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

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy person’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

  • james

    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