Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Introducing the Ideal Harmonic Transformer

I needed a simple project to use while getting more familiar with Alibre. My husband suggested I make a simple sin-cosine machine. We were inspired by a documentary of a mechanical fire control computer for a ship that we had recently seen posted on Boing-Boing. Simple. I keep thinking about that word. But all designers know that simple is not easy. I will eventually post more of the intermediate steps of this design's evolution.

First, I made one that I thought would work. It sort of did, but lead to a series of improvements until it worked nicely. Then I got thinking how pretty that bracket was, and how cool this simple design could look if I added a few aesthetic features. Well, here it is. The dome is printing right now. I have the bezel assembled, with the central arm in place. There may be a few minor issues that I'll need to address, but I'm ready to call this done!

I don't think it's simple any more, but I like it. :)


  1. Your analog computer is incredible! I trust you already have this document
    Basic Fire Control Mechanisms, OP 1140, 1944 from the US Navy.

  2. Thanks for the link! I saw videos on that, but not the document. I have been looking at, Computing Mechanisms and Linkages,
    Antonin Svoboda (Author), Hubert M. James (Editor)

  3. Thanks for the book reference. I have quite a few books on nomograms and slide rules, but I missed that one. I just ordered a copy from I'll add a reference to my website

    I'm still in awe of your Harmonic Transformer, it is a stunning piece of engineering. And done with style!