Friday, November 02, 2007

Metalworking For Mac Users

So last night it was back to the workshop to fix the design flaws inherent in the stand for the Mac Studio Monitor.

As soon as I got in from my evening commute, right after I washed of the 2 inches of bird excrement that had been deposited on the windows of my car that day1, I descended into the basement and once again went through the elaborate ritual needed to remove the stand from the Monitor of Damocles. I then located the last two aluminum plates I possessed2 and began the process of turning them into a businesslike repair.

Each plate would end up as a 2.75 inch long, 1.5 inch wide affair, roughly trapezoidal but each end sloping at different angles and with a deep arc cut into the "short" long side so it would snug up to the center of the stand (recall that the new crack has formed running inwards, threatening to break into the center of the stand, so the plates must be set deeper in towards the center than the first repair). Mr Hacksaw mad short work of the various sloping cuts, and by cutting a series of slots into what would be the arc I was able to use it for getting out most of the metal there too. Then it was up to Mr Elbow Grease and Mr Half-Round File to achieve a professional-looking curve. Once again each plate was carefully bent by hand to the compound curve of the stand, glued in place with Gorilla Glue and clamped for a couple of hours during which I ate, watched "CSI" and sulked. Around midnight I drilled some holes and bolted the plates together.

Whoopee. Another successful repair achieved.

Overnight, Mr Brain mulled the problem of the Ever-Snapping Monitor Non-Support Of Stupidity instead of shutting down while I slept, with the result that although I passed out for seven hours or so, I feel like I just pulled an all-nighter. Magic.

What I've come up with is less than stellar. The problem is that too much of the weight is balanced over the front "legs" of the stand, causing the legs to try and spread when the monitor is on it. It is inevitable that now I have prevented the bloody thing breaking at its weakest spots, it will eventually break at the next weakest spot. The design is fundamentally flawed to the point of uselessness, and needs supplementing to remain functional. I tried various mock-ups for an aluminum strap running between the legs and holding them together, but I couldn't find a place to attach it without requiring a bend in the strap or screws in the part that rests on the bench. The former will mean the strap can flex, rendering it useless, and the latter will mar the surface the stand is set upon.

The only other things I could come up with were a triangular arrangement of blocks on a baseboard that the stand would sit in and the iBlox. The baseboard idea works by preventing the legs spreading. The legs start to widen, then engage in the blocks that stop them moving any more. The iBlox simply let the stand sag a small distance (less than a millimeter I'm thinking) and then provide support at the stand center where it should have been all along. The down side of that is that the point of contact is the locking boss for the stand, which, being made of plastic, could be damaged by having weight put on it.

It's all very annoying.

  1. I did this to avoid getting crap inside my doors when I wound down the windows, which I would have to do since I literally could not see through them any other way, and to put me in the mood for jousting with the idiotic design of the monitor stand
  2. one of the annoyances of this business is that it has exhausted my stock of small aluminum plates kept around for quick repair jobs. Now I shall have to find some more

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