An Echo Dot For The 1980s

A 2nd gen Amazon Echo Dot inside a 1980s answering machine.

There’s so much obsolete technology out there with great design. It’s really sad to see it end up in the landfill, because even though the insides may be outdated, good design is forever. Take this 1980s Panasonic answering machine, for instance. The smoky plastic of the cassette lid is the perfect screen for Dot, because it lets the light through while hiding the modernity of the thing in the process. Check it out in action after the break.

What [ehans_makes] has written is really more of an overall guide to repurposing old electronics and fighting e-waste in the process. First, they non-destructively figure out what needs to be done to both the old thing and the newer thing to get them to play nicely together — what 3D printed parts need to be added, what can be salvaged and reused from the old thing, and what parts of the old enclosure can be Dremeled away. In this case, [ehans_makes] ended up printing an adapter to be able to re-use the original speaker’s mounting points inside the answering machine, and printed a mount for the Dot as well. The STLs are available if you happen to find the same answering machine at your local thrift store or neighbor’s estate sale.

While we’ve always managed to hold on to the screws when we disassemble something, [ehans_makes] has an even better idea: draw a diagram of where they go, and tape the actual screws to the diagram as you remove them.

Some of the best designs never really existed, at least not on a commercial scale. If you can’t find a cool old enclosure, you can always build one yourself.

14 thoughts on “An Echo Dot For The 1980s

    1. Or maybe, in 50 years, we will be happy to have drink water, paper/books and some bit of remaining electricity to drive DIY light bulbs, simple hand-made radio transceivers for morse code and heaters/fridges.

      Seriously dudes, we should be at least a tiny bit grateful for what we have and don’t take it for granted. A little catastrophe here and there (solar storm, climate change, flood/earth quakes, anomaly of earth’s magnetic field, another big war for resources) and that fancy stuff could be gone. Especially all that modern computer stuff that will simultaneously burn out globaly through an EMP.

      PS: I’m gen Y, not an old fart yet. Sorry to burst your stereotypic bubble.

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