I am looking at the 12th gen model with the new top cover. The FW team specifically mentioned that they used a CNC-milled 6000 series aluminium to craft the new top cover as a replacement of the old aluminium forming one.
However, I cannot find any information about the material and processing of the keyboard & palmrest and bottom cover. Are they also unibody CNC-milled like the good razerbooks and macbooks? Are they also crafted using the 6000-series aluminium alloy?
aluminum alloy, I think the answer is yes.
All of them must be at least partially CNCed (to make the keyboard holes and openings for cards, for example).
Unibody, I think you meant that the piece (e.g., palmrest) is made from a single piece of aluminum and not welded together. I also think this is true.
6000 series is perhaps also true. However 6000 series is still too great a scale.
6061, for example, is used in Giant Bicycle, because of its strength (and ease of weld) but must be heat treated well or else they wont be as strong.
6063 is used in Framework’s new CNC top cover. It does not require heat treatment and have good strength and flexibility because it has a little bit more … magnesium. or whatever.
whether they still used this exact grade on other parts, I am not sure. They might have chosen a more standard grade on those (which don’t need as much flexibility), or perhaps because of the recycled materials (which probably made it difficult to cover the exact composite).
My question is more on the processing part, about how the covers and panels were crafted, as aluminium forming and unibody CNC can be kinda different for a product, especially when someone is trying to craft something by his own here.
I suspect that the keyboard panel is processed by aluminium forming, and I am not sure about the bottom cover. I would love to hear from a FW team member if possible.
I did look into the announcement. Honestly, what I can get from it for sure is that the old lid is aluminium forming. The rest parts are still unknown to me, while I do assume that they have a good possibility to have everything crafted using the same process.
I thought it was pretty clear all the aluminium on the 11 Gen was formed and on the 12th the lid was upgraded to a milled version.
Aluminium forming works fine on the base as there is added rigidity with all the internals, and the input cover is attached so adding more rigidity etc.
The lid however was a problem in it’s flexibility. Opening from one corner the display flexes 1cm before opening and then the hinges stiffen more so it would seem the lid that is the only part to require the extra expense of having the main part of the lid milled and remodelled.
Honestly speaking, CNC milling does not only add rigidty over aluminium forming. They can both handle the stress just fine, without too much diff on the material strength.
What it differs more is the precision and accuracy of processing. CNC milling usually provides products with much lower marginal tolerance than the aluminium forming, which can be even important on framework with its ports design and opening up from keyboard cover, for which I have observed quite large interspace between the keyboard cover and bottom cover in some machines.
For a machine with such premium price like framework, I would expect premium feelings on its builds. That is a reason for me to expect unibody CNC like razerbook and macbook.
The Input Cover and Bottom Cover are aluminum formed (I believe from a 5000-series alloy, though I have to dig up which one). We didn’t use a full CNC process for these since the base assembly is already super rigid and robust without it, and we can avoid the cost and aluminum waste that comes from CNCing from a full block.
Waste, as in that left over from milling, which no doubt is recycled
But the consequence is a lot more aluminium has to be processed, so the waste would better refer to the amount of energy required to mill and recycle and the ‘appropriate’ human cost in wages and the environment.
Still I would prefer to use the words, ‘greater consumption’ than waste.
Aluminium forming is able to generate things which are flat. Just look at basically every aluminium laptop. They are pretty much using aluminium forming and they can generate flat lids.
There are two issues in this picture. The first is the curvatured top cover, which is clearly an infer of unexpected forming failure. The second is the large interspace between the keyboard and the bottom cover, which also looks like some large processing marginal error. It is more of an unsatisfactory QC issue with the processing on my side.
That depends upon other structural elements like the screen being ‘glued’ to the frame etc. and 'every laptop is built differently so are no comparisons.
I still think the curvature of the lid is by design and I like it and it works well for me, some may have more and be a bit ‘ugly’ the image can exaggerate the curvature.
I would hardly call the gap between the bottom parts a ‘large interspace’ sounds more like the gap between galaxies…
This pictures were taken to at particuale angels to show what I want as clearly taking close ups, with my phone adds a lot of dimensional distortion.
So the first one shows how straight the unit is from one of my perspectives
This second image is doen to show the curve in the top, again from a perspective that shows it. It is not an exaggeration, it does curve that much, bit not noticable from other positions. Note that such a curve was not really apparent in the first shot, add to that each show a differnet side.
I think the magnets help straighten the top when closed.
you meant a seam between the two parts.
While I think the seam can be minimized by a more precise machining/manufacturing process, I think it will come at a cost of:
Increased number of sharp edges (due to the need to keep the “mating surface” as smooth as possible, thereby disallowing chamfer/edge blend)
Reduced ability to open up the laptop cover (might need suction cups)
Increased cost (due to increased precision)
While it’s possible for this “seam” to be hidden elsewhere (e.g. the palmrest surface), basically all laptop have a seam and I think it’s not a big deal. It’s almost completely irrelevant, in fact.