I’ve been encouraging the boy to understand how things work – and decided a fun way to do that would be to take things apart, after all that’s what I did at his age. So we headed to the Flea at MIT on a hunch they might have some fun stuff to take apart.
Turns out it was the perfect place to find exactly what I had in mind. The place is a geeks dream come true. So much old technology I didn’t know where to start. I was tempted to buy an old oscilloscope, as their were at least a hundred of them in different stalls.
I ended up finding a reel-to-reel tape recorder a guy was selling for $50. I started talking him down on price and asked, “Does it still work?”
He replied, “Perfectly.”
I told him the plan was for me and my son to take it apart, and that I didn’t want to ruin something that still worked well. He agreed and told me to take the reel-to-reel recorder sitting next to it for free. It weighed 30pounds easy and I had to carry it all over the place.
Nick really enjoyed it – although maybe next time I’ll get something that we can see working first and maybe keep plugged in (low volt DC something) to watch it work.
Anna was along for the whole ride – and I had a screw driver ready for her. Instead she played repoter with the stuffed weasel beanie baby she got at the Flea at MIT.
They really don’t make things like this any more – hardly any plastic.
The kewlest part of this device in my mind was that it had vacuum tubes. I was tempted to try to get the amplifier part of the thing working and maybe build a small guitar amp or something… but my ambition escaped me.
Here’s a pretty kewl shot with the tubes visible:
We got it apart as much as we good – with a ton of screws and bolts lying around. The carcase sat on the table for a week or so – hard to dispose of that much metal.
All in all the project was a complete success. Quality dad-kids time and maybe a little education.