A Closer Look at Apple's Mac Pro Production Process

MacRumors

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Apr 12, 2001
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During yesterday's media event, Apple played a video highlighting the production process for the upcoming Mac Pro, a machine that will see Apple bring Mac production back to the United States and is already seeing over 2,000 people in 20 states working on the project.

The video showed a number of steps in the production process, taking an initial chunk of aluminum and sculpting it into the shape of the Mac Pro enclosure before subjecting it polishing, anodizing, and other steps. Brief segments also provided glimpses of the massive heat sink in production and chips being placed on boards to be installed in the machine.

Product designer Greg Koenig has offered an expert overview of what exactly is shown in the video, explaining for the layperson the tools and processes Apple is using. Koenig notes that the "big story" is Apple's use of hydraulic deep draw stamping for the Mac Pro's enclosure, a process that stretches the initial chunk of aluminum into the general shape of the enclosure.
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.
Koenig goes on to share a number of stills from the video with captions explaining what is going on in each step, including lathing, polishing, grinding, protective film application, I/O cutout milling, and anodizing.

Other stills capture production on some of the other parts of the new Mac Pro, including bead blasting of the main triangular heat sink, pick-and-place assembly of circuit boards, and parts delivery for final hand assembly of the machines themselves.

Earlier this month, it was revealed that Flextronics is in the process of hiring 1,700 workers at its facilities in Austin, Texas to work on a "next generation desktop computer". That computer is presumed to be the Mac Pro, given that Apple had previously revealed the machine would be assembled in Texas, Apple and Flextronics had previously been reported to be working together on the project, and Flextronics' Austin facilities are only a mile from Apple's large and growing operations campus in the area.

Article Link: A Closer Look at Apple's Mac Pro Production Process
 

TouchMint.com

macrumors 68000
May 25, 2012
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Phoenix
Very cool stuff!!!

Crazy this much work goes into the casing/design. Shows they really had to start from scratch (seeing no other machines are designed like this)


I am Glad to see its happening in the US for sure I was a little disappointed in price but maybe that's just because its out of my range. I am guessing these will benchmark like crazy way more than I would ever need.
 

troop231

macrumors 603
Jan 20, 2010
5,397
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It's an awesome video. It really is a thing of beauty to see the manufacturing process.
 

Squilly

macrumors 68020
Nov 17, 2012
2,258
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PA
To be honest, $3000 isn't all that bad for a product of Apple's standards/quality built in the US...
Was a cool video in itself as well. First of its kind. And that laser engraving at the end.... Loved it. :apple:
 
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miniroll32

macrumors 65816
Mar 28, 2010
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Designed by Apple in California. Assembled at Cyberdyne Systems Corp.
 
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BulletToothTony

macrumors 6502
Jan 5, 2009
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truly impressive how they make them, if every other company would be willing to try as hard this world would be filled with a lot better products.
 

840quadra

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Feb 1, 2005
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Twin Cities Minnesota
Watching the video was interesting to me, as I have been in shops that have used similar methods to make alloy wheel components for high performance vehicles. Granted the method I saw in person was simple milling (not deep drawing), it was neat to see the relation.
 

rei101

macrumors 6502a
Dec 24, 2011
972
1
Mark my words...

The next big thing will be skins for the Mac Pro. That barrel can be copied and modified to make it look like the original Tron Master Control Tower or just make it gold or chrome or you name it. It is an amazing canvas.

If I was an industrial designer I would be going for it.

You can even make a White Tron like barrel with led lights powered by a usb port.
 

alksion

macrumors 68000
Sep 10, 2010
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Orange County CA
Phenomenal!
Anyone else think that shot of the non black anodize enclosure looks pretty cool? Two color choices would've be sweet, but probably less important for the professional sector.
 

tomwildcat9

macrumors newbie
Oct 23, 2013
5
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What happened to a fall release

Now the Mac Pro is launching in December, the previous advertisements was that the Mac Pro was launching in the fall. I can't wait much longer!!!!
 

iSee

macrumors 68040
Oct 25, 2004
3,523
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To be honest, $2000 isn't all that bad for a product of Apple's standards/quality built in the US...
Was a cool video in itself as well. First of its kind. And that laser engraving at the end.... Loved it. :apple:
Agreed!!! Now if only the Mac Pro didn't start at $3000 ;)
 

iSee

macrumors 68040
Oct 25, 2004
3,523
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Now the Mac Pro is launching in December, the previous advertisements was that the Mac Pro was launching in the fall. I can't wait much longer!!!!
Technically, Winter starts on Dec 21st plus or minus a day. So fall ends Dec 20th. Does seem like they are pushing it, though. Feels like it's runnning a little behind schedule.