Potential Design Concern - Middle Kickstand Flex (with pictures)


#1

Hey y’all!

I just wanted to let the team know of a potential design concern for long-term fit-and-finish of the V.

Over time, most Surface Pro devices I’ve seen have developed a flex outward from the middle of the kickstand body. This can be seen in this picture of my Surface Pro 4 (I’ve owned it for nearly a year).

The kickstand body develops an outward flex from the middle, but it’s only noticeable when closed (obviously, being a slight flex). It does look quite odd; other than this flex, the lines on the Surface are PERFECT. I’m usually careful to open the kickstand with even pressure from both lips on the side, so it isn’t due to uneven pressure or misuse of the mechanism. It just naturally develops over time. Just an alert, if the mechanism is similar at all to MS’s this is an issue that could pop up that we could try to design around.

P.S. Thanks to @Konstantinos for updating us on the improvements made to the hinge connection (adding a third screw) to prevent the kickstand from sliding vertically, because that does start to happen on my Surface after months of use when you apply vertical pressure. Smart fix.


#2

Thanks for letting us know. I guess in case if Surface actual magnesium gets bent?

Our New kickstand is in the hinge testing machine now (it opens and closes it few thousand times:) )

We would see the results then. Thanks for letting us know!


#3

I’m not entirely sure if the magnesium itself gets bent. I’m no chemist. The kickstand is thin, so it is a bit flexible. I can easily push it back in, but it immediately bends back out. I don’t think magnesium “bends” like that at such a small angle, but maybe?

As for the kickstand testing, good to hear! Sounds good :slight_smile:

Glad to help in any way I can. The kickstand on my Surface is still perfectly functional, but the looks are affected. (Edit: there are two Surface Pros in my family, the other device has the same flex).


#4

@Konstantinos Does the added screw also help with the kickstand flex in the middle when applying some force to it, as reported by @Tirigon and others?


#5

It reduces wobbliness to minimum but if you apply a lot of pressure on the kickstand in the middle (on purpose) you can bend it. Of course this is not something that we think anyone would intentionally do :smiley:

But kickstand has thinker material around it to serve as reinforcement.


#6

Would it maybe help to add a third hinge in the center (that could be one with even just one screw and as thin as possible) to eliminate the flex completely?
Of course I don’t know whether this is even possible that late in design stage. Also if it really helps or instead rather makes the kickstand less usable…


#7

The hinges occupy some space inside, and in the middle part we have battery, glued to the back. To put a hinge there, we would need to make a hole in the battery :stuck_out_tongue: (and that’s not possible) or just make it smaller.


#8

I assume it depends on how deep you make the screw go in… that was more the question on feasibility, is a screw that short that it does not go all the way through the metal unibody helping to solve the issue?
I understand that we are not able to tear a hole into the battery! :stuck_out_tongue:


#9

Space is needed not only for the screw, but also for the hinge. Just think of it - where does the hinge go when you close the kickstand? Inside :slight_smile:


#10

Let’s be honest, everyone would feel safer if the kickstand would not flex in the middle, but it won’t cause problems either.See the positive about it: If you’re bored during a meeting you have something to play with :wink:


#11

Interesting part of the Surface kickstand - it does have some kind of centre connection point. Two, to be precise.

It isn’t a HINGE, per-say, but a hook of some kind. One on either side of centre.


#12

V1ctoria does have these “hooks”. But they’re basically just a sheet of flexible plastic that goes under the housing. So it can still be bent, because it’s flexy.


#13

I don’t know what causes the bending for the pro 4, but my surface 2 didn’t bend at all over the years, but it definitely has a completely different hinge with just two positions, etc., but it has the “middle hook” as well.


#14

I have a 2,5 year old SP3 that’s been regularly used in kickstand mode in front of me right now and I can’t make out any middle flexing. Just thought I’d share my observation as well :smile:


#15

I had a SP3, never had any bending. I have three SP4s…One I use very rarely. One for work and one for frequent personal use. No bending on any of them. I do notice the kickstand has some “slop”. You can now move it about 2 mm back and forth because it’s loose.


#16

Yes, I noticed that “slop” issue as well, but it’s not too bad. Still, it would of course be nice if we could avoid that :slight_smile:


#17

No bending for multiple SP2, SP3, SP4 and S3 in our office - and we use them often for fieldwork.


#18

Hmm. Not even a slight bend in the kickstand like the image in OP? There must be some discrepancy causing the difference, because quite I few I know own Surface Pros with full-friction kickstands (2 in my family, and 2 others) and I believe they all exhibit this bend in the middle.

I use mine for fieldwork many days a week as well.


#19

@Walkop - just checked two of them which I can easily access - 3 years old S3 and 1.5 year old SP4 - no bending.


#20

Magnesium or not, I think it’s inevitable if you have only two hinges. I expect the V to show a similar issue over time. It may not show on all units, but a good percentage probably for certain.

In order to avoid it, you would need a third (smaller) hinge in the middle and/or some protrusions in the kickstand itself fitting in the case, in order to keep the kickstand in position once closed. A set of hooks or joints of some sort, as described by @Walkop.

I suppose this could be an improvement for a second revision of the V, if any.