> monotype interface prospectus
monotype interface prospectus
Created by hww3. Last updated by hww3,
85 days ago. Version #16.
Note: The following material rambles a bit. Please don't hesitate to get in touch with me if you have any questions.
The Monotype composition caster computer interface, or "system," as I'll refer to it in the future, consists of 2 parts: a) the hardware (physical) interface and b) the software components that generate electronic ribbons and drive the physical interface. The hardware has proven to be quite reliable and is in use in at least 10 foundries. The software that drives the caster is pretty well tested, and most development activity on that front involves niceties rather than core functionality. The ribbon generation system is currently where most of my efforts are directed, and where there's most room for improvement. I've personally generated ribbons for real projects, up to 40 pages in length. Others have used it to cast far lengthier texts, which should be a good indication of it's current state of usefulness. The good news is that because all of the hard work to be done is in software, there's no downside to getting started with fitting people out with hardware components.
A few words about the software portion of this effort and how "upgrades" are going to be handled. Since I don't really see this as a money making enterprise, I have no plans on charging any additional money for the software. I will keep a list of planned enhancements that I am planning on making (the TO-DO list), and those enhancements will be available on an ongoing basis. If you need something added a) more quickly than I was planning or b) that isn't on my personal TO-DO list, I'm open to someone "sponsoring" that work on a case by case basis. Generally speaking, I commit to bug fixes for at least 12 months following shipment of your interface.
What will it cost me and what are the ground rules?
As I mentioned, I'm not in this to make money. The costs below pretty closely reflect the cost of parts from suppliers with a very modest increase to cover shipping of parts and administrative hassle. If for some reason costs go down because of high interest, I'll pass that savings along. I don't anticipate costs to increase greatly in the near future, however if prices have increased between the time I calculated cost and the time I place the order, the amount due upon completion will be adjusted accordingly. To start ordering parts, I'll need 50% of the cost initially as a non-refundable deposit with the remainder due before shipping. If you back out for some reason and I am able to find someone to take the interface in your place, I'll refund your deposit once the unit's sold. A check or wire transfer is the easiest way for me to accept money (Paypal has limitations on quantity, thus isn't a workable option).
A piecemeal approach is also a potential option; please contact me if you'd like to discuss this possibility.
Total: US$2200 up-front, US$2200 before delivery; US$4400 total (Approximately US$4500 for non-US delivery).
Shipping in the US is included, shipping outside of the US would be extra and will probably cost about USD 120.
Build time is approximately 12 weeks depending on vendor shipping schedules and my own work and travel schedule.
What you'll get
Other items you'll need
- the latest Caster Controller and Ribbon Generator software
- access to the internet based Ribbon Generator website
- The interface, including the electronics and pneumatics
- Power supply and appropriate power cord for your locale
- USB Cable
- software updates for at least a year
Some notes and fine print
- an air pressure regulator for attaching to the interface. The system works best when high pressure air is fed to a regulator attached to the interface. This ensures that there is enough recovery capacity to drive the pneumatics on the caster properly. A mini regulator is more than up to the task and usually runs about US$30.
- plumbing to connect the air manifold to your compressed air system (such as a quick-disconnect fitting, etc). The air manifold will include a female 1/8 NPT port that your fittings can connect to. I like to use a quick disconnect fitting so that it's easy to remove the unit for repairs, etc. I can help get you set up with what you need as part of a separate conversation.
- an Intel-based Mac with a USB port. I can also supply an alternate, embedded Linux-based computer system, if desired. The cost is approximately US$150 and you supply a standard USB Keyboard, Mouse and Monitor.
- a hanging mechanism. I'll supply a length of plastic hanger strap that you can screw to the ceiling but you'll need to supply appropriate screws or fashion something more elegant yourself, such as a mounting panel or enclosure. The supplied interface will allow the air valve manifold to hang up to 24 inches from the paper tower.
- I'll include a 10 foot USB cable. Similarly, the power supply cable to the interface board will be 6 feet. You may need to provide a longer cable yourself.
I will include basic installation instructions (it's really pretty easy to install, so you shouldn't need much in the way of documentation). I'll test each unit for functionality (ie, air valves working, interface board working) but won't mount it on a caster. That way, the gaskets will have a chance to seat initially on your machine. Otherwise, you'll get something that matches what I've already demonstrated. The air valves are connected electrically with spade quick disconnects, which allows for easy replacement of valves should the need ever arise. The interface board is electrically isolated from the USB interface, which means that if something goes wrong on the caster side of the interface, your computer won't get fried.
I will make sure that the equipment arrives safely and in working order. I will do my best to provide assistance getting you up and running via email. At my option, additional means may be offered. If you break something, I'll do my best to fix it for you, but you might have to pay for any replacement parts needed to do that. Note that because of the industrial nature of the environment this equipment will be used in, I can't provide any other warranty or guarantee.
I think that's about it. This information is correct as of the authoring date at the top of this page. If I've left anything off, it's most likely fairly minor but I reserve the right to amend anything that's been written here.
If you're interested or have additional questions, please contact me via email at the following address: bill at
Posted in monotype