clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

A 3D-printed punch card reader: the first step to a working printed computer

New, 5 comments

Chris Fenton hopes to build a working electromechanical computer out of parts made by a 3D printer. He has currently developed a working prototype of a punch card reader.

3D Printed Card Reader
3D Printed Card Reader

We've certainly had our share of disappointment with 3D printing, due to the simple fact that we can't help but expect each new MakerBot to perform like the Star Trek replicator or the Diamond Age matter compiler. Chris Fenton of Brooklyn hacker collective NYC Resistor, however, has finally let our dreams take flight. Fenton is building a working electromechanical computer with his own 3D printer. The computer itself still appears far down the line, but the punch card reader below is in a working prototype state, and Fenton hopes he can have a more polished version ready for an interactive art show on May 19th.

Fenton started his project in October of 2011 by printing a mechanical counting device of the sort used in early computers. In that interview, he laid out his reasons for expanding it into a full electromechanical computer: "Because I have a 3D printer, and I can."