Jun.10, 2013

The movement of self-creation and innovation has brought something very old back to life again. Chris has designed and created a very cool Turbo Entabulator using 3D printing technology.

"Have you ever been sitting there, quietly computing something and thinking to yourself, 'If only this process were somehow billions of times slower, less reliable, and involved lots of physical labor?' If so, the Turbo Entabulator is the machine you've been looking for!" writes chris.

The Turbo Entabulator is a nearly-entirely 3D-printed, entirely-mechanical computer. It has 3, single-digit base-10 counters for memory, and processes a chain of 10-position punch cards. With the included program, it will compute the first few digits of the fibonacci sequence.

How does it work? Chris writes:

This machine has 3, single-digit base-10 registers, and a 10-hook Jacquard-style punch card reader. Two hooks assigned to each counter can be used to either increment or decrement the register. A spring-loaded lever attached to each counter gets raised whenever that counter is reading 'zero.' An extra hook is used for each counter to selectively pull down this lever, so that it gets ignored. A 'zero-detect' shaft runs the length of the machine, and gets rotated 30 degrees or so whenever a zero-detect lever gets triggered. This in-turn rotates a pulley attached to the end of the shaft, which pulls on a string, which lifts a 'catch' mechanism to rotate the 'cylinder' of the punch card reader and advance to the next instruction! Tadaa! A computer!

This is a very nice tool that can be used to demonstrating the principles of basic computing and turing machines. You can read the full write-up here on Chris' blog. And you can even download the files and build your own.

In the video, it starts out with the registers reading '1, 1, 0', and computes the fibonacci sequence up to '8' before overflowing.

Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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