NeXT Computers Forum Index NeXT Computers
www.NeXTComputers.org
 
Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages

Log inLog in  RegisterRegister


Profile  Search  Memberlist  FAQ  Usergroups
Manufacture Cube (&Maybe Slab)
Goto page 1, 2  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    NeXT Computers Forum Index -> Black Hardware
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
jminiko



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 2:31 pm    Post subject: Manufacture Cube (&Maybe Slab) Reply with quote

Hello girls and buddies,
I am pleased to annouce that I am in the process of manufacturing a serie of 33Mhs slab & cube. I have set up a crowdfounding
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/next-revival-apple/x/7917876#/
into that direction and expect some help from you. My first question is what kind of 68040@33MHz where shipped with the turbo cube & slab?
You can reach me in pm to detail me the processor used.
I know that there was some variants, the one I suspect to work is the PGA one.
Any info more on that?
Regards,
Jim

PS: although the business is hard these times but I know this project can succeed so if you think you can help me no problem I will be more than pleased
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
cuby



Joined: 12 Jan 2006
Posts: 164
Location: Coburg, Germany

PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry to destroy your hopes... but your project is far from realistic.

Let me state some of the reasons I can think of:

    - Neither the 68040 (it's the PGA version, btw.) nor the DSP56001 are manufactured any more and have not been for many years (Tekmos has a 68020 clone built from Motorola design files (see http://www.tekmos.com/products/68020-microprocessors), but no 68030/40 and OnSemi doesn't seem to have, either. Either way, these reproduced chips are outrageously expensive)
    - Most of the 68040's on eBay etc. are MMU/FPU-less versions which will not run NeXTstep
    - The Cube mainboard has at least four custom chips (two Fujitsu gate arrays, the NBIC and one custom Motorola chip)
    - FPM/EDO DRAMs might still be easy to find used or NOS, but there are no guarantees this will stay that way
    - The Cube mainboard has a large number of layers (10 IIRC) and is extremely difficult to layout and expensive to manufacture


Oh, for the color Cube you describe you will also need a source for intel 860 CPUs and another set of custom chips... good luck with this.

The situation doesn't look better for the slabs with the exception that you might "only" need injection molding tools and not tools for building one cubic foot magnesium cube cases... maybe you can build one of the injection molding special tools for the $200k minimum sum you try to raise via Indiegogo.

Again, sorry to let you down, but I think it is completely irresponsible to advertise such a project and have people invest in this. I would advise you to cancel it.

A more realistic approach would be an FPGA reimplementation of a NeXT machine, e.g. utilizing the (commercial) Apollo 680x0 core http://www.apollo-core.com. With all the work on reverse engineering the NeXT hardware for Previous, it seems that a lot of information required to do this might be available. However, an FPGA that is big enough to fit a complete NeXT machine is not cheap, either.

An FPGA-based project of similar complexity is the recreation of a Sun4m machine (Sparcstation 5) at http://temlib.org. This one is able to run NeXT/OpenStep for SPARC, btw.

-- Michael
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
neozeed



Joined: 15 Apr 2006
Posts: 691
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sourcing those chips will honestly be a nightmare. Honestly, you'd have much easier time making a x86 board to fit into a cube backplane.

And then there is the OS. NeXTSTEP is to put it nicely horribly obsolete. Let's face it, there was no killer app in 1988, 1995 or certainly on 2017. If this can't run a browser that can do the 2 top user things, YouTube and Facebook it'll be a dud. Unlike the Amiga, ST, C64 or ZX spectrum, NeXT hardware didn't find its way into normal people's hands until it was abandoned as obsolete junk.

The best hope we have right now is the Darwin source.

It can boot a NeXTSTEP and OPENStep CD. There is hope that with enough tweaking and substitution we can boot either to a desktop.

I hate to say it, but x86 won. You'd be better off paying people to work full time to work on Darwin, and improving what we can to get a webkit browser.
_________________
# include <wittycomment.h>
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
barcher174



Joined: 07 Dec 2012
Posts: 560

PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2017 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can comfortably say that there is zero possibility of a single cube/slab being produced by 11/17. You have no prototype, zero technical information, and have provided no credentials. I also fail to see why anyone would pay more for a replica than the real thing.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Rob Blessin Black Hole
Site Admin


Joined: 05 Sep 2006
Posts: 597
Location: Ft. Collins, Colorado

PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2017 2:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello jminiko: I think you have a lot of heart to advertise this idea, and you will probably encounter a lot of hurdles by the way LOL. It is an interesting concept to ask for a large amount of money for non existent vaporware like back in the day, call it bad magic but you are actually going after trademarked LOGO's and patented form factors owned by Apple obviously without consulting with anybody, just throwing it out there for you about the legal aspects of this.
So if you actually raise $200K and need a supplier of original working NeXT hardware believe it or not, I'm still selling original NeXT hardware and at the prices you are asking holy crap, I might be able to deliver a few honestly that would be nicely refurbished or may be I should start my own indiegogo , peace brother.
What are the consequences legal and reputation wise , if you raise $200K and can't deliver anything in your projected timeline of November 2017 ? I'm looking at it from our perspective of the NeXT forum when they come looking for you ..... On a positive note,
I've seen some nice mods done with existing NeXT Station and NeXT Cube Shells and I've actually done work for the original designer of the Cube, I know Hartmut will have something to say about it and you appropriating his designs for this project. So it is a slippery slope here and there, a lot to be said about having hardware in hand to deliver verse a pipe dream and collecting a load of money on promises , wow just wow. I've have seen some successes personally sponsoring or buying into a kickstarter project , where the products actually arrive after awhile but sometimes they never show up , what you are talking about is taking this to a whole new level. I know what it takes to get one fully refurbished NeXT system operational, I've been doing it 24 years LOL, it is not easy. Sourcing parts are you kidding you should see what we went through just to make and revive db 19 connectors.
I checked out your page and would ask others to as well , I would not recommend a purchase or investment to anyone with you at this time honestly. In the future should these investors come looking for you after November 2017 and point at me LOL , I'll send them to this very post. Heck my website is always in the process of being upgraded and far from perfect; but I try, I don't want to shatter your dreams but I'm currently working on some projects with other forum members that will make current NeXT hardware owners specifically Cube owners very happy . Yes might as well let the cat out of the page that X86 cube motherboard expansion project , we are working on it as we speak just wanted to be further along before talking about it in depth. The engineers that are currently working on the modified atx power supply that will integrate with the existing Cube backplain and power up is a challenge on its own. If all go's well dual boards a 68040 25Mhz Cube board and an ATX board that supports Openstep will finally be possible but it is a ways off yet. Now what is fun currently is NEO , ncommander and others are rocking on a miraculous OS upgrade which will be fun as it opens up later model motherboards LOL but also requires a lot of drivers to handshake with software components. I'm trying to keep it on the downlow , also if we can bring in a dimension board for a 3 board mix eventually that'll be awesome . Once we are further along in this endeavor , I'll post photos and yes we will want the help of all you great forum members including jminiko , as his heart is probably is in it just trying to keep him out of legal and ethical trouble. Ethically I would strongly suggest removing the page before you are heavily trolled or worse actually collect money for a non existant project , that is just my opinion from the heart not trying to be mean . Smile Best regards Rob Blessin
_________________
Rob Blessin President computerpowwow ebay sales@blackholeinc.com http://www.blackholeinc.com
303-741-9998 Serving the NeXT Community since 2/9/93
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
jminiko



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2017 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

News from the trenches!!

We successfully sourced the main item in the NeXT stations (both the slab and the cube) and namely the motorola 68040 at 33MHz, our supplier can manufacture us a volume of roughly 400 pieces hence allowing to go further in the process of prototyping and make a first new NeXT workstation.

The NeXTSTEP would be the assembly of the other elements for the production line, an electronic engineer is also sought after to detail further the plans and electronic design we have.

Just drop us an email at: jean-marc@iniko.engineering or call us +33 6 65 72 71 22

Thanks for your attention,



The team
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Rob Blessin Black Hole
Site Admin


Joined: 05 Sep 2006
Posts: 597
Location: Ft. Collins, Colorado

PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2017 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello: If you are going to do this why use 68040 33Mhz processors ? How much per unit cost * 400 ? Are they actually NeXT Compatible?
So look at how NeXT actually made the motherboard http://www.nextcomputers.org/NeXTfiles/Videos/ seriously this is going to be a hurdle , do you have one of these machines ... that alone will squash your $200K theoretical budget .
I've been doing this a very long time, so here is what I would do and it is only my opinion ,if someone wants to do this idea and I've seen it / done it successfully , my thought is a intel based mod to an existing NeXT case is hela easier and NeXTSTEP / Openstep on Intel screams in comparison to 68040 33Mhz then you can run Previous for 68K support or just Mac a Linux, MAC OSX / Windows and or Compatible board so you have multi
operating system compatability as well in an old NeXT shell which brings in modern functionality doh but you will probably need permission to use the design of the NeXT Cases. I might be able to actually get this , if your going to actually manufacture custom motherboards an intel board designed with components supported by NeXT drivers that fits the footprint of the old Cases would be more sane. That way if you really want NeXSTEP or Openstep to run natively it works also it seriously cuts way way down on manufacturing and sourcing obsolete components , I would be the person to know all of this been there done that...

in fact the real easy way to do this a Mac Mini simply fits inside an original NeXT Station or NeXT Cube Case, closed and wireless keyboard and mouse bam , yeah I'll offer this as of now LOL and with a cube you can actually still have a functioning cube on one side and the mini on the other it's genius also keeps the Apple Legal folks from chomping at the bit , now all we need is an AB Monitor switch box and a wireless keyboard and mouse translator for the NeXT !

Best Regards Rob Blessin
_________________
Rob Blessin President computerpowwow ebay sales@blackholeinc.com http://www.blackholeinc.com
303-741-9998 Serving the NeXT Community since 2/9/93
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
andreas_g



Joined: 30 Jan 2009
Posts: 422
Location: Austria

PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 2:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with previous posters that the idea of manufacturing a copy of a 68k NeXTcube or NeXTstation is not feasible, although i would not have chosen that hard words to express it. With the amount of money you plan to use one could reach the goal in a different and much easier way:

If one used the money to pay a "real programmer" (i'm not calling myself a real programmer, as i am just a self-taught hobbyist) to improve Previous i think one could get results very close to real hardware, probably almost indistinguishable. Work needs to be done on timings and some parts need to be changed to be closer to reality. The information required for this needs to be collected anyway, as it would also be required to re-produce real hardware.

Then one could manufacture a Cube filled with modern hardware to run NeXTstep in the emulator (of course keeping an eye on the legal stuff that Rob described). The emulator is flexible enough to run it as 68030 Cube or as 68040 Turbo Dimension Cube and as an option can go beyond the speed of real black hardware.

The emulator is not bound to a specific platform, so if one wants to avoid boring x86 processor one could fill the custom Cube with any other hardware for fun.

Note: Keep in mind the GPL license of Previous.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
neozeed



Joined: 15 Apr 2006
Posts: 691
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jminiko wrote:
our supplier can manufacture us a volume of roughly 400 pieces


A 68040 is not a small processor... And to have someone make one? I'm pretty sure nobody is going to do a run of 400 anything as complicated as a 68040 for anything around the prices you are going to hope for. Best you can hope for is 400 used 20 year old 68LC040's at 100EUR each.

Also the CPU isn't the 'main' chip to source, it's the 2 Fujitsu custom logic chips.

You won't pull this off with 200k, you would need something more like 20,000,000MM in the 1990's when this stuff was closer to off shelf. And just as then as it would be today, honestly it would cost closer to $10,000 each, and who is going to buy them?
_________________
# include <wittycomment.h>
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
paolo.bertolo



Joined: 24 Sep 2015
Posts: 57
Location: St Gallen, Switzerland

PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember once visiting a classic cars private collection. At a certain point a Ferrari Daytona cabrio appeared, the deputy of the owner very proudly describing it as the gem of the collection. It was clearly a fake, like most of the Daytona cabrios around.
Where's the point in adding such a car to an otherwise great and respectable collection?
I personally don't see any.

Even assuming rebooting NeXT hardware manufacturing line is doable (and - quite obviously - it is not, no matters how many *millions* one may plan to pour in this crazy idea), it would still be a fake.

Would just be another piece of hardware able to run an old and surpassed operating system. And, as such, would not even be a particularly performing one.

Better to put your efforts in preserving the existing official hardware, like the gentlemen contributing to this forum are doing.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
krazycat



Joined: 18 Feb 2017
Posts: 17
Location: Europe

PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2017 2:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A good project, very romantic. But as far as I would like to see a replica of the cube on the market, I think it will be very difficult for this dream to come about because of the great difficulties that have already listed the other guys.
Break a leg! Very Happy
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
wayne123



Joined: 13 Feb 2017
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2017 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wouldn't mind a modern computer in a 2/3 size NeXT cube replica case.

There are also lots of FPGA projects out there but I don't know if any of them use the DSP chip like the NeXT has in it, I know Atari Falcons used it also.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
jminiko



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello, back again after a normal work day at office and in between the aside "NeXT revival" project,
I read from a few post this project was crazy but:
"If we'd tell them it was impossible they would not have done it"
so far I have now a electronic cad tool (kicad from CERN, you know the co-inventor of something called the web), and have let a message on linkedin to hire an electronic engineer as nobody here on this forum doesn't feel very warmy for this project.
As the end of the launch is tight I have good news from you fo(e?)llowers,
I set up an arrangement with a company for the processors:
MC68040RC33V @ $110.00, 04+D/C 159PCS ONLY, 4-5 days del. ARO
is this the correct one?
then we have the documention hosted here on this site for the board. (Thanks Rob!!!)
as stated earlier there could be a point with i860 graphical board but we can also design a new one based on more "usual" commodities and focus on slab only.
I am proud to say that wayne123 is our first customer the pizza shop is open and rolls on.
Hurry up before all slabs are gone, if you want a special price do not hesitate to ask Wink,
Long live NeXT
Long Live Internet
Long live the web

Jim
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Rob Blessin Black Hole
Site Admin


Joined: 05 Sep 2006
Posts: 597
Location: Ft. Collins, Colorado

PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello jminiko: If you are serious about this and have paypal, I have some cases of new old stock NeXT slab components you will need and will save you a heck of a lot of time. Like New Old Stock NeXT Floppy Drives and New Old Stock NeXT Slab Power Supplies for example. If you are going the Turbo Color Slab route I have Custom NeXT Y Monitor Cables that work with flat panels. You can PM me, I would suggest starting with a few ....

Also do you own a NeXT currently?

Best regards Rob Blessin
_________________
Rob Blessin President computerpowwow ebay sales@blackholeinc.com http://www.blackholeinc.com
303-741-9998 Serving the NeXT Community since 2/9/93
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
andreas_g



Joined: 30 Jan 2009
Posts: 422
Location: Austria

PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 10:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rob, I'm not sure if it is a good idea to sell those valuable spare parts for a project that has zero chance to generate any output. Wouldn't it be better to safe them for keeping real black hardware alive as long as possible?

jminiko, sourcing 68040 CPUs is probably by far the easiest part of this project. I strongly recommend to go through the technical details of NeXT hardware again before you continue. The amount of undocumented stuff is really high. You'll need to manufacture more than one custom chip without having any documentation about its internals. Do you know anything about how the DMA channels work? If so, please share it with us.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    NeXT Computers Forum Index -> Black Hardware All times are GMT - 7 Hours
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum



Powered by phpBB © 2017 phpBB Group