Making a PDP-11 bezel

Oscar Vermeulen oscar.vermeulen at
Fri Oct 23 05:54:39 CDT 2015


That's a work of art, together with the PDP-10 he did. I saw them running on a nice touch screen at VCF Berlin, and I wondered whether all this physical replication stuff makes sense when that's around at zero cost. Then I put my blinkers back on and went ahead anyway :)

>> You hit upon one of the key needs for these projects, a good replica bezel. 
>> In my project I had to have a plexiglass bezel laser cut then used white plastic 
>> to frame that bezel. It works but I would love to have a replica bezel.

Did you perchance make a CAD design for that, which could be reused? ;) I'm drafting a design at the moment, but far from perfect still.

I think of all the technologies available for making the bezel, vacuum forming seems to make the most sense. Injection molding is much better quality but just too expensive (tens of thousands USD). The other approaches, I think, work fine for small quantities. But I suspect there's a 'need' to make a few hundred.

Probably the best way is to make a very good open-source CAD model. Then make a low-cost vacuum forming mold, whilst anyone could still use the CAD file for higher-quality one-offs on a CNC router or, perhaps, 3D printer. The problem with vacuum forming is that you cannot make much more details other than the outer hull, which will look fine but need a lot of work on the inside to really mount in an original PDP-11.

Regards, Oscar.

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