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:5333590
No one has yet stepped up with a recreation libretto chassis and my 3d scanner is deep in storage now...

However the counterpoint is that sadly a lot of the laptops that are holding up poorly are the ones made in Taiwan pretty cheaply in the 90s, analoguous to the cheaper end of the smartphone spectrum in the 2010s. Lots of short-lived companies each making their own pretty simple designs with tub chassis and minimal plastic structure complexity. Those could be re-created but there are so many variations it would be necessary to focus on the ones that most people have that are most affected.

Reply 885 of 894, by bjwil1991

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

I got a Zenith Data Systems Z-Note 325Lc that has a color TFT Active Matrix display, optional 2400 baud modem with the adapter, AAUI networking (yes, you read that right), and port replicator. Sadly, the display isn't working, the floppy drive didn't work and the replacement doesn't read/write 1.44MB diskettes, and it's crumbling a bit. But all in all, it's a cute laptop and there is no sound card internally other than the PC speaker, but the DigiSpeech Porta*Sound LPT adapter does wonders and so does the Disney Sound Source.

Discord: https://discord.gg/U5dJw7x
Systems from the Compaq Portable 1 to Ryzen 9 5950X
Twitch: https://twitch.tv/retropcuser

Reply 886 of 894, by MikeSG

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Testing a Toshiba Satellite 1800 just now and was able to boot to DOS via a PCMCIA adapter/IDE compatible Compact Flash card. (F12 boot menu)

They are a Coppermine-era Celeron/Pentium III. 256MB RAM. 15GB Enhanced IDE HDD. 24x CDROM/DVD. Yamaha sound. 13.3" TFT - 1024x768x32.

Video card is a Trident CyberBlade XP Ai1, 16MB 3D acceleration, DX9.0c compatible.

Windows XP. Very good built-in speakers. Case is reinforced ABS.

Has a good stretch of being able to run both DOS games and up to Quake 3/Half-Life.

Reply 887 of 894, by Skorbin

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

I got a Thinkpad T30.
Yes, the machine has a bad reputation and has its quirks (2 GHz Mobile Pentium 4 with rather high TDP, only AC'97 sound provided by AD1881A, etc. ), but I also got the Dock II (2877), so there is a PCI slot for further trials with discrete sound cards.
The mobility radeon 7500 is not a record breaker but still not bad ,either.

Under Windows XP the machine work rather nicely, but under Windows 98 (when using the dock) the number of available interrupts gets problematic.
I am still in the testing phase, but in general I like the machine.

For a pure DOS machine it is probably not really useful as I doubt that it can be slowed down enough and the XGA screen won't help, either.

For DOS / Windows 98 I also want to experiment with a Toshiba Satellite Pro 4600.
The Trident Cyberblade XP seems to be not bad, but until I learned about SBEMU, the missing DOS sound kept me from doing more with this machine (Yamaha 743)
It was actually lent to a friend so he could play some Win 98 games and just came back to me recently.

Reply 888 of 894, by 3lectr1c

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
bjwil1991 wrote on 2024-05-16, 06:25:

I got a Zenith Data Systems Z-Note 325Lc that has a color TFT Active Matrix display, optional 2400 baud modem with the adapter, AAUI networking (yes, you read that right), and port replicator. Sadly, the display isn't working, the floppy drive didn't work and the replacement doesn't read/write 1.44MB diskettes, and it's crumbling a bit. But all in all, it's a cute laptop and there is no sound card internally other than the PC speaker, but the DigiSpeech Porta*Sound LPT adapter does wonders and so does the Disney Sound Source.

what is the LCD doing? TFT lcds from pre-1995 very often need to be recapped. Anything made by Sharp pre-1995 is a must-recap for me. Even 1995 stuff I usually do even though it's probably not strictly necessary.

I probably have too many old laptops.

Reply 889 of 894, by bjwil1991

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

It's showing only a white screen and nothing more. If I don't have the outer front shell screwed on, it works fine. I recapped the darn thing and still nothing. If I had enough money, I'd get a modern replacement for it that has LED lights instead of those dreaded CCFL tubes. Unfortunately, with my current job, which by the by sucks, I cannot afford anything at the moment other than bills.

Discord: https://discord.gg/U5dJw7x
Systems from the Compaq Portable 1 to Ryzen 9 5950X
Twitch: https://twitch.tv/retropcuser

Reply 890 of 894, by Windows9566

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

I got a Thinkpad 760EL
Pentium 133MHz, 48MB RAM, Trident Cyber9385 1MB, ESS ES1688F, 800x600 TFT SVGA Screen, 4 GB CF Card, Windows 95 OSR 2.1
Quite a decent laptop, and it plays DOS games decently

R5 5600X, 32 GB RAM, RTX 3060 TI, Win11
P3 600, 256 MB RAM, nVidia Riva TNT2 M64, SB Vibra 16S, Win98
PMMX 200, 128 MB RAM, S3 Virge DX, Yamaha YMF719, Win95
486DX2 66, 32 MB RAM, Trident TGUI9440, ESS ES688F, DOS

Reply 891 of 894, by Trashbytes

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

This might be a long shot but Im in need of a restore disk or a ftp archive for a Toshiba Satellite 5205-S705 recovery software, Machine already has XP on it but doesn't have any of the other Toshiba software which it needs.

Also I have tried all the methods I can think of but how in hell do you access the BIOS on these laptops ?

Reply 892 of 894, by Thermalwrong

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
Trashbytes wrote on 2024-05-20, 08:29:

This might be a long shot but Im in need of a restore disk or a ftp archive for a Toshiba Satellite 5205-S705 recovery software, Machine already has XP on it but doesn't have any of the other Toshiba software which it needs.

Also I have tried all the methods I can think of but how in hell do you access the BIOS on these laptops ?

Hold down Esc while powering on the system and it will prompt to press [F1] to access the BIOS 😀

What files / software do you need for it? Toshiba (now Dynabook) were pretty good about giving software for their XP era laptops, the files look pretty complete on here when I select Windows XP as the OS: https://support.dynabook.com/support/modelHom … 84&osId=3333637

Reply 893 of 894, by Trashbytes

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
Thermalwrong wrote on 2024-05-21, 02:11:
Trashbytes wrote on 2024-05-20, 08:29:

This might be a long shot but Im in need of a restore disk or a ftp archive for a Toshiba Satellite 5205-S705 recovery software, Machine already has XP on it but doesn't have any of the other Toshiba software which it needs.

Also I have tried all the methods I can think of but how in hell do you access the BIOS on these laptops ?

Hold down Esc while powering on the system and it will prompt to press [F1] to access the BIOS 😀

What files / software do you need for it? Toshiba (now Dynabook) were pretty good about giving software for their XP era laptops, the files look pretty complete on here when I select Windows XP as the OS: https://support.dynabook.com/support/modelHom … 84&osId=3333637

Yeah I found that site a bit after posting here, still hoping someone has the original recovery media stashed somewhere.