Archive for March, 2011

Frame Fab 2

This turned intersting, and actually somewhat easier than I expected.


It kind of all came together. I still have to carefully mask the thing off and paint it. I intentionally left the aluminum parts showing because I have some brass trim I want to put  along the inside edge of the screen itself. I have a few other brass tweaks that I want to add as well. You’ll just have to wait and see.

This all turned a lot easier than I expected it to when the screws I was using to hold the frame together also held the monitor in place. I had to cut a couple of screws down and grind down on of the nuts.

If you look at the top, you might see a spot or two where PC Metal is holding braces in. I have found that stuff to be absolutely awesome in this whole process. I don’t know where I’d be with out it.

This project is getting so close I can smell it.

I still have to:

1: Build the back plate of the monitor.

2: Paint the monitor housing.

3: Put on the decals

4:Build a cover for all of the circuitry and mount them

5: Build the housing and lever system for the monitor buttons

6: (And this is the part I still have to design) put the monitor assembly on hinges and mount those onto the back of the screen.

Actually, upon further thought, I still have a long ways to go. Wish me luck!



Just in case you were wondering (lord knows I was) just how much I’d poured into this project so far, I decided to start a spreadsheet to tally my expenses.

Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Item vendor Cost
Underwood eBay $45.86
USB conversion kit Jack Zylkin $76.00
Monitor eBay $41.48
Decals Paul Robert $28.49
Angle Iron/Hardware Home Depot $17.56
Misc. Hardware Local Ace $12.21
Soldering Iron, wires Home Depot $23.79
TOTAL $243.39

I’m not expecting that much more in terms of expense. I’m going to need some sheet metal to complete the back of the monitor and some spray paint, but that’s less than $20. I’ve also got an idea for a few pieces of brass trim I’d like to set up. I’d say in total, including a couple tools I had to buy and the unexpected but awesome decal expense, the bottom line will be under $300.

Frame Fab (Part 1)

Well, my decals are in the mail, and I’d like to have the frame done by the time it gets here. I got the right frame and some hardware to put it together at the home depot. I’ve kind of lost track of a couple of expenditures, but that was $17 for the angle iron and hardware. I’ll have to go through later and add it all up.

In any case, I don’t have a metal working shop, so I knew the fab could involve a lot of manual cutting. That being said, I grossly underestimated how difficult it would be to miter the 1 inch by 1/8 inch stock I chose for the frame.

I chose to miter this project simply because it looks better. I have a decent background in trim carpentry. I’ve hung plenty of crown moulding and installed a lot of baseboard. I even did a small amount of cabinetmaking in high school shop class, but that was nearly 10 years ago.

The miter boxes I had lying around are all plastic, and a hack saw is going to cut right into those. I wound up founding this contraption in the shed, and to my surpirse, it work fairly well. 

The guide doesn’t go all the way down, but it did the trick for the most part. I had to file some of the edges down, especially the ones that got slightly off track because the guide doesn’t extend to the bottom of the stock.

Because the metal I was using was L-shaped, I had to make 8 cuts to get everything just right.

But in the end, I got this.

This thing probably represents 3 hours worth of manual sawing. I really should have changed the blades, but I got on a roll at 10:30 on a Saturday night and decided to just pull through.

Now that I have all my frame pieces cut, I can go through and put it together.

Welding this together had crossed my mind, but I’d have to borrow the equipment and grinding down the welds would weaken the final product (which will face repeated stress being pulled up and down on the hinges) and it wouldn’t have looked that good.

There are some very obvious screws on the face of the machine, so I just decided it would be easiest and fit within the period to use some L brackets on the inside and have some flathead screws that somewhat match what’s on the machine on the outside.

Basically, I’m going to take a sharpie, mark the existing holes on the L bracket, and drill at that site.

I need to borrow a drill from my dad, and He’s out running an errand right now. So I’ll get that back tonight and finish the fabrication tonight.

After that, I’ll have to figure out how I’m going to hold the monitor on to the frame. It’s actually going to be a bit trickier than I thought, but I’m sure I’ll find a way to make it work.

Progress! Ridiculously awesome, intangible progress.

In case you haven’t noticed a dearth of posts, Project Underwood fell into a finance-induced hiatus. I just bought a used car and haven’t had a time for fun things. I mean, aside from beer.

In the interim, I’ve been thinking about how I want to design the monitor. The easiest thing to do is to make the monitor frame out of 1 inch angle iron. But I don’t have the paint skills to make anything, and it would be tricky at best to use brass to replicate the design of the rest of the machine.

I thought it would be great to have the underwood decal seen here:

I love the graphic design here

On a whim, I googled “Underwood Typewriter decals” and found a nice page without any ordering information.

So I emailed the man behind the site. He’s a typewriter enthusiast who lives in the Netherlands and runs the virtual typewriter museum.

I was met with one of those amazing serendipitous experiences you can only find on the internet. I really found a kindred spirit: He’s a fellow newsman, a typewriter enthusiast, and a very decent person.

He’s agreed to help me out by printing out decals for the monitor frame.

This is a very rough mock up of what we’ve come up with:


I’m also planning on having this on the top of the monitor frame:

And the logo on the left blown up and put in the middle of the back (think of the apple on a mac).


If I can actually pull this off, it’s going to be amazing, and I can’t thank Paul Robert enough for all of his help.