A Papercraft Resistor Calculator From Adafruit

The Adafruit blog just posted a neat papercraft resistor calculator. If you haven’t yet learned the horribly offensive mnemonic for resistor color codes, now’s your chance to have a cheap and portable resistor value reference.

This papercraft resistor calculator is the latest in the family of Circuit Playground tools that include a fabulous electronic reference app we reviewed some months ago. Instead of an Android or iOS device, the papercraft resistor calculator runs on its own mechanical computer; a series of four printed disks and some paper fasteners.

If you’d like to print out your own resistor calculator, Adafruit put up the PDF on GitHub and posted the Illustrator file on Thingiverse for easy editing. It’s not the old-school cool of a slide rule, but we could easily see this resistor calculator being useful if you’re ever lucky enough to teach electronics to children. At least then you won’t have to share that offensive mnemonic.

22 thoughts on “A Papercraft Resistor Calculator From Adafruit

  1. I love these things :) I find them at flea markets and such from time to time. Makes me yen for the old days of tube testers in shops and those cacrds on the counter :)
    Now we just need to ISO the paint used for the markings. As I have noted on HaD before, one manufacturer’s red is another’s orange, etc lol.
    Maybe my eyesight is getting bad from screens too. Good to see these lil paper calcs are not lost :)

  2. I was taught the ‘offensive’ version by the Navy. And I taught it to my girlfriend. But since there were two b’s in it, she changed the first b to make it even more offensive, but easier for her to remember. Too bad I can’t share it.

  3. I wrote a program for the TI-83 calculator to translate resistor codes when I was in high school.

    anyone know if there is a TI calculator programming utility that will run in Linux? I’d like to share it.

  4. I have trouble discerning the color bands on 1/4 watt resistors even with the help of a 20x loop. However, I have no trouble reading them when I take a megapixel+ photograph. What’d love to see is an app that will identify all resistors in a photograph and display their values.

    1. I know what you mean. I’m at the age where a pair of glasses with a set of magnifying lenses clipped on is essential. The shades of colour the manufacturers often use don’t help either. Especially with the blue resistors.
      A daylight balanced bulb can help a little. Failing that, use a multimeter. It will at least get you into the right area.

  5. A 60’s era Popular Science mag suggested this memory aid:

    Bachelor Boys Rush Our Young Girls, But Veronica’s Wild for Silver and Gold

    As I recall, it was accompanied by a classic sketch/cartoon by Roy Doty.

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