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MAKE contributor Steve Lodefink is guest blogging on Mister Jalopy and Mark Frauenfelder’s Dinosaurs and Robots blog. Sample post:

This 1955 Popular Science article shows us the dawn of the CNC machine tool age. Sure, the history is super interesting, but I can’t stop looking at the cute little tape-munching computers in the opening spread.

The comic depicts a home shop machinist sitting in an easy chair in his woodshop, enjoying a book while he waits for the machines to spit out a perfectly carved wooden furiture leg. The author of the article can’t quite decide if such a machine will ever be made small enough for home use, but as we have seen, indeed it has.

MIT’s Experimental 1955 CNC Mill – Link

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.



  1. james says:

    Brings back memories. I worked at a small machine shop in the mid 80s and was trained on a Cinnimatic milling machine. I had to plan the tool paths, feed and tool speeds (and tool changes) in G-Code and then type the code into punch tape using a keyboard. The tape making machine punched in real time, so if you made a mistake you had to unload the tape, cut out the bad character(s) with scissors and use scotch tape to put it back together. While I was there I designed a serial interface to an IBM XT so we could edit and save our programs and upload to the mill AT 300 BAUD! hehe