Jobs decreed that the computer should be an absolutely perfect cube,
with each side exactly a foot long and every angle precisely 90 degrees.
He liked cubes. They had gravitas but also the slight whiff of a toy.
But the NeXT cube was a Jobsian example of design desires trumping engineering considerations.
The circuit boards, which fitted nicely into the traditional pizza-box shape,
had to be reconfigured and stacked in order to nestle into a cube.
Even worse, the perfection of the cube made it hard to manufacture.
Most parts that are cast in molds have angles that are slightly greater than pure 90 degrees,
so that it's easier to get them out of the mold
just as it is easier to get a cake out of a pan that has angles slightly greater than 90 degrees.
But Esslinger dictated, and Jobs enthusiastically agreed,
that there would be no such "draft angles" that would ruin the purity and perfection of the cube.
So the sides had to be produced separately, using molds that cost $650,000, at a specialty machine shop in Chicago.