Skip to main content

New for 1947..the OPTO-ELECTIRC INTERFACE

No, it's not a typewriter. Imagine an alternate past where this might be on your desk:


Pretty cool, huh? I took an old desktop mouse and created a 1940s-inspired Opto-Electric Interface. The body is made from basswood and the buttons, screen and screws are all from the hardware store. The vacuum tubes are dead ones that I save every time I service my old TV. In reality I have a big bag full of dead ones that I needed to do something with. I 3D printed a tube holder that would fit in the insert. The screen is also from the hardware store.

The product tag is a toner transfer onto an old bit of disposable aluminum roasting pan roughed up with some 0000 steel wool.

The electrics were dead simple. Move the switches from the PCB to the external ones. I did mess up the traces while I was removing the old switches. In the end I soldered the switches directly to the appropriate IC pins.

You can still get winkle paint and it is a challenge to use. I imagine on warm days it works quickly without a lot of intervention on my part, but is has been cool. Compounding the trouble, I decided to paint the body it was cold and rainy out so you could just imagine me standing in the garage with a hairdryer trying to get this paint to wrinkle.

The body still needs some weathering and aging, but it's wonderfully large and definitely feels like something old.

This proof-of-concept is the first stage in a larger project for a modern computer that has this aesthetic. It will have dials, switches, and lots of knobs. Fun!

Comments

  1. A creative form of built-in obsolescence. Inventive! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. A creative form of built-in obsolescence. Inventive! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow. I can't wait to see the finished computer. And, if you're interested, I bet you could make some good money if you wanted to mass produce "Thorad Devices."

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great idea! I'd like to see your complete computer too.
    On wrinkle paint, I find that I get it to wrinkle best by painting my object outside on a sheet of metal or wood and placing it in a preheated oven to make it wrinkle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Phoenix is like an oven. Maybe I should wait a few weeks until the spring is here.

      Delete
  5. hi! ryan's son here! I love my dad's cute little gadget! soooo much!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

How To: Cleaning Wrinkle Paint

You either love wrinkle paint or you put up with it hoping that a machine in shiny black comes your way. I happen to love the finish. It's very rugged, hides a myriad of metalwork sins, and can come in some very sober and serious colors. As great as I think this paint is, it is a magnet for dirt, grime, and crud. Dirt invariably make its way into the wrinkles and makes your typewriter look tired and grungy. However, the innate ruggedness of the paint makes it easy to clean. This is the process I use. Your mileage may vary. 
To start with you need some simple supplies. A couple of soft cloths, a small Tupperware container, a household laundry detergent without dyes or perfume, an old toothbrush, a utility spray bottle, and a blue Olympia SM3 (or whatever you happen to have). As with the other How-To, I recommend you dust/wet-dust your typewriter first. It takes a minute and "Water is the best solvent."


This process assumes that your typewriter is clean on the inside. There …

Pinhole MG Filter Adapter

A few months ago a friend gave me an old set of Ilford multigrade filters he used in college. He thought I would get some use out of them in my home darkroom. It's nice to have this set. They are good for a couple of really cool contrast techniques in darkroom printing on multigrade paper. It can really save your bacon with a difficult print.

I wanted to also use these filters with my pinhole camera and multigrade paper. The contrast with the paper negatives can be a little extreme and these filters can tame contrast. However, my filters can't easily be taped to the front of the camera. I had to devise a method to hold them.

The 3 inch filters are designed to go under the lens on a darkroom enlarger. Each filter is mounted in a plastic holder that slides into a corresponding mount attached to the enlarger. I pulled out my calipers, did a little measuaring, and crafted a design in Tinkercad. A hours later and I had this design:


I decided to print it in two pieces on my Monopric…

The Most Beautiful Typewriter

When the Olympia arrived in the mail, I immediately wanted one for myself. I began the process of looking for a light blue SM3. Surprisingly, I was able to to find one here in Phoenix in an identical color. It really is a very attractive typewriter. I thought this was, perhaps one of the most beautiful typewriters in the world. The color is blue like a summer sky. The chrome shines even on the grayest of days. The gentle lines are at once playful and very serious. It is a joy to look at.

But as lovely as the Olympia is, there's only one typewriter that I think truly deserves the moniker of "The Most Beautiful Typewriter" and that is the Olivetti Studio 42 designed in 1935. I know many will disagree with me. I would love to hear the disagreements.

I  do not have an Olivetti Studio 42, but I dream of owning one. If I found this machine (in good condition) I would stop collecting. It's that special.

To assist in proving that the Olivetti Studio 42 is "The Most Beaut…