The HardCase Workstation
As of May 4th, we are accepting orders. HardCases will be built to order, and lead time will be at least three weeks.
Custom engraving, on both the case and the leather handle, are available if you desire. Call the shop at (931) 207-0079 or email Sales@PortableUniversalPower.com (before or after you purchase), and we can discuss the engraving.
A harmonious blend of old craft and new tech.
Our HardCase is not just beautiful to look at, it is intensely practical. With an internal power source, dual monitors, mouse storage, and room for paperwork, the HardCase is truly a workstation that can boost productivity and efficiency despite its small footprint.
The dual monitors stow securely, yet swivel out in seconds for an ideal multi-monitor set-up. They boast a bright 10.1″ thin film display, with an impressive 1280 x 800 resolution and IPS technology for stunning color and excellent viewing angles. Each monitor has physical controls below the bezel, (out of sight but easy to reach) for adjusting brightness, color, and contrast. These are simply the best displays we can get, and it shows.
The power source is our own 70,000 mAh LiFePO4 battery bank, built into the rear of the HardCase. This battery is incredibly light, yet it can charge your laptop, power both monitors, and even charge your phone via the built in USB socket. The lifespan of the battery is over 2,000 charge cycles, which is nearly six years of daily charging.
If the battery ever needed replacement, which is unlikely, we will do that in our shop, for only the cost of the parts. Of course, that many years from now, we will probably have a more powerful battery to install in it. 😉
The battery is recharged using one of two external sockets, shown above. The micro USB allows charging from a USB source or from the included AC/USB adapter. The DC socket allows charging from a running vehicle or from a solar panel up to 60 watts. The battery has no memory effect, so charge it a little or a lot, whenever you want. Importantly, the HardCase can be in use while it is charging, so downtime is avoided.
The flip-down mouse tray securely holds a full-size wireless mouse, as long as it is a ‘slim’ or low profile type, like this one.
Our HardCase is an elegant fusion of high technology with old-school craftsmanship.
The design is CAD based, and the individual wooden components are either CNC machined or fashioned by hand. It takes over 50 unique wooden parts to make a single HardCase. These parts are assembled using the time proven method of dowels, clamps, screws, glue, and time.
The result of bonding all the separate pieces is an amazingly strong case. This is the same principle that makes common plywood so strong and rigid: alternating grains, complementing in the adjacent strong and weak direction. A prodigious amount of shaping and sanding brings the separate pieces into a unified whole:
Sanding progresses from 120 grit, to 180, to 220, to 320. Once lacquer is applied and allowed to dry, it is polished with 0000 steel wool. Then another coat of lacquer, another round of steel wool, more lacquer, and more drying time. We do this at least three times, sometimes five or more, until the surface quality is what we want.
Above, the HardCase in American Cherry, or Prunus serotina. This wood is a delight, both to work with and to behold. It is sourced from the Ocooch mountain region of Wisconsin for us by a small family business, and they produce some of the best hardwoods I have ever seen.
Below, the HardCase in Cherry and Mahogany. The Mahogany is Senegal Mahogany, or Khaya ivorensis. It is sourced from tropical Africa. Both HardCase versions are otherwise identical, and are priced the same.
When finished properly, a hardwood like cherry or mahogany should have a hard, polished finish. It will feel almost like glass as you run your hand along it. Just by feel, you can tell it has been done right. The transition between laminations are seen by eye, but not felt by hand. This is an indication of proper technique and a sign that the finish will be long lasting, resistant to dirt, grime, hand oils, spills, water, and everyday life. There is no need to oil the finish or treat it in any way. Cleaning, if needed, is done with a damp cloth.
Below, the bronze quadrant hinges are being installed into their mortises. All hardware, visible or not, is bronze, brass, or stainless steel.
Below, one of our craftsmen installing the power & electronics package into a HardCase. This includes the LiFePO4 battery, charge controller, Dell charger, USB power point, Battery Management System, HDMI splitter, and Solar Controller.
The included shoulder strap is two layers of top grain cowhide, double stitched & tanned. The hardware is bronze. Strap is adjustable, and has a shoulder pad and quick-release swivel snaps.
The internal 70 Wh battery supplies power to the monitors, and can fully recharge a typical laptop at least once.
The HardCase is Designed around the Dell 7480 series of business-class laptops, though it will accommodate most laptops that have 14″ screens or smaller. Precise measurements of the laptop bay are listed down below, in the specifications list. It is very important to note that the laptop used MUST have a Thunderbolt class USB-C port. This is the only way we can drive two independent high-res displays using the included USB-C cable.
The laptop bay has ultra soft foam inserts to securely hold the laptop.
Save $100.00 now, if you buy during our launch:
A note from Bill Harrison:
To every worthwhile endeavor, there is a backstory, a motivation. A moment that impelled a given design to make the transition from and idea to an actual thing. With the HardCase, it was my younger brother. He is one of the few people alive today who remembers the original Field Desk that I built many years ago. Recently, a business trip brought him close enough to allow a visit, and as always, he was eager to get into our shop and see what we have been up to. This time, the first thing he wanted to see was the ‘new’ Field Desk. I was proud to show him one of the production models. I could tell he was happy to see the old design resurrected, but as he looked it over, he was shaking his head.
“What?” I asked, sensing his shifting mood.
“This is beautiful. It is pretty much what I remember. But it’s not very practical for most people today.”
“True, perhaps…” I bristled a bit, because I love that old ‘new’ Field Desk.
“How are sales?” He asked, with a raised eyebrow.
“Well, not great, but that was not the point, really. It was a labor of love…”
“Uh huh. Do you want to talk about something that might sell like crazy if you could actually build it?”
“Erase that whiteboard and let’s start brainstorming.”