Another iteration of the PCBs arrived, and this time also with the laser-cut acrylic plates that form the case of the device. I have been thinking about doing this ever since µGame, but only tried it now, and I am very happy with the results. It looks like this:
(Sorry for a bad photo, but it's dark already, I will make better photos tomorrow.)
As you can see, the device is a sandwich of three layers: the PCB, a filler layer, and the front cover. The front cover has to be transparent so that we can see the display, and has cutouts for the buttons. The filler can be made of anything — in this case it's also transparent acrylic, like the front cover, but it doesn't have to be. It has cutouts for all the components on the PCB, and it's exactly 2.5mm thick, just like the display. And finally the PCB holds all the components, and has its back completely clear of any exposed pads. At the back there is also the battery holder, and that's it. It's held together with six screws, that screw into the smaller holes in the front plate. The tips of the screws had to be cut, so that they don't stick out, but I hope to find screws with flat tips instead. The whole thing is 6.5mm thick right now, but I want to use a bit thinner front plate in the future, so it will be 6mm.
Of course it's not perfect, there are a few changes that still need to be done for the final version:
- the buttons don't stick out enough, I need a thinner, 1.5mm (instead of current 2mm) front cover,
- the holes for the buttons are too tight — the buttons have to be in just the right places for the covers to fit, I need to add some more leeway in there,
- the USB socket is minimally too thick. I will need a cutout for it,
- I need room for a piezo speaker, since I decided to be adding one in there,
- I need some decorations on the PCB and maybe etched on the laser-cut parts as well.