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3D printers and the typewriter

A Berkeley student project.

How nice it would be to own a Sholes & Glidden typewriter! I can boast of a good number of rare typewriters in my collection — a Dayton, an Emerson, a Molle, etc. — but I don’t think I will ever say: Check out my Sholes & Glidden! Except that technology for cloning one is fast developing.

Jay Leno uses a 3D printer to replace old car parts. A Japanese lamp collector employed one to fix a broken bracing. One entrepreneur uses a 3D printer to repair people’s antiques.

So when will I get my Sholes & Glidden?

Only, how will people distinguish the real from the cloned? Ah, something to ponder.

P.S. There is always the “old school” method —

© 2014, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Richard P February 1, 2014, 3:21 am

    I’m getting increasingly interested in this technology. Thanks for the various links. Leno convinces me that this is the way to go to repair and even recreate old machinery, and I’m sure he’s right that prices for 3D printers and scanners are going to go down.

    I’ve seen these 2 videos before but enjoyed watching them again. The 3D model of the Remette must have taken tons of painstaking work, but in theory it means that we should now be able to print a Remette (maybe with the addition of some simple standard pieces such as screws and springs). The Zbrojovka film is delightful and shows just how much precision, expertise, and labor went into making a typewriter.

    I do believe that the new manual typewriters of the future won’t come from traditional factories. They’ll be individually produced by enthusiasts using 3D printing — maybe assembled socially, enjoying the experience together with others in some kind of typerspace. People will be able to try new mechanical and design principles, tinker with their favorite machines … it’s going to be incredibly fun.

    • Mark Adams February 2, 2014, 3:41 am

      Imagine what the typewriter database would look like: photos, serial numbers, 3D renderings!

      On the negative side, how will collectors discern reproductions from originals? This I wonder about.

  • Scott K February 1, 2014, 6:29 am

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