I worked as an intern at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories during the Summer of 2011 and spent the majority of my time there working on the Digi-Comp II, which had been in development since that Spring. As of about a month ago, the mechanical computer is up for sale on their website. Although they may release a cheaper, plastic edition of this educational computer in the future, the wooden version they have for sale now is absolutely beautiful and I’m glad I had a chance to participate in the early stages of its development.
Their most recent blog post offers a comprehensive walkthrough of the manufacturing process, from sheets of plywood to the boxed product. The many months that go into the production of a product like this may seem extensive to some, but it makes sense after reading about the thought that went into every step and the extreme challenge of making a mechanical mechanism like this reliable for all it’s owners.
In the business of producing kits, it’s all in the details. Evil Mad Scientist leaves nothing out, especially in the two CNC cutting processes; everything from the layouts of the large playfields on the router table to the careful nesting of flip-flops in the laser are given extreme attention to minimize machine downtime and human intervention. I like how they’re using the vacuum former to create a plastic cradle for the computer and the laser cutter to etch a custom graphic on the box prior to shipping.
Click here for lots more in the blog post. It’s an inspirational read.