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Sunday, July 31, 2011

How It’s Made - Cutting Out the Apple Logo

A patent application signed Apple Inc. reveals a potential method of cutting out the Apple logo in various products, if not the actual method used by the Mac maker.

The application (ID number 20110183580), filed January 25, 2010 with the U.S Patent and Trademark office, explains that various techniques have been employed to generate precision cuts in materials used in consumer goods.

“As may be expected, certain techniques are better suited for certain materials and/or for certain types of cuts,” Apple says.

The company takes machining (the method used to cut out the unibody chassis of all MacBook computers) as an example, and explains that it may not be desirable for forming intricate cuts with sharp and/or acutely angled features.

Delving into the particularities of this technology, Apple notes that “sharp features forming an apex of an angle cannot be easily produced with a rotary cutter. Generally, these sharp features are approximated by using cutters having increasingly smaller diameters.”

“However, as the size of the cutter decreases, the machining cycle time (and cost) is greatly increased, making the process economically infeasible for large-scale production of consumer goods,” the filing reads.

Apple also tried other techniques, such as computer numerical control (CNC) milling, water jet cutting, laser cutting, and still found these inadequate to produce sharp features at a reasonable cost.

Thus these are deemed unacceptable. So what is acceptable in both function and cost?

As simple as it sounds, a cutting apparatus that looks a bit like those displayed in images #1 and #2 on the left side of this article (click to enlarge).

“The cutting apparatus includes a base member and an elongate member extending from the base member,” Apple explains.

“The elongate member includes a tapered region having an abrasive surface. The tapered region defines at least one vertex defining an angle of a desired cutout shape. Additionally, the tapered region is toothless.”

Apple credits engineer Kevin M. Kenney for the invention.

How It’s Made - Cutting Out the Apple Logo

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