ipod shuffle plastic question

Does anyone know what type of plastic the Ipod shuffle uses? The LED light behind it shows through when it comes on yet it is opaque enough to have a blank surface when it is off. Is it just a matter of thinning out the plastic in a certain area?

Yes. that’s one way to do it. It may also be masked on the the back side of the plastic or on the PCB to help keep the light from glowing outward too much.

I can see how both thinning out the plastic would achieve the desired effect but that would leave weak areas, the masking (I am assuming you mean clear plastic with paint on the inside )sounds feasible also but in production , would have to be a nightmare given the shape.

I’ve seen autopsy photos of the shuffle but none so far have come close to explaining this feat. The LED must be very bright indeed and I wonder how much power that takes.
Anyone else have a theory?

Ultra bright leds are not very hot or expensive. I just included them in a product line… they cost about .06 a piece.

Still… I am not sure that is the total solution. They still would not illuminate well under that thick of plastic. Is the enclosure actrually 4 pieces? (two layers) Maybe one transparent plastic layer and one thin opaque one?

Or maybe it is co-molded - one thin white layer over a thicker transparent layer… it could just be one thin layer of plastic too… if the grade of styrene was strong enough (abs with some strengthening additives maybe)

It could have been done in a wide variety of ways…

You know I bought the second generation of the Ipod, only 2 years ago now. I use it moderatly, and now it is completely frozen, i have tried everything to fix it, the support stuff on .mac and its toast. I am quite sore about this because i expected it to last longer concidering i spent 400$ on the damn thing … and i am a mac enthusiest so i love macs … but this puts a chip on my shoulder.

I am begining to think it is not a special polymer at all but the brightness of the LED. My optical mouse outputs a very bright light that can be seen through a piece of opaque plastic. Of course the thinner the brighter. But the amount of electricity needed would be very signifigant. I think teh problem is solved.

My guess: a thin section of plastic (i think they use PC/ABS blend) over a high-intensity LED. They have probably ramped into the thin section so you don’t see a sharp edge. Its such a small area that strength issues wouldnt factor into it.

I just got a Shuffle and I marvel at the manufacturing process.

Not a clamshell, has sharp edges, no perceptable draft and no parting/witness lines. Anyone have insight into how they did it?

nice one on the shuffle,
has been posted earlier at clogger:

enjoy the cadaver :wink:

It is done white PC with high polish molding tool.