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Onyma Report This Comment
Date: July 19, 2010 06:54AM

Slick little bit of engineering
Mrkim Report This Comment
Date: July 19, 2010 09:08AM

I bet you'd love the simplicity/complexity and engineering in the old German made Heidelberg letterpresses I work on Onyma.

Here's a great example of their near perfectness in engineering: these machines at different points within their operation require air blast and vacuum to be present, which the machines generate by themselves in a timed fashion so that air blast is present when needed as is vacuum, but only when needed within the operational stroke of the machine.

They achieve this with a single chambered mechanically driven air pump which is nothing but a cylinder with a piston inside it. The operation and porting of this pump is timed in such a way that when air blast is required it gets it from the side of the cylinder where the piston is advancing and compressing the air in front of the piston. Vacuum is then achieved by porting from the opposite side of the piston where it is at the same time creating a vacuum as the piston travels away from the vacuum port. This is nothing short of sheer genius in its simplicity!

These machines are so amazing from a mechanical standpoint I fell in love with 'em as soon as I saw one in operation rock on

Onyma Report This Comment
Date: July 19, 2010 01:14PM

When you look at things like that you realize they really are an artform.

I used to collect (before space constraints became an issue) antique typewriters and adding machines (mechanical calculators of all sorts). To watch them in motion is sheer genius. I point out to people that designing these days is much simpler in many ways... we put a button here, a motor there, and run a wire between the two. Back then however, for example in a typewriter you had to account for ergonomics and mechanics in one seamless design. How does moving a key 1/2 inch move a head 4 inches, will it strike the ribbon hard enough, does it fit your hands well, will any of the components collide, does the force required to operate the lever system make for comfortable typing, will it jam under load, can you see the letters on the paper easily, is it durable, does it look appealing, and on and on. All in one seamless design. Quite brilliant.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 19/07/2010 01:21PM by Onyma.
trklas Report This Comment
Date: July 20, 2010 06:18AM

That's the exact same way I felt the first time I opened up an old 40'ish something
16mm movie projector. The internal mechanics were mesmerizing and I still don't fully
understand how they used a light source to play back the sound.
Anon Sackman Report This Comment
Date: July 21, 2010 03:25PM

And I live just down the road from Heidelberg in Germany and a few of my friends still work at Heidelberg Press, one of the biggest companies in the area.
woberto Report This Comment
Date: July 24, 2010 03:28AM

20,000 employees, that's pretty big.
Kim, some HB Cylinders use the same gear setup on the reciprocating rollers or older ones use this on the faltbed.