A New Look for a 90s Icon
Wednesday 14th October 2020
When Craig McGarrell came to us with a CAD project he wanted to turn into a prototype show piece, it was an excellent opportunity to showcase the talents of our talented engineers.
Craig had a passion for the Sega Mega Drive games console, the must have console of the 90s, and was keen to reimagine the original Mega Drive as a contemporary console using the design cues from the original.
If the gaming platform was in production today how would it look?
Craig’s contemporary vision of the Sega Mega Drive includes the console in two colour ways, a pair of controllers and a virtual reality headset, something that could only be dreamt of in the 90s!
This project was not destined to just be a simple set of painted 3D prints. Many of the parts were vacuum cast, an unusual route for the manufacture of just two prototypes, but in this case it was the best option to create the tinted translucent cases with the depth of colour which was a key design feature. In our prototypes we cast polyurethane resin for the cases, which were designed to leave internal electronics subtly on view through the production plastics. We supplied sample swatches at various thicknesses to fine tune this tint effect, something our prototype engineers often do to achieve the best results for tints and colours.
Dummy electronics and PCB boards were manufactured to build within each of these tinted case works, along with a CNC machined heatsink. This combination of mirror polish and satin texture finishes was a nod to the heritage of the original Sega Mega Drive styling. These finishes, as always were created on the master models pre-silicone tooling.
The Complete Fabrication team wanted to achieve maximum realism, so moving buttons and joystick seemed necessary for the games console, and we knew that if there is a button on a prototype someone will push it. We tapped into our previous knowledge of prototyping within the games industry to create some additional CAD to incorporate tactile buttons and 360° rotation on the joystick.
The virtual reality headset was an engineering challenge, bringing multiple materials together in an assembly, overcoming the leverage of the design which could be picked up by any point, had to be to fit a head and have no visible fixings in the design. The development team at Complete Fabrication prototyped the assembly in CAD and proved it out with master 3D prints before finishing and tooling. The end result included compliant tactile touch point materials, painted high resolution 3D prints as well as a vacuum cast ridged polyurethane case. The lenses within the headset were CNC machined and hand polished to water clear finish.
The last task before the assembly was to print the branding and product labels. No rubdowns on these prototypes, we printed all the graphics directly to the parts gaining longevity to the graphics into the foreseeable future.
This project has proved to be a great demonstration how the team at Complete Fabrication can take a project brief and develop our client’s CAD into a final show piece prototype.