The Amazing Steampunked "Ticker Machine"




About: I am a home constructor, an inventor and a dreamer. If you ask me who guided me and who inspired me then this people comes in mind: Carl Benz, Guglielmo Marconi, James Watt, Thomas Alva Edison, Nicolas Tesla...

Hi everybody!

A couple of month ago I build Dr. Brain .
Dr. Brain is able to listen, to see and to talk.
But he is not bale to write.
So I build the amazing "Ticker Machine" for Dr. Brain and other calculating devices with
a seriell interface.

It is easy to build the parts are easy to get.

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Step 1: Parts and Materials

You need:

a thermo printer (this is operated by 24V and has a serial interface you can buy this on ebay)
a wooden plate or something similar
a glas dome hat fits on the plate 
a box or a paper tube for the stand
some stain
some pieces of beach wood fpr the paper holder
some brass parts, screws, nuts and gears.

And don´t forget to "glue some gears on it"  ;-)

Step 2: Build the Printer Stand

First I cut the paper out slot and drilled the holes for mounting the printer to the top and the electronics to the bottom of the plate.
This quite a bit tricky because I like to have the printer visible. So I have to build something that guides the paper from the printer through the glass dome to outlet.
I used some thin wood and bend it a bit then I glued it to the wooden plate as shown on picture 5.

Step 3: Building the Paper Holder and the Stand

The paper holder was build from beach wood.
I used the original holder for the paper roll as a part of the holder to make it easier adjust the right distance between the holders.
Than it was mounted and adjusted behind the printer.
Some gears to make it a bit more "mechanical".
Than I glued the plate to stained paper tube.
The Paper tube was glued to the base stand as well.
I attached four brass feet to the base stand.
The base stand is open on the bottom, so it it possible to connect the 24V Power supply and serial cable to the printer.
The small glas tube on the front indicates "power on" and was made from an old water gauge.

Step 4: Operate It

The printer comes with a standard windows driver.
With this driver, you can control the feed, the font and the cutter of the printer.
I used the scheduler of WINDOWS to print messages.
To do so you have to schedule a task and execute a BATCH - File that prints the message.
Both the notepad and write can be called with a command line parameter to print on the default printer:

@echo off
write.exe /p message.doc

this will print the file message.doc (created with write.exe) on the default printer.

So it is possible to to print time based messages.

In the internet, you can find thunderbird 3.x and an addon that is called autoprint.
If you install this on the computer where the printer is connected with, it is possible to auto print emails.
This is a very funny feature.

So have fun everybody,

H. Steam

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    21 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    What a fantastic idea! I might just have to make one of these. Thanks for the idea!

    Aether Telegram:

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    There is also a chemically made painting attached to this telegram.
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    EFW Systems' Aether Modular Connection.

    2 replies

    I visit Hack-A Day several times a day,
    mainly for inspiration...
    I'm actually surprised at the number of people from here,
    I see on there...
    Anyways, wasn't one of your other 'Ibles feature before on Hack -a - Day?
    Also be careful with that digital painting!


    7 years ago on Step 4

    Nicely done and a very cool re-invention of a teletype. a hardcopy of an email coming through is so cool.

    Winged Fist

    7 years ago on Introduction

    You never cease to amaze Mr. Steam! More steampunk genius! I'd love to see a video of Dr. Brain “talking” to the ticker;-) 5 stars, since that's all I can give, plus a vote in the laser challenge.

    2 replies

    you never cease to amaze me bro. five stars though i would've given you 23 stars. after that message i encourage you to make more like this.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Good Morning,

    I bought it from Selva:

    And here is the direct link to the domes: CLICK   you can also buy a wooden stand for the dome No. VI.

    I used the dome No. VI for the printer.

    With kind regards,

    Horatius Steam


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Completely awesome to have the autoprint emails come out! I have seen other instuctables that pick up tweets and other incoming messages.. Heck, if people still used faxes, that would be funny, too (except for the junk faxes advertising discount travel).

    1 reply

    We are using this in RPG´s to guide the players and give them hints and messages.

    With kind regards,

    H. Steam


    7 years ago on Introduction

    AHHH! I'm getting ir/rational Redux flashbacks!

    try playing this game:


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Dear Sir Horatius.Steam

    Once again an absolutely crazy object!!!"

    Five stars worth and given ;-)))))

    Yours Aeon Junophor