Mechanical FAX machine. : LUSENET : Junkyard Wars : One Thread

This idea comes from a great British show called "The Secret Life of Machines", where the hosts used junkyard-like constructions to demonstrate the operation of various common machines. (The NERD's sewing machine demo was done on this show FIRST) .

The show they did on FAX machines had an interesting demo where one person walked from square to square on a large paper sheet. raising a flag on the sarkened squares. His partner, some distance away, matched his steps on an unmarked page, and blackened the squares for which the flag was raised.

The document to be sent would consist of a full sheet of plywood with a word spelled out as a pattern of holes. The object is to transmit that dot pattern to another sheet several hundred feet away as quickly and accurately as possible. They would have to transmit position and "spot" data. The information could be transmitted by pulling ropes / cables, electrically (solenoids, motors, ratchets), or via hydraulics (Two hoses linking two cylinders, push one, other moves.)

To avoid excessive complexity, the scanning motion at the transmitting end could be human powered, by moving a plunger to each position and pushing it down. Building a machine to automatically do scan the entire panel for holes may be too intricate for the time allowed.

Hey TLC: Run The Secret Life of Machines again.. Please?

-- Doug Warner (, January 26, 2001


As an aside, I read in my Britannica that the first fax machine (not called that, though) successfully sent a picture by a telegraph wire in 1881. That's not a typo! Spinning glass tubes, photosensors, and solenoid operated shutters... so on. Rich.

-- Rich SantaColoma (, January 26, 2001.

"The Secret Life of Machines" was also one of my fav. programs. I clearly remember the one of your refrence about fax machines. I also liked the one about hydraulics, and the "Acoustic Alchemy's" version of "Take Five" the theme song. Waddy, With the "Rusty Juveniles"

-- Waddy Thompson (, January 28, 2001.

That show remains "The Best" technology show out there I think. They gave an incredible amount of interesting information in every one of those episodes, plus those out-takes that they leave in like Tim being sprayed with oil are great. Sure wish they would rerun those episodes, or even better, make some new ones. But it would have to be with Tim Hunkin and Rex Garrod, otherwise its just wouldnt work I think, with the shoestring budget look.

-- Ted Smith (, January 28, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ