Engineer creates old-world mechanical computer with 3D-printed parts

TurboEntabulatorComputer

Let’s be honest; a mechanical computer probably isn’t practical in this day and age. Back in the 1800s, mechanical computers were works of modern art and a huge step in engineering. All you history buffs might recall Charles Babbage’s “Difference Engine,” (1822), or even the “Kerrison Predictor” (late 1930s). But the only place you’re likely to see a mechanical computing creation today is at your local science museum. At least, that used to be the case, until one brave electrical engineer decided to create his own version.

An inventive chap, known simply as “Chris” used his electrical engineering background to put together a simplistic mechanical device that tabulates numbers. The Turbo Entabulator, as Chris dubbed it, uses a construct to punch out a series of numbers onto cards that would make any Fibonacci fan proud. That’s the extent of this archaic-looking machine, and although it doesn’t do much more than tabulate, the key feature of this machine separates it from all other mechanical computers in existence.

Chris used his MakerBot 3D printer to assemble this unique creation, which makes it one of the first old-world mechanical computers to be made from new-world technology. It also (most likely) makes it the first “computer” to technically be “printed.”

The project wasn’t without struggle, though. “The mechanical counters [were fiddly],” Chris told TechHive. “I had extremely little experience designing anything with moving parts prior to this project. The counters don’t always ‘snap’ into position, and can wind up reading ‘7 3/4’ instead of ‘8’, which can jam up the machine when you go to process the next instruction.” Still, when you watch the video, and realize that the machine is completely mechanical, requiring human-powered cranking to operate, you understand just how impressive this feat really is.

If you’re interested in learning more about the steps that Chris took to build the Entabulator, you can view the journey on his blog. He also uploaded some “schematics” to Thingverse, where you can take a crack at building your own device. 

Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Computing

Delete tracking cookies from your system by following these quick steps

Cookies are useful when it comes to saving your login credentials and other data, but they can also be used by advertisers to track your browsing habits across multiple sites. Here's how to clear cookies in the major browsers.
Computing

Lost your router? Here's how to find its IP address to help track it down

Changing the login information for your router isn't always easy, that's why so many have that little card on the back. But in order to use it, you need to know where to go. Here's how to find the IP address of your router.
Emerging Tech

Short film celebrates New Yorker’s amazing robot costumes

New York City resident Peter Kokis creates stunning robot costumes out of household trash. His designs are huge, heavy, and extremely intricate, and never fail to turn heads when he's out and about.
Gaming

Here's where Xur is and what he has for wares this week in 'Destiny 2: Forsaken'

The weekly vendor in Destiny 2: Forsaken always brings Exotic weapons and armor, some of the toughest loot to find in the game. Here's everything you need to know to track down Xur: Where he is, when he shows up, and what he's stocking.
Computing

Hackers are scoring with ransomware that attacks its previous victims

Computer viruses are always evolving. In a new one, dubbed "Ryuk," hackers are targeting PCs with ransomware that scours an infected network in order to pinpoint and attack and enterprises with big money.
Computing

An update to Microsoft To-Do will help you keep up with your resolutions

If you're looking to stay productive in 2019, you might want to check out the freshly updated Microsoft To-Do app, now with additional integration with the Windows 10 Start Menu and more.
Computing

Want to save a webpage as a PDF? Just follow these steps

Need to quickly save and share a webpage? The best way is to learn how to save a webpage as a PDF file, as they're fully featured and can handle images and text with ease. Here's how.
Computing

Could the next Microsoft HoloLens be announced at MWC 2019?

After not having a presence at Mobile World Congress for three years, Microsoft is now sending out media invites for a press conference on February 24 during the annual event in Barcelona. Could a next-generation HoloLens be on the way?
Computing

Microsoft to separate Cortana from search with the next version of Windows 10

Changes are on the way for two key features in Windows 10. A separation of Windows 10 search and Cortana will allow Microsoft to more often innovate on each of the features independently.
Computing

Convert your PDFs into convenient Word documents with Adobe or a free option

PDF files are great, but few document types are as malleable as those specific to Microsoft Word. Here's how to convert a PDF file into a Word document, whether you prefer to use Adobe's software suite or a freemium alternative.
Computing

Nvidia’s next midrange card might be a GTX 1660 Ti, rumors suggest

Nvidia may be working on a non-RTX Turing graphics card called the 1660 Ti. Rumors suggest it will have around 20 percent fewer CUDA cores than the RTX 2060 and will lack ray tracing support.
Deals

From Samsung to HP, here are the best cheap Chromebook deals right now

Whether you want a compact laptop to enjoy some entertainment on the go, or you need a no-nonsense machine for school or work, we've smoked out the best cheap Chromebook deals -- from full-sized laptops to 2-in-1 convertibles -- with most…
Computing

Chromebook 13 vs. Google Pixelbook: Acer model takes on the king

Acer's Chromebook 13 is throwing tons of speed at the Chrome OS market, to go with a midrange build and traditional clamshell design. Is that enough to challenge the Google Pixelbook?