The Pocket Gutenberg

I think I started this project around 2 years ago, but got bogged down in trying design my own printable, movable-type font (it turns out font design is a whole crazy world I want nothing to do with). I recently discovered the “Write” library for openscad (along with Makerbot’s cool ‘customizer’ tool for thingiverse). The result is a neato, pocket-friendly printing press. Customize a plate of type, print it out with a 3D-printer, and then 2D-print until your heart’s content. You can finally make the tiny zine you’ve always wanted to!

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Cray-zy progress! We have a booting system!

I had gotten bogged down with the data recovery effort from my COS disk pack in the last year (and my day job building slightly more modern supercomputers got a bit busier), but an awesome programmer named Andras has picked up the torch and carried it ridiculously far! He not only re-wrote all of my disk recovery software to overcome most of the disk corruption, he also reverse engineered the file system and wrote a simulator for an entire data center’s worth of equipment (4 CPU Cray X-MP, with 4 IO Processors, a peripheral expander, printer, wyse 50 terminals, a

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A 3D-printable, mechanical stepper

My efforts have slowly been converging on a workable design for a 3D-printable, all-mechanical computer (with an emphasis on the word *slowly*). Inspired by this recent post I saw floating around the ‘net, I thought I would post my most recent attempt at building a fully-mechanical stepping mechanism (to replace the stepper motors used in my FIBIAC project). Eventually I will get around to integrating this with my electromechanical counter so that I have a fully mechanical counting mechanism. And video!  

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Loom!

I’ve been reading an awesome textbook on power-loom engineering, and it’s inspired me to try to build my own all-mechanical, jacquard-style punch card reader. I have a small 3-bit version more-or-less working, and up on thingiverse in case anyone wants to build their own. I doubt it will ever happen, but it would be cool to build a super-simplified all-mechanical computer that actually used punch cards. Maybe I could call it “Plan 2.8” instead? Anyway, eat your heart out steampunk fans!

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To the sea!

A project that’s been on my ‘to-do’ list for years now is some kind of autonomous, robotic boat platform. Although I have dreams of crossing the atlantic someday, for now my sights are set on something more local. To that end, I’ve started construction on a small nautical rover. I unfortunately don’t actually know much about boats or robotics in general, and my primary tools are the laser cutter at NYCResistor and my trusty Thing-o-matic 3D printer, so my boat is kind of funny looking. Some preliminary tests have been promising so far though! The 3D-printed propellers work much better

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It runs!

I really wanted to get this thing up and running for the upcoming interactive art show at NYCR. Behold – the FIBIAC! I’ll do a full write-up for it soon with some more details.

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More progress!

After a tedious afternoon of soldering, I have the three counters needed for this prototype mounted along with corresponding stepper motors and driver circuits. I still need to add a circuit board to the middle layer to connect the upper and lower layers (to connect the counters to both the card reader and the microcontroller used for sequencing). Anyway, a pic of the (rather awkwardly sized) machine so far:

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Progress update on my Cray-1

Despite my lack of website updates, I actually have continued work on my Cray-1 project. In addition to some progress in recovering an operating system for it, I’ll (hopefully) be releasing another hardware update pretty soon. Major new features that seem to be mostly working: – I/O channels! I actually implemented the I/O channel hardware for the Cray-1. Initially I had just been using memory-mapped hardware for everything, but I’d like to actually use that space for memory in the near future, so I took some time to add real DMA hardware. 12 Input and 12 Output channels (I think

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