How To Make A Working Mechanical Lego Calculator

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Picture of How To Make A Working Mechanical Lego Calculator
This Instructable will show you how to make a functioning lego calculator that can add +,subtract -,multiply x, and divide \! It uses a gear train that turns one rotation of the control knob into a tenth of a rotation on the tens dial. By engaging, rotating to numbers, and disengaging the control knob in patterns you can do basic arithmetic. Thank you and enjoy!!
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Step 1: Make Base And Frame

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14, 9:39 PM.jpg
You can place the two supports anywhere on the base as long as you keep the supports two studs apart. It depends on how tall your paper indicator is.

Step 2: Gear Assemblies

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The first gear assembly is the control knob's: there should be space between the gear and the two 4x1 technic bricks so the gear can slide back and forth. This makes it so you can toggle the engagement of the gear. The second assembly is just a 1:1 transfer and the ones place output. The third assembly is the first step in the tens place output.

Step 3: Attach The Gears

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Make sure you can pull and push the control knob's axle: this is VERY IMPORTANT.

Step 4: Another Gear And A Spacer

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Step 5: Last Gears

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This is the gear assembly for the tens dial: this gear will pop out if you turn it too fast.

Step 6: Indicator And Dials

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This is where you make your own indicator! You can use my paper to help you make your own but the design depends on your version.

Step 7: How To Use Your Calculator

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This will show you use the calculator you just built: To add, you turn the control knob counterclockwise to the first number you add, then you pull out the control knob, reset to 0, and turn the knob counterclockwise to the next number you add: your answer will be on the tens and ones indicators. To subtract you reset to 0, then you disengage the control knob, go to the number you want to be subtracted, disengage, go to the number you want to subtract, engage, then turn clockwise to 0. Multiplying is just adding the same number over and over again, while dividing is subtracting the same number over and over again. Thank you for reading this and have fun with your new calculator!
just for rate2 months ago


dragonslayer54 months ago
Its awesome ,i messed up :( i fixed it though
patelshanim6 months ago

nice..could anyone tell me where should i get(buy) all the lego parts??


aschmidt137 months ago

I liked it, for real, but I see you made a mistake.

dividing is NOT subtracting the same number over and over again.

Actually it is, You count how many times you can subtract a from b.

mm, I just thought he meant the actual result of some substraction was the division... which made no sense.

For sure his explanation is not complete for both multiplication and division.

dividing is counting how may times it takes to subtract a dividend by the divisor, so yeah it is subtracting by the same number over and over again, why do you think in long division you subtract and come to the same answer that a calculator would

makerx27 months ago
Thanks, Qtechknow!
makerx27 months ago
Qtechknow7 months ago

Nice job!!!

I'm going to round up the kiddos and try this right now!

PatJones7 months ago

Ha! Brilliant!

tedrich7 months ago

Excellent work!! Curt Herzstark would have been proud. Check out this video of how his Curta calculator works.

Exocetid7 months ago

Ingenious! Babbage would be proud. I teach a course in Digital Logic Design from time to time and in the introductory lecture I touch on the history of computation, which features an adding machine. I plan to build one of these and use it as a demonstrator--great job!

Fikjast Scott7 months ago

what a great idea, great job

Arman55927 months ago
Awesome ! I had a little mechanical calculator but it could just multiply !
Verticees8 months ago

This is amazing, I've never seen anything like this before!