If you missed Apple’s event on October 22, you missed a lot. You’ve probably heard about the iPad Air by now, along with the Mac Pro’s exciting specs, but one thing you may not have heard about was Apple’s nifty video about the making of the Mac Pro.
Even if you know nothing about manufacturing or aren’t a fan of Apple, this video will make you fall in love with the Mac Pro a little bit. It’s so smooth! So shiny! So cylindrical! Maybe it’s just because I’m the type of person for whom watching the show How It’s Made induces a deep, trance-like state, but I find this video totally mesmerizing.
If pretty pictures and pleasant music aren’t enough for you, here’s a little explanation of the manufacturing process from industrial designer Greg Koenig at Atomic Delights:
Here, Apple is using a process known as hydraulic deep draw stamping.
Most metal stampings go through one or two die tools to produce the final shape. With the Mac Pro though, the challenge is to produce a massive amount of plastic deformation without tearing, rippling or deforming the perfect cylindrical surface. To do this, the enclosure is drawn through a series of dies that progressively stretch the aluminum into something approaching the final shape of a Mac Pro.
Deep drawing is a process that very efficiently produces a “net shape” part. Apple could have just chucked a giant hunk of aluminum in a lathe and created the same part, but that amount of metal removal is extremely inefficient. Deep drawing efficiently creates a hunk of metal that is very close to the final shape of a Mac Pro in just a couple of operations. After that, the Mac Pro enclosure is lathe turned to clean up the surface and achieve desired tolerance, polished, placed back in a machining center to produce the I/O, power button and chamfer features and finally anodized.
There’s a full, beat by beat walkthrough on Koenig’s site if you want the whole story.
Did the video make you want a Mac Pro even more? Well, all you’ve got to do is scrape together $2,999 and you can have one of your very own!