Apex/Black Aurora Poker Chip Cases

Which APEX Poker Chip Case capacity do you want us to make first?


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Mario Garza

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Understood that the lid and handle need to be sufficiently tall to allow for the 43mm chips. I will confirm my acceptable height this weekend. Thanks.
You're welcome.

Don't take this as a promise but, rather, an aspiration: In a perfect world, APG be able to offer all four capacities (or five with the 1200-chip size) in the following:

Flat 39mm/43mm
Flat 39mm only
Flat 43mm only
Compartmented 39mm/43mm
Compartmented 39mm only
Compartmented 43mm only

But that would be 24 (or 30!) different models for our customers to choose from. Off the top of my head, this might lead to confusion, abandoned carts, shipping errors, and more returns. If the 39mm/43mm combo units work out well, that would negate the need for separate cases for separate sizes. (Talk amongst ya'selves. I'll give you a topic. ^ Discuss.)
 

Mario Garza

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A little progress/eye-candy for you guys on Superbowl Sunday. We'll see who's hardest-core by who likes this post during the game.

Base and bottom are done. Now to test them for inject-ability. Decided to show them off in clear acrylic, just for the fun of it.

Also, got the time off for next week, so I'll be hard at work on all things Apex. Stoked!
 

Mario Garza

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ASAP. Everything considered, I’m shooting for 3 weeks or less, which would put the pre-order date around the end of February, but there are some things that are out of my control. My injection molder will probably be on holiday for the Chinese New Year for most of the month, so I wouldn’t expect the quote to come any earlier than that. Same goes for the acrylic sheet companies. In the meantime, I’ll be working on the other cost-determining factors so, hopefully, they’ll be the last hold up.

I’m just glad that, as of Wednesday afternoon, I should...SHOULD...be done with all of the model-based work. (Crossing fingers, hoping, and praying, cuz, honestly, I’m siiiiick of looking at this thing already. :ROFL: :ROFLMAO:) After the CAD model stuff, it’s mostly phone and email-based work, which can be done here and there, a few minutes at a time. I don’t have to be anchored to a computer for hours at a time. Huge relief. :tup:

We’re almost there! And I couldn’t be more excited! I know all the work and all of your patience will be worth it.
 

Mario Garza

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This is exactly how I feel. Thank you, @Poker Zombie, for understanding. ;)

Unless there is significant sticker shock I'm likely to purchase 1 or 2
Trying very, very hard to avoid sticker shock. The questions about price got me thinking and I started running some worst-case scenario figures. I gotta say...I'm encouraged. It's looking very, very good for us all and it makes me giddy like a little schoolgirl. :ROFL: :ROFLMAO:

Thanks, @OKChips!

Is there still going to be a card and button holder in these?
Not to begin with, I don't think. But that will be the next model, most likely. The consensus is overwhelmingly no-compartments for the first model. Unless you all think we should still put it to a vote?

-------------------------------------------

Brief update before we really get rolling this morning. Got to work about 5 hours on this yesterday. Here's where we are:

1) Took forever to quadruple-check the lid and handle heights against my measurements, but we're good now. From now on, the handle and lid heights in the images will be dead-on. Final height: 13.25"

2) Finished working out the perfect dimensions for the new peg compartments. They were surprisingly difficult and intricate.

3) Today, we're finishing the peg compartments, which shouldn't take much time at all. Then we're moving on to injection simulations.

4) Then, ordering 3D prints.

5) And modeling the ribs within the handle (to run the manufacture-ability of this idea by the injection molder).

Back at it.

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RowdyRawhide

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This is exactly how I feel. Thank you, @Poker Zombie, for understanding. ;)



Trying very, very hard to avoid sticker shock. The questions about price got me thinking and I started running some worst-case scenario figures. I gotta say...I'm encouraged. It's looking very, very good for us all and it makes me giddy like a little schoolgirl. :ROFL: :ROFLMAO:

Thanks, @OKChips!



Not to begin with, I don't think. But that will be the next model, most likely. The consensus is overwhelmingly no-compartments for the first model. Unless you all think we should still put it to a vote?

-------------------------------------------

Brief update before we really get rolling this morning. Got to work about 5 hours on this yesterday. Here's where we are:

1) Took forever to quadruple-check the lid and handle heights against my measurements, but we're good now. From now on, the handle and lid heights in the images will be dead-on. Final height: 13.25"

2) Finished working out the perfect dimensions for the new peg compartments. They were surprisingly difficult and intricate.

3) Today, we're finishing the peg compartments, which shouldn't take much time at all. Then we're moving on to injection simulations.

4) Then, ordering 3D prints.

5) And modeling the ribs within the handle (to run the manufacture-ability of this idea by the injection molder).

Back at it.

View attachment 244283
Is there a way to move the peg compartment to the middle-ish of the base where it would be hidden be the racks rather than visible at the edge of the base
 

QuiQuog

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Mario Garza

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Is there a way to move the peg compartment to the middle-ish of the base where it would be hidden be the racks rather than visible at the edge of the base
At this point, unfortunately, no, @RowdyRawhide. Thought I was done with the bench dog/peg compartments as of this morning and it turned out I was wrong. But I fixed them. Took me almost 5 hours, but I fixed 'em! :LOL: :laugh: Those tiny compartments were majorly delicate, intricate, and finicky little turds. Anyway, now that they're finished, we gotta move on. Also, I wanted some uniformity between this model and future models (with the other compartments), and those will have to go around the edge, too.

I'll show some renderings in a little bit of what they look like. As I'm sure you're aware, the idea was to conceal them underneath the lid edge and I think you'll be happy with the result.

First, a confession, I just saw this thread today so I haven't read all of the posts. I may have missed something.
Looking at the above CAD renderings, I don't see what holds the handle onto the base. I see where the foot pads screw into, and where the pegs go, but how does the handle attach?
What you're looking at in the above pics, @QuiQuog, the part where the feet go is the bottom cover. The bottom cover screws into the base. What you were not seeing in the above pics is the recess where the handle member goes, which is in the bottom of the base. If you check a few of the pictures from before, you'll see the recess/pocket. In those pics, however, I haven't yet shown the screw holes, so keep that in mind.
 

Mario Garza

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Moving on to the handle today. Last day of my 3 days off from work to work on the Apex. The idea is to split the handle apart vertically, divided by the yz plane, add some ribs, and make it so that two halves can be joined by way of sonic welding. The two halves must be rotationally symmetrical so we only need one tool to make both sides. This is the process that I need to run by the manufacturer. He knows his machines' capabilities, so I'll need his input on the handle part. Learned a pretty nifty technique recently that might simplify the process a ton. Wish me luck.

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Mario Garza

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Introducing the APEX 1000
Model 3943A-FMP
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The final handle should look something like this. I'll consult with the injection molder to design a proper energy director for ultrasonic welding purposes. Five pilot holes for screws are designed into the bottom.
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The handle screws into the pilot holes in the base.
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The feet are screwed into feet pockets in the bottom cover.
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A look at the lid on, off, and then on and off again loaded with 43mm chips. The internal and external dimensions of the racks are the exact dimensions of a newer Bud Jones rack.
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Peg compartments and finger holes. The heads of the pegs protrude into the finger hole a bit for easier removal. The peg pockets wrap around the neck of the pegs, which keeps them in place. The finger holes are a 1/2" long, 1/2" deep, and about 1/4" wide. Enough for a pinky or index finger to flick out the pegs.
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43mm peg positions.
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39mm peg positions.
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If you're curious about the model-naming scheme, I'm still toying with it, but:

The number value - supported chip sizes
The A, B, C, D designation - indicates chip capacity - A is 1000; B, C, and D will be 800, 600, 400, respectively
F is for "Flat," C will be for "Compartments"
MP is for "Modular Pegs," IP will be for "Integrated Pegs"

For those that want to understand completely--and I imagine that's most of you poker gear geeks :tup:--here's the full list of potential model numbers that we hope to offer one day, even if some are on a limited basis. It will probably not be feasible to make all of the tooling for all of this, but nonetheless, the number scheme should allow for it:

APEX 1000 - Model 3943A-FMP
APEX 800 - Model 3943B-FMP
APEX 600 - Model 3943C-FMP
APEX 400 - Model 3943D-FMP

APEX 1000 - Model 3943A-CMP
APEX 800 - Model 3943B-CMP
APEX 600 - Model 3943C-CMP
APEX 400 - Model 3943D-CMP

APEX 1000 - Model 39A-FIP
APEX 800 - Model 39B-FIP
APEX 600 - Model 39C-FIP
APEX 400 - Model 39D-FIP

APEX 1000 - Model 43A-FIP
APEX 800 - Model 43B-FIP
APEX 600 - Model 43C-FIP
APEX 400 - Model 43D-FIP

APEX 1000 - Model 39A-CIP
APEX 800 - Model 39B-CIP
APEX 600 - Model 39C-CIP
APEX 400 - Model 39D-CIP

APEX 1000 - Model 43A-CIP
APEX 800 - Model 43B-CIP
APEX 600 - Model 43C-CIP
APEX 400 - Model 43D-CIP

I'm hoping that profits will be sufficient to justify offering every possible size and configuration.

Next move: order the 3D printed prototype, which I'm going to do now.
 
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Darson

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So I have no way of defending this but I think it's sub-optimal to have all the weight of 1000 chips being held by the threads of 5 screws into an injection molded plastic handle. I would have thought the attachment would be a screw vertically through the handle with the load now on the body of the screw rather than the threads.

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Mario Garza

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Good! Questions/comments/concerns! I'm glad you mentioned it, @Darson. Now's the time to ask questions and discuss every aspect, guys.

A legitimate concern, definitely, and a good observation. This is something I considered disclosing, but didn't want to incite a panic. :LOL: :laugh: As much as I hate to compare my product to any other birdcage case, take a look at the bottom of your existing birdcage(s). They're held together by 2 or 3 screws and those are screwed into black acrylic. Also, those screws are countersunk into the platform/base, which requires material removal and, therefore, compromise of the plastic's integrity. Quality-wise, there's a lot of room for improvement in that method...but...those screws seem to hold okay. I believe that's part of their engineered or planned obsolescence though--the fact that they know those joints will fail one day with even moderate use.

So! I expect that with 5 screws with built-in washers in the heads (as well as adding a wider washer, if need be), screwed into properly-sized pilot holes that were engineered into the handle and not drilled, not countersunk, screwed 1.25" deep into 100% structurally sound glass-filled nylon will be more than sufficient. That's why I went forward with the design, as is.

And there's another reason: thermoplastic injection mold manufacturing is an iterative process when done well. If it does prove to be too weak or unstable, just screwing into the GFN alone, there are always metal threaded inserts that can be molded into the handle during the injection process. One of those awesome little assets that make injection molding an excellent, versatile manufacturing method. You can add parts into cavities by hand before the thermoplastic is injected into the mold. Making this change later should require minimal removal of metal from the mold and even less spot welding.

With injection molding, you always start small and then go bigger later, as needed. Wall thickness, for example: you start with the smallest wall thickness you think you'll need and, if it ends up being too weak, you can always make the walls thicker. Much easier and cheaper for the manufacturer to machine out more metal from the cavity in order to make the wall thickness thicker than to try to weld more metal into the mold. The same principle applies to the thickness of the bottom of the handle pocket, and the cavitation for threaded inserts.

I do plan to test the weight limitations extensively both in the 3D printed ABS plastic prototype (which should be much, much weaker than the production model, but still plenty capable) as well as the production parts. I look forward to torture-testing the first Apex parts and sharing the results with you guys. (Suspending the handle of an Apex 1000 by ropes in the garage and hanging all 230 lbs. of my body weight from the base comes to mind.) If the screw/GFN joints are too weak, I'll eat the cost of the first run of parts and the cost to add threaded inserts.

Got ya covered. :cool
 

Poker Zombie

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but...those screws seem to hold okay.
I gotta ask the PCF world... has anyone ever had a birdcage fail from the screws giving away? Not saying that they cannot be improved, but "okay" italicized seems to infer that this is a problem. My cages are only 4 years old, and see only moderate use from carrying (maybe once a week) but I have not been particularly gentle with them.

Am I skating on thin ice?
 

Leonard

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I gotta ask the PCF world... has anyone ever had a birdcage fail from the screws giving away? Not saying that they cannot be improved, but "okay" italicized seems to infer that this is a problem. My cages are only 4 years old, and see only moderate use from carrying (maybe once a week) but I have not been particularly gentle with them.

Am I skating on thin ice?
I had one fail at the screws. It was in the floor of my car, full of chips, and I made a hard stop. The divider/handle broke from the base and there were chips everywhere. That's not from typical use.

L
 

Poker Zombie

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I had one fail at the screws. It was in the floor of my car, full of chips, and I made a hard stop. The divider/handle broke from the base and there were chips everywhere. That's not from typical use.

L
I could see that, there's a lot of mass vs a lever at that point.

Also reconsidering how I'll transport chips up to Bill's Madness event next June. :tdown:
 

DJ_Fett

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As for the dealer button / card insert in the base- I’m not personally interested but I see why people would be. Any chance there could be a ‘base tray’ add on, that would lock into the pegs in place of the bottom tray of chips, then a regular tray of chips could sit on top of that?
 

Poker Zombie

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As for the dealer button / card insert in the base- I’m not personally interested but I see why people would be. Any chance there could be a ‘base tray’ add on, that would lock into the pegs in place of the bottom tray of chips, then a regular tray of chips could sit on top of that?
Or even an injection molded chip tray that could sit inverted on the top rack of chips, where the obverse side of the rack had a space for a Dealer Button and a deck, or even a space for the 2-deck set-up.
 

allforcharity

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I believe the compartmentalized base will be engineered later. Come on, folks, this is one guy (a smart one) taking all the design and up-front cost risks for this project. He has to make one initial successful item to sell to the masses before diversifying into niggly little wants and add-ons. You can't start too complicated or else the whole thing fails.
 

ReallyGoodUsername

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I believe the compartmentalized base will be engineered later. Come on, folks, this is one guy (a smart one) taking all the design and up-front cost risks for this project. He has to make one initial successful item to sell to the masses before diversifying into niggly little wants and add-ons. You can't start too complicated or else the whole thing fails.
This is a keep it simple stupid type of build for the first iteration and I can't wait :):):)
 

TroyMan

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I believe the compartmentalized base will be engineered later. Come on, folks, this is one guy (a smart one) taking all the design and up-front cost risks for this project. He has to make one initial successful item to sell to the masses before diversifying into niggly little wants and add-ons. You can't start too complicated or else the whole thing fails.
So what you're suggesting is that if you want the version with the compartmental base, then just be patient and rather than buying 5 or 6 of the initial version, maybe buy just 1, or none, and then when the version with the compatrmental base comes out, it's at that point you'd can pull the trigger on a quantity buy, right?
 
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