3D Printing Belts For Vintage Hardware

It may be hard for some of the younger readers to believe, but there was a time when hardware was full of little rubber belts. Tape decks, VCRs, even some computers: they all had rotating parts that needed to transfer power to other components, and belts were a cheap and quiet way to do it. Unfortunately, now decades later we realize that these little belts are often the Achilles heel of classic hardware, getting brittle and breaking long before the rest of the components are ready to give up the fight.

Which is exactly what [FozzTexx] found when trying to revive his newly purchased Commodore PET 2001. The belt inside of the cassette drive had become hard and fallen to pieces, and rather than hunt around for a replacement, [FozzTexx] reasoned he might be able to print one out of a flexible 3D printer filament like NinjaFlex. Besides, this wasn’t the only piece of vintage tech in his house that needed a belt replacement, so he figured it would be a worthwhile experiment.

As the original belt was little more than dust, [FozzTexx] had to design his replacement from scratch. He started by cleverly replicating the path the belt would need to take with string, and then measuring the inside diameter of the string circle with his calipers. [FozzTexx] then reduced the diameter by 5% to take into account the stretching of the new belt.

The profile of the belt was square, which made modeling and 3D printing much easier. [FozzTexx] just subtracted a smaller circle from a larger one in 2D, and then extruded that circle into the third dimension by 1.18 mm to match the height of the original part. Careful measurement paid off, and the newly printed NinjaFlex belt had his Commodore loading and saving programs on the first try.

We’ve covered the difficulty in sourcing replacement belts for old hardware previously, so it will be interesting to see if others are able to make use of the research [FozzTexx] has done here. Of course, longevity concerns are always brought up when NinjaFlex is used, so hopefully [FozzTexx] keeps us updated.

C64 Interface For Your Computer

Before we get started, lets just point out that this C64 was broken. He did not take a functional C64 out of operation for this. What he did do, was to build a hardware interface for for his VICE system. For those unfamiliar, VICE is a cross platform C64 emulator. [Simon] points out that the old games just weren’t as much fun without the original hardware. Having a broken C64 lying around, he put it to good use. It now acts as the interface for all the original fun stuff.

If you are a fan of the hardware, but just want to interface it as a normal USB keyboard, that is possible as well.

Creating Wooden Enclosures

[Matthias] built a wooden enclosure for his keyboard. He’s used to using a Commodore 64 keyboard and decided he didn’t need the num pad found on modern keyboards.

It’s not the finished product that interests us, but the methods he used to create such a nice looking enclosure. From the wooden binary adder he produced we know he’s a talented woodworker. He takes us step-by-step through the use of a scroll saw, table saw, and router tabled to turn out this one-of-a-kind. You may not own these tools but someone you know does. Follow his example and turn out your own wooden wonders.

[Thanks Harald]

Apple Gives C64 Emulator The Boot


After making it to the top 20 in most regions, Apple has removed the c64 emulator for the iPhone from the App Store. Apparently the thorough app review process didn’t discover that the BASIC system had not been removed from the app, but was instead merely hidden.

Another revision of the emulator has been submitted for review but how long will that take?  What is the review process for if they’re not looking deep enough to find specific functions they don’t want an app to have? Approving apps and pulling them a few days later is another Hot Coffee waiting to happen.

[POCKET GAMER via Slashdot]