Liquidmetal created SIM ejector tool for Apple's iPhone, iPad

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Comments

  • Reply 41 of 67
    dluxdlux Posts: 666member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FineTunes View Post


    Casting is certainly cheaper than machining, but does any one know the cost of the material that will go into the casting? What is the largest size cast that LmT have done--couldn't find anything on their web site about size.



    With most metals, objects machined from solid billets are stronger than a cast counterpart. It has to do with the grain structure. Cast iron, for example, is relatively easy to crack (such as a knocked-off fire hydrant), whereas rolled forms typically only bend (such as I-beams and solid billet). I'm not sure if I'd want a portable computer case to be made from a casting, due to the chances of an impact breaking a piece off.



    I have no knowledge of Liquid Metal's propertied, but if someone earlier said they broke their ejector instead of merely bending it (such as with a much softer but more ductile paperclip) that implies that it might ultimately break/shatter if subjected to an impact. (Not that the glass faces currently used for iPhones are any better in this regard - it's just a matter of degree.)
  • Reply 42 of 67
    finetunesfinetunes Posts: 2,065member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dlux View Post


    With most metals, objects machined from solid billets are stronger than a cast counterpart. It has to do with the grain structure. Cast iron, for example, is relatively easy to crack (such as a knocked-off fire hydrant), whereas rolled forms typically only bend (such as I-beams and solid billet). I'm not sure if I'd want a portable computer case to be made from a casting, due to the chances of an impact breaking a piece off.



    The present MBP are milled from solid Aluminum billets. The castings, if there are goint to be any are cast from some form of amorphous metal alloy that is stronger that titanium and more scratch resistant than stainless steel. The question is how much the castings amorphous metal will cost when compared with the current milled case.



    This might help with the cost estimates of the materials:



    "Because glassy metals do not contain crystals, they are not subject to the denting, corrosion, and tearing problems that result when the crystals that are typical of conventional metals are pushed out of alignment.



    Currently, the major drawback of glassy metals is their price. Because they are created with such expensive metals as zirconium, titanium, beryllium, nickel and copper, 1 lb (0.45 kg) of the product costs between $10 and $20, as opposed to steel, which typically costs $0.25 per pound, or aluminum, which costs about $1 per pound."



    http://www.liquidmetal.com/news/dsp.news.04x104.asp
  • Reply 43 of 67
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,993member
    To those seizing on the "paperclip":



    "The hand points to the moon,

    The fool looks at the finger."



    This move so exemplifies what makes Apple different than its competition. I doubt this is a speculative move. I think they had a very clear idea of how they would utilize this new material when they bought the rights. That is not to say that many more uses won't emerge as Apple goes forward. This is a visionary strategic move that not only has the potential to allow Apple to design products and look and function very differently, but it locks out the competition from copying them.



    Imagine that Henry Ford had the exclusive rights to rubber for use as tires on his early cars. The competition could design leather or canvas wheels that looked like tires, but . . . .
  • Reply 44 of 67
    nceencee Posts: 857member
    Dummy me, I sold all my stock in this company when they were on the verge of collapse!



    Skip
  • Reply 45 of 67
    bagmanbagman Posts: 349member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dlux View Post


    I just pulled out my ejector tool, and the damn thing morphed into a policeman!



    Fortunately I live right next to an iron-casting foundry.



    Funny, mine morphed into the HOT terminator woman-android (can't say Droid without paying Lucas royalties).



    I got assimilated with no futile struggle, and with a smile on my face. (sorry for the mixed metaphor)



  • Reply 46 of 67
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sheff View Post


    Would be sick if they made a Mac Pro case out of this - the all new, virtually indestructible Mac Pro.



    Macbook Air would be even sicker. THey could make it even thinner. Macbook air - magically light, amazingly tough.



    at least someone gets it. nice sig too, btw. still hate that adobe only supports hardware acceleration on 3 laptop graphics cards and that it still seems to flush memory way too often causing the infamously noticeable performance hiccup
  • Reply 47 of 67
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,665member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post


    To those seizing on the "paperclip":



    "The hand points to the moon,

    The fool looks at the finger."



    This move so exemplifies what makes Apple different than its competition. I doubt this is a speculative move. I think they had a very clear idea of how they would utilize this new material when they bought the rights. That is not to say that many more uses won't emerge as Apple goes forward. This is a visionary strategic move that not only has the potential to allow Apple to design products and look and function very differently, but it locks out the competition from copying them.



    Imagine that Henry Ford had the exclusive rights to rubber for use as tires on his early cars. The competition could design leather or canvas wheels that looked like tires, but . . . .



    Really. Apparently Apple locked up the rights to this material just so they could make glorified paperclips, and everyone's lying about the material's rigidity and strength because a few people ran and got their SIM eject tools and bent them.



    Or, Apple locked up the rights to this material because they believe it will allow them to engineer better enclosures, used the SIM tool as a low profile test mule to check out the manufacturer's ability to engineer to tight tolerances, hit deadlines, maintain quality, etc., and the people who can easily bend theirs have the mild steel version.



    I expect the next bit of kit from Apple featuring Liquidmetal to be somewhat more ambitious (Shuffle case? Magic Pad enclosure?) as a further exploration of their manufacturing partner's capabilities, followed by a much higher profile product-- iPhone or iPad. From what people have mentioned about the cost of this stuff, it doesn't seem all that likely that we'll be seeing a MacBook Pro with a Liquidmetal case any time soon, but a Liquidmetal backed iPad might just hit the sweet spot of a cost to performance ratio.



    On the other hand, I get the feeling that Apple is willing to cut into their margins when more expensive materials technology gives them a big point of differentiation (see also the Retina Display), so perhaps larger Liquidmetal devices aren't entirely out of the question. A laptop case that was lighter, stronger and more impervious to scratching or denting than the current unibodies would be a great selling point for the MacBooks.
  • Reply 48 of 67
    Speaking about Shuffle cases... remember the special edition "chrome" Shuffle? Any chance it might have been LM?
  • Reply 49 of 67
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post


    So, its a liquid metal paperclip



    I hear it's great for removing earwax.
  • Reply 50 of 67
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    Yeah, but as a *test* of a new super-metal to see how sturdy it is and if the properties change over a few years or so while you are thinking of buying the rights to it ... it makes perfect sense.



    No it doesn't.



    Do you really think it sensible to produce millions of test parts using a material that costs at least 30 times as much as aluminium rather than produce a few engineering samples and test them in a materials lab and in the field.



    On second thoughts, maybe Apple's thought processes are as poorly functional as yours, and the iPhone4 antennae issue is the result.
  • Reply 51 of 67
    I don't know about that...I was able to bend my SIM ejector tool pretty easily and my fingers are fine. Besides that, mine is a silver-colored piece of metal. Almost like aluminum. It's just thy weak. That being said, it's a SIM ejector tool...I really couldn't care less what it's made of, but if they used it as a coating, in more substantial quantities for structural support, or any number of other cooler things, then let's talk about how incredible it is. As far as A dry run for testing the manufacturing process goes...I'm unimpressed.
  • Reply 52 of 67
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,993member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post


    No it doesn't.



    Do you really think it sensible to produce millions of test parts using a material that costs at least 30 times as much as aluminium rather than produce a few engineering samples and test them in a materials lab and in the field.



    On second thoughts, maybe Apple's thought processes are as poorly functional as yours, and the iPhone4 antennae issue is the result.



    There's more to testing than just physical properties as others on this thread have ably pointed out. Your second paragraph/sentence has all the hallmarks of trollishness: gratuitous insult and dredging up an issue that the marketplace has already dispensed with just to take a shot at Apple.
  • Reply 53 of 67
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iphoniac View Post


    I don't know about that...I was able to bend my SIM ejector tool pretty easily and my fingers are fine. Besides that, mine is a silver-colored piece of metal. Almost like aluminum. It's just thy weak. That being said, it's a SIM ejector tool...I really couldn't care less what it's made of, but if they used it as a coating, in more substantial quantities for structural support, or any number of other cooler things, then let's talk about how incredible it is. As far as A dry run for testing the manufacturing process goes...I'm unimpressed.



    There appear to be some ejector tools that are made of Liquid Metal? and some that are just chrome-plated steel.
  • Reply 54 of 67
    successsuccess Posts: 1,040member
    I saw the staff using that at the store I bought my iPhone at. I didn't know it came with it. I was thinking it was cool and too bad I didn't get one. I guess I should check my box more thoroughly lol
  • Reply 55 of 67
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FineTunes View Post


    Currently, the major drawback of glassy metals is their price. Because they are created with such expensive metals as zirconium, titanium, beryllium, nickel and copper, 1 lb (0.45 kg) of the product costs between $10 and $20, as opposed to steel, which typically costs $0.25 per pound, or aluminum, which costs about $1 per pound."



    http://www.liquidmetal.com/news/dsp.news.04x104.asp



    I haven't checked the list of alloys to see which alloy might be suitable, but let's use your numbers.



    We'll start with a $10 to $20 per pound difference. In a MacBook Pro, there's probably about 1/2 pound of aliminum. That means a $5-10 difference. Not really that bad on a $2,000 device - if it gives you some advantages.



    The difference might be smaller than that, as well:

    - Liquidmetal is stronger than aluminum, so you might be able to use less. It is denser, too, so I don't know if what you gain on strength would be offset by density, but it very well could.



    - The cost of casting this material will almost certainly be less than the cost of machining aluminum.



    - Less waste. Even though they're recycling aluminum, there's a cost to that.



    - Not to mention the 'cool' factor. It would help them to sell more systems.
  • Reply 56 of 67
    meelashmeelash Posts: 1,045member
    This is pretty cool. Apple with exclusive rights to a new super metal??!! That's a pretty much unmatchable competitive advantage over other companies, unlike all the "look and feel" patents on software that always get blatantly trampled on.
  • Reply 57 of 67
    meelashmeelash Posts: 1,045member
    Oh, and lol at people who are getting mad at apple for making a SIM ejector tool out of it... Seriously you people??!!!!
  • Reply 58 of 67
    finetunesfinetunes Posts: 2,065member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    I haven't checked the list of alloys to see which alloy might be suitable, but let's use your numbers.



    We'll start with a $10 to $20 per pound difference. In a MacBook Pro, there's probably about 1/2 pound of aliminum. That means a $5-10 difference. Not really that bad on a $2,000 device - if it gives you some advantages.



    The difference might be smaller than that, as well:

    - Liquidmetal is stronger than aluminum, so you might be able to use less. It is denser, too, so I don't know if what you gain on strength would be offset by density, but it very well could.



    - The cost of casting this material will almost certainly be less than the cost of machining aluminum.



    - Less waste. Even though they're recycling aluminum, there's a cost to that.



    - Not to mention the 'cool' factor. It would help them to sell more systems.



    If you factor in the cost savings of casting as opposed to machining, I think that the price differential might be less. You might also be able to produce more cases/hour with castings.
  • Reply 59 of 67
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,993member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post




    - Not to mention the 'cool' factor. It would help them to sell more systems.



    Exactly. You remember the Titanium PowerBook? Its case material was its primary selling point. Not to piss on my own parade, but I was issued one through work, and it was the only Mac case I ever owned that cracked--in two places! Still, it was pretty and cool. I think Apple learned that titanium, at least in the way they were using it in the pre-milled billet era, was just not all that.
  • Reply 60 of 67
    dluxdlux Posts: 666member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post


    Exactly. You remember the Titanium PowerBook? Its case material was its primary selling point. Not to piss on my own parade, but I was issued one through work, and it was the only Mac case I ever owned that cracked--in two places!



    I've got two of them, one of which I still use for road trips, and there's nothing wrong with the cases. And these things have been knocked around. Perhaps you got a bad unit (or I somehow got two really good ones)?
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