So I got a big news here.
I have been working for the past month on writing my bachelor thesis with Eve. This project could be something that will actually go into production as an Eve product, depending on various factors.
Soo.. What is this?
This project was inspired by creative desktop computers like the Microsoft Surface Studio as well as the Wacom Cintiq 24HD Touch. Those two constitute the state-of-the-art tool for the creative out there. The exquisite hinge mechanism allows the user to do drawing, sketching, writing, using it as a regular computer, and everything in between. It is, without doubt, a fantastic creative’s tool.
The main limitation of the existing products, such as the ones mentioned above, is the fact that the mechanism can only be purchased together as a complete computer system that costs quite a huge sum of money, with none costing less than 2000 dollars. Due to the rapid pace of technological advancement, the computer will also become obsolete within a few years, and the only way to get it up-to-date is to replace the whole system, including the hinges that are still perfectly adequate. In addition to that, no part of the computer could be taken as a portable system, which means it is a 100% stationary product.
To put it short, the limitation of existing products are:
- Not upgrade-able
- Limited selection of OS, processor, etc.
- Not portable
My solution here is to create a flexible docking station for the artists’ exiting tablets and laptops that allows it to be used in a similar manner. By offering just the mounting mechanism that could be adapted to various tablets, the user would then have the freedom to choose their favorite drawing tablet depending on various factors including price, operating system, size, display technology, pen technology, etc., as well as giving the portability factor that tablets are known for.
I call this the Donald Dock Designer’s frienD, or DDDD for short
DDDD will be an independent accessory to the project “Donald Dock” (DD) docking station. By independent, that means both products could be purchased and used separately without each other. In short, this will be modular to the DD, although that does not mean DD will not have modularity by itself as a docking station (see Attiq’s concept here Modular dock with Egpu version 3, for example). Since DD fulfills the role as the port replicator, DDDD will fill the role of a “dumb dock” in the sense that it does not electronically communicate via USB or similar connection.
From the market research, we found out that there is a small but distinct need for a docking station that allows pen-enabled tablets to be docked, forming a flexible desk-bound digital drawing surface that also functions as a monitor and can also be effortlessly detached and taken on the go. I projected that the main target market of this product would be small to medium-sized independent artists, designers, architects, freelancers, or other creative who already use their pen-enabled tablets for doing their job. Because the target market is relatively small, and the exact needs vary, it would be ideal to make such a system accommodate a variety of tablets and be reasonably affordable to the aforementioned market segment.
To that end, the aim is to devise a docking station that accommodates a multitude of pen-enabled tablets for the purpose of desk-based productivity. The docking station will also have articulating armatures to allow said tablets to articulate form an upright ‘monitor’ position down to a low level flat-on-the-table position.
In short, here are the four main design points:
- Allows the flexible angle for various positions or ‘modes’
- It has to hold the set position firmly and sturdily, and only moves when the user wants to
- Universal: Supports most pen-enabled tablets
- Despite being universal, docking and undocking has to be firm yet effortless
One of the inspirational design was first proposed in the community by LazerCut at EVE V Stand with modular dock. The concept has since then been improved upon, optimized based on community feedback that you can see in the next section
To further make the design more intuitive, convenient, as well as exuding the premium feel, the whole product would use the power of electric motors for the common function. That includes the movement of the hinges as well as the clamping mechanism to dock and undock tablet itself. In order to control the product, the user interface would follow a similar analogy to motorized seat adjustment in luxury cars, where the controls are implemented via intuitive buttons that mimics the shape of the main system itself.
Input from the community so far
The tablet has to be able to lay completely flat (thanks to @TristanSchaaf).
Solution: Move the hinges to the side of the tablet, to minimize Z-height and to allow it to lay flat
First concept design
In canvas mode (30 degrees of tilt)
In monitor mode
(the base is just a placeholder for now)
Eve V in landscape, with Elgato Stream Deck on the left and Wacom EK Remote on the right
Acer Switch 7 Black Edition in portrait, with Elgato Stream Deck on the right and plastic insert (wrist rest) on the left, e.g. for left-handed
Apple iPad Pro 9.7" in portrait, with plastic inserts on either side (iOS does not support either Elgato or Wacom remotes)
Those two large dark grey on either sides are plastic inserts that are custom-fit for either the Elgato, the Wacom, or simply a cover (as a wrist rest). The material can be decided later, but I would go with either plastic or soft-touch rubberized plastic. I expect this product to ship with 4 of those plastic inserts. One for the Elgato, one for the Wacom, and two for no remote (wrist rest).
I made it completely symmetrical on either sides, to accommodate left and right-handed people.
Down to the inner workings
The tablet holder
The tablet holder is arguably the most complicated part of the design. It has to maintain a slim profile to be able to lay flat on the desk without any intrusion, include various mechanical and electrical components, as well as maintaining a fairly compact width while fitting the remote key sets on both sides, the tablet itself, as well clamping mechanism that would take any tablet from 9.7" to 13.5" in either portrait or landscape position.
This is how the clamp comes out of it’s resting state when the user pinches the “dock” button, to clamp the tablet in place.
The gaping hole on top will be covered with materials like this a roller, I hope we could implement something like this in Mercedes cars.
Here’s how it works https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ij0nkGV8-r0 or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4ps8sHYQ3A. If its not possible, then we will go with a regular textile roller like what we have for rolling window blinds (or Alcantara, anyone? XD)
This is how the mechanics work on the inside. So there is a rack (like a gear, flattened) attached to the clamp, which is moved by a regular gear (actually a worm gear, its slightly different). The gear is moved from a worm (dark grey, teeth not shown) attached directly to a gearmotor.
Also btw, despite the seemingly ‘square’ space for the remotes, it actually has to share space with the motor and gears. Note the space highlighted in red might not fit the remote. In this example, the Wacom EK Remote has to be placed off-center.
The arm is possibly the second most complicated component of this product. The arms would have to do the following functions:
- ‘Carrying’ the whole tablet holder assembly
- Stopping the tablet holder part from wobbling (will be achieved via brakes actuated by selenoids)
- Transmitting the rotation for the second hinge (tablet holder), from the motor at the base
- Fit all that in roughly 2 x 2 cm cross section (hollow) shaft
It wouldn’t be Eve if there was no, polls, wouldn’t it? So here are the polls that will definitely help the design decision of this product.
- Do you need the main hinge (base-arm) to rotate totally independently from the second hinge (arm-tabletholder)? If not, we could implement a desk-lamp-like mechanism, like in the Surface Studio. This would cost an extra ~$20-50
- Yes, make them totally independent
- No, the linked method is sufficient
- Is supporting Elgato Stream Deck and Wacom ExpressKey Remote enough?
Note that supporting a generic num-pad would be challenging due to the sheer number of varieties out there
- Yes, I will use either of those two, or I will use neither
- No, I have a specific remote key set that I am going to use (post below)
- How should the power input be delivered?
- Integrated power supply
- Regular DC adapter (barrel-type connector)
- USB Type-C (might cost a little more)
- What’s the maximum amount that you would still pay for this product?
Note that I cannot guarantee that the price will be under the most-voted amount, as at the end of the day, pricing would depend on various factors
If you have a feedback, both on the design, usability, or engineering point of view, every single voice from you is welcome.
Meanwhile, I am also interested in seeing how you behave when drawing, sketching, or designing using the pen. I am living in Germany, in Krefeld / Düsseldorf area, but I can travel to the whole NRW region. We could set up a meetup, if you are interested in taking a look at the V, compare how the V pen and the Bamboo Ink performs, wants to help me out with this project, or you just want to meet me
Obviously the date, time, and exact location will be determined later
- I am interested in joining the meet up
- I am not joining the meet up
Special Thanks (in alphabetical orders) to @Attiq, @Konstantinos, @mirv, @Xinjie for helping me in designing this product, as well as the whole Senior Creators who have given me input and feedback before I released this to the public
This thread, just like the project, is a WIP