Teardown:A calculator

#Jingting He

This is a calculator. Is there anyone doesn’t know what is a calculator? No? Ok, let’s tear down it!


First, I tried to twist off the screws and tear down its plastic back cover. I used a screwdriver and my hands to do that. Let’s see what’s in it.


LCD. There will be some pattern on it while you press.


Wire, which connect the processor and the battery.

Keyboard. I guess the black piece under every button can be a resistance. When you press different buttons, the touch-sensitive key pad will form different circuits. Therefore we can track the data.3


A “solar panel”, actually is a plastic ornament. At first I guessed it to be a solar panel, but there’s no wire connected to that. So it may just be a fake one. (Aha, for the calculator I bought was the cheapest one!)


Processor. I guess there’s something in it by looking at the shape.


After burning the black part, I can easily use a knife to cut it and found a chip in it! (Awesome!)


Some small Parts. Sponge for support and some screws.


A family portrait ^_^


Materials & Manufacture Process:

Cover: ABS plastic/injection molduled

Button: ABS plastic/injection molduled

Printed circuit board: prepreg, copper/Patch etching resist

Nail: stainless steel/thread rolling

LCD screeen: liquid crystal/multiple process

Wire: plastic, copper, aluminum / injection mulduled

Battery: Zinc, Manganese, stainless steel, nylon/Multiple process


As for the most interesting part, the first one I think is the fake solar panel. I laughed for a long time, as the way to save manufacturing cost is so smart. Actually I’ve never thought about that there is a solar panel in a calculator, but a battery, as a battery is enough for using.

The printed circuit board is also interesting. It is so thin, which subverted the image of printed circuit board in my heart. I suppose the reason may also be saving cost.

And at last, I think I should tell you the price of my calculator. $1.99 ^_^

One thought on “Teardown:A calculator”

  1. Surprising! Exciting! Who knew a boring calculator had such fun in store?! Great work, Jingting. Interesting how you burned off the epoxy to find the chip, and that the solar panel is just for looks. You’re missing just a few things from the assignment, please add:

    -Identify the materials used for each component
    -Identify the manufacturing techniques/equipment used to make it
    -Select two design elements that interest you and describe why you think the designer made it that way

    and don’t forget to put your post in a category!

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