Color Coded Expansion Cards

Has there been any discussion regarding color coding? As people acquire more and more expansion cards, shifting through to find the right one could become tedious. While color coding may throw off the aesthetic a little, it would make it a LOT easier to find the expansion card you need.

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If I needed that distinction, I would be tempted to take the modules apart and color dying them myself. I have not personally done this, but…

Dying plastic

If the color coding is on the part that will be on the inside of the laptop, it won’t even throw off the aesthetics of the laptop.

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I’m not clear on the fit tolerance of the modules, but wouldn’t big colour coded vinyl stickers on the top of the module achieve the same result with much less effort?

Depends on where you want color.

There is a slight recess on the inside face that a P-Touch label fits perfectly. So very thin color sheets would also work. But the modules are already marked nicely.

I only have these two marked because I have been inside them for R&D on a project.

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I noticed one module has an aluminum cover and the other plastic. First time seeing that. I like the look of the aluminum but the readability of the plastic is easier.

Is the aluminum consistent across the product line or is that a first gen module?

It seems plastic would keep costs lower in manufacturing.

I posed a question about the difference in having plastic vs aluminum covers on the modules, and it seems to boil down to an inner space issue eventually. I. E. The connector…

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It is probably an RF shield to a degree as well, USB3/USB4 has really high data rates, but microSD will be nowhere close to that.

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That is what I was thinking, but in a conversation with @nrp he said it was because of the size of the connector.

Aluminum is just structurally strong and thin.

It’s especially close on the DP one in fact. I was looking at it yesterday. I have been inside them all, and I see his point.

The modules are tightly designed to fit, which keeps them small. It’s a juggling of form & function vs overall design considerations.

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There’s at least two options for color coding.

One is on the aforementioned top plastic which can be dyed, but some cards have metal tops so it won’t work on them and they may just need a sticker or similar. However, it won’t compromise the inserted aesthetic at all.

Personally, I don’t mind a dash of color–an inlaid bright plastic or resin circle on the port side of the card would look pretty good, but it does have the effect of removing the entirely clean aesthetic, and the difficulty of color-balancing recycled plastic (mentioned in the orange bezel post) if the plastic components want to conform to Framework’s environmental message.

Laser cutting is my solution.

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@Joshua_Ham That looks amazing!! Can you give us some more info on the process? I would love to etch my custom theme logo on my Linux expansion card.

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So my school got a laser engraver/ cutter this year. I had never used it before but it is really easy. You get your image in inkscape, you want it to be black and white and then make it into a bitmap. Then you print it using the laser and just put it on image mode. I used the plunger focus method. This was on an epilog.

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For the aluminum top ones, you could anodize them to get different color effects.

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dbrand makes skins for the expansion cards. Alternatively, you can get 3M vinyl and do it yourself.