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Apr 112010

Makerbot made parts for Model 15 Teletype

I gave Zach several months to post this. And he hasn’t. I am not sure why, but it’s probably because he’s too busy advancing his skills and the capacity of his makerbots to take the time. A few months ago we hosted an amazing hackathon at NYC Resistor. During that event Bill was hard at work getting to grips with how the model 15-ro teletype, that I bought on e-bay for a dollar, operated.

It turns out the teletype only has 2 electromechanical parts… the motor and an actuator. Everything else is mechanical. All the amazing engineering and mind blowing beauty aside… that makes it very difficult to debug the device. So while Bill was struggling to step the device through it’s instructions Zach was building and perfecting yet another makerbot.

As the two of them conversed about their trials and tribulations Zach set out to use his makerbot to help Bill out. He designed a gear that bill could use to manually advance the main rotational shaft in the device and thusly step through instructions. Moderately simple little thing, but obviously designing these obvious components is… somewhat harder than it looks.

The amazing part to me isn’t the component made by zach, or the teletype. It’s the fusion of a prototyped component made using 2010 technology used to solve a problem on a 1930s machine. Just because two guys working on very different projects just happened to be sitting next to each other when they worked on their respective contraptions.

To me the image of this one new component on this amazing piece of antiquity is a thing of subtle beauty. A clash of cultures, a contrast of design, and a community of exceptional craft all there in one simple photo. Sometimes a thousand words simply isn’t enough to describe it.

Anyways, I hope you guys are seeing something as amazing here as I am.

 Posted by at 3:03 am

  2 Responses to “Mechanical meets Automechanical.”

Comments (2)
  1. A teletype is the epitome of electromechanical engineering. I have a Model ASR35 connected to an old server running an obsolete time-sharing operating system which allows me to play the same BASIC games I played in high school.

    I was fascinated then and I still am with the design genius that created these devices…

  2. If a teletype doesn't scream 'steampunk,' then I don't know what does. Look at all that brass!

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