HOWTO make a papercraft Enigma machine


Franklin Heath, a UK security consultancy, offers plans for printing and assembling your own papercraft Enigma machine, approximately like the ones that Alan Turing and the Polish cryptographers and co broke at Bletchley Park. Now all we need are papercraft bombes, and a papercraft Collosus, and several thousand papercraft young women to work on code intercepts through the night...

The instructions note: "Using low-tack 'removable' sticky tape can make it easier to swap round and reuse the rotors if you want to do that, but it's not essential."

If you seriously want to explore paper computing, a good followup project is the legendary CARDiac computer.

Enigma/Paper Enigma

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  1. There are some good Enigma simulators on the web.

    We forget just how revolutionary the RSA public-key system was…

  2. You really need to build a Geheimschreiber before you need to build a Collossus.

  3. If you are interested in paper computing, you might look up Napier’s bones. They are usually associated with multiplication, but there were also versions usable for division and taking square and cube roots. Some of them are pretty spacy. Check out some of the PDFs at http://infohost.nmt.edu/~borchers/napier/napier.html

    Also, consider looking up nomograms or nomography for some beautiful pre-digital designs. (I actually spoke with one of the great nonogram designers at MIT in the early 70s. He was excited about digital computers and felt the future of computing would involve smart components that could be easily rearranged and rewired. It was an interesting and prophetic talk.)

  4. “Now all we need are papercraft bombes, and a papercraft Collosus, and several thousand papercraft young women to work on code intercepts through the night…”

    And let’s not forget the  papercraft Coventry.

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