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K'Nex Computer & Calculators!

Check it out: some students Olin College have been building calculating devices entirely out of K'Nex! These are totally fantastic old-school devices, ball-powered. My inner geek is having fits of joy.

Check out some pictures of their stuff here.

Unfortunately they don't have complete instructions up! They should definitely post the whole thing on Instructables- I sent Matt a message earlier today.

If you want to see his project on the site, drop Matt an email and tell him he should post the directions on Instructables! His contact info is here.

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KNEXTeam6 years ago
I am 30% Smart, 10% Geek, 50% Normal to Mainly Active, and 10% nerd.
brainiac1206 years ago
I'm pretty much 70% nerd 20% geek and 10 % knex warrior
westfw9 years ago
It might be easier (though less technically correct?) to implement a knex version of This wooden marble adder
The only thing I don't like about those is it requires that the user be familiar with binary. I recently designed a two bit adder that has decimal input and output. Not quite as powerful, but the fact that it is taking decimal input, converting it to binary, computing the answer, changing it back to decimal, and outputting the result is kinda fascinating.

I am also working on a much, much more complex mechanical computer, basically a mini analytical engine. Gonna be pretty cool! I am basing some of my design on the computer found here: www.ballcomputer.blogspot.com/

(I don't believe my mechanical prowess is anywhere near that of Charles Babbage)
I'm thinking of making an instructable of my own on knex computing. It would definitely include a good amount of information on logic gates and input/output, so that people could design their own.
Mechanical computers fascinate me. Taken from the instructable i'm writing:

"All computers compute things mechanically. Electricity is just an interesting way of doing this."
mattdonahoe9 years ago
I didn't get your message canida. Where did you send/post it?

It is going to take awhile to upload instructions. Does anyone know any good K'nex model-making software?

In the meantime I would encourage anyone to try to make their own version using the ideas presented in the Ball Theory section of my site. There are also posts about some of the smaller components of the system that may be helpful.
canida (author)  mattdonahoe9 years ago
Oops, I apparently couldn't read! Forwarded message headed your way.
canida (author)  mattdonahoe9 years ago
The users here use mlcad.

I dropped you an email at the address listed on your contact info- maybe a spambot ate it? I'll send you another note.
drummer ian9 years ago
woo kwl, i jsut created a knex AND gate (or and not me thinks should be easy) i may try somthing in binary
Easy Button9 years ago
wow that it is pretty cool
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