using new technology on old machines

Mark J. Blair nf6x at
Tue Jun 16 20:49:55 CDT 2015

> On Jun 16, 2015, at 17:52 , Mike Ross <tmfdmike at> wrote:
> 'remanufacturing' has become part of preservation movements in
> general;
> Has this ever been seriously considered, or mooted as a possible
> co-operative venture for a group of us?

On this topic, I'm particularly curious about remanufacturing of consumables such as magnetic media, printer ribbons, etc. Not only are supplies of unused consumables monotonically decreasing, but even remaining ones are succumbing to shelf rot (case in point: TU58 cartridges, and particularly their drive belts).

In many cases, it may not be strictly necessary to manufacture the entire item. For a TU58 cartridge, the baseplate, case, reels, etc. may be quite usable. The tape probably needs to be replaced, but maybe a particular formulation of common audio tape could be used instead of manufacturing tape from scratch. The belts would certainly need to be manufactured from scratch.

In other cases, even where the item needs to be manufactured from scratch, might it be acceptable to use modern methods to manufacture authentic-ish replacement consumables? If somebody figured out how to create suitable magnetic material and binder for floppy disk media and apply it to mylar sheets, for example, maybe a laser cutter could be used to cut out various kinds of blanks (5.25", 8", soft-sectored, various hard-sectored configurations) without the tooling cost of punching dies that would make more sense for mass production?

Would the mentioned automatic wire-wrapping machine need to be recreated in a period-correct manner, or would it be acceptable to make one using modern expedient hardware in order to use it to create new authentic reproductions?

What sort of concessions could we accept for the lack of authentic components to be used? In the case of a locomotive, there are an awful lots of parts that could be authentically remanufactured in a regular machine shop (obviously, large forgings and the like would be more challenging!). But in the case of a computer using particular no-longer-manufactured semiconductor components, the thought of bringing up a suitable semiconductor fab to build those components would be economically unrealistic.

Mark J. Blair, NF6X <nf6x at>

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