How to make your own Enigma Machine?


Hi, I've got an old typewriter that still works wonderfully. Now, not being a big typewriter 'enthusiast', I still have a fair amount of fun using one. It's a manual typewriter, and I was wondering if it would be possible to get a separate set of arms made, with symbols corresponding to the keys. Essentially, my very own Enigma Machine, except it's my own code. Think any of you guys can help me out?

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kelseymh7 years ago

You're describing a simple substitution cipher, not a proper Enigma Machine (look it up on Wikipedia). The simplest solution would be to detach the letter blocks from the arms and reattach them randomly.

If you are more ambitious, you could make molds of the letter blocks, make a new set (maybe by carving non-letter symbols onto blanks), and attach your new set in place of the originals.

If you are extremely ambitious, you could create CAD (.stl) files for a set of replacement letter/symbol blocks, and print them off using a 3D printer.

JamesTB13 (author)  kelseymh7 years ago
I know it's not a REAL enigma machine. Also, you can't detach the letters from the arms, it's one whole arm.
It's a single cast piece? On my old manual, the letter blocks are press fit onto the arms. I'm sure different manufacturers did it differently, of course.
JamesTB13 (author)  kelseymh7 years ago
Yep, indeed they are. My typewriter was brought over from England when my Grandma moved here to Canada. So that could be an explanation. Those press fit letters would be so much easier......
JamesTB13 (author) 7 years ago
GUYS, no offense, but in reality I just want to know how to get a different set of arms made. I shouldnt've said Enigma machine. That's all these comments are about.....
Re-design7 years ago
Here's a link to a site that describes building a working replica in great detail. There are several other sites as well. Google "enigma replica" for more details.

They are extremely complicated and parts must be precise to work right so it's a very difficult project even for an experienced machinist.

If you're just wanting to get a way to code messages there are computer simulators that work in a similar way.

The link.
Holy freaking....well, you know the rest. I love the "3D technology" note at the bottom. This is the kind of project that 3D printing was made for!
Wow. That's one hell of a project,.
orksecurity7 years ago
I keep meaning to write "why is a raven like a writing desk" on a piece of paper, shove it into a copy of Murder On The Orient Express, and hide that inside a cryptographic device ... producing the oft-mentioned "riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an Enigma."
Winston is rolling in his grave.
A real enigma machine uses a keyboard to cause a set of rotors to move in a prescribed manner, circuits made up inside the rotors link to cause a bank of lamps to light up with the letter, in code.

If all you want is seemingly random letters, put sticky labels on the keys in a different order to the QWERTY layout.
rickharris7 years ago
Oh and that address explains how it works as well.
rickharris7 years ago
No doubt you could build one - (actually you need to build 2 as the second is needed to decode the message.)

No doubt you may be able to use parts from the typewriter machine.

1. You need to find out how it worked and understand it.

2. You will need the mechanical facilities and skills to manufacture gears, small wheels etc.

3. there are web based simulations around of the enigma machine.

http://russells.freeshell.org/enigma/

for example.