Recently, about the 3rd or 4th of January, I started a new project - to build a working
Baird Televisor. After an afternoon, I had the motor and Nipkow disc working (spinning
round :p ), and the next day I built a small case for it... out of BALSA! The machine is
about 5 inches high, 3 wide, and 1 1/2 to 2 thick, and it has a picture that is 1/2 of
an inch wide by one inch high. LARGE! Soon after, I think it might have been a couple
of days later, I got some other parts and completed it.
(What it looks like from the front)
How I built the machine:
First, I got a small piece of black plastic, and cut it to be a disc of about 2 2/3
inches in diameter. With a small pin, I scratched some guide lines into the disc, one
first, then another perpendicular, then another between etc... until I had 8 pairs of
lines/16 lines. Then, I poked 16 small holes into the disc, each time a little further
in than the last. Finally, I poked a larger hole into the centre of the disc so that I
could slot the spinning bit of the motor into it.
Now I had a working Nipkow disc, and I was ready to do the next part; a lightbulb.
I got a very small Christmas tree-type lightbulb and soldered wires to each terminal,
then I used superglue to stick a small piece of wood (from the end of an incense stick
:p ) to the motor, and then the lightbulb to that, hanging it just behind the holes,
where the picture would be formed.
Next, I had to build a case for it. I made a small box out of balsa wood, and cut
a small square hole for the picture, and stuck a small piece of clear plastic on the
inside of it, and then I mounted the motor-and-disc-and-lightbulb arrangement into the
box, using three pieces of balsa that I had stiffened with superglue and paper; one
down the side, one on top, and one underneath. Then I had to varnish the outside of the
Then, I just had to build the amplifier, which I did using a generic Darlington
transistor arrangement, and connect it into the power and the lightbulb, and I wired
up the power input terminals to a 3.5mm mono earphone jack plug, and the input, where
the signal goes into the amplifier, to a 3.5mm earphone jack socket, to plug whatever
outputs the signal, perhaps a dictaphone or a CD player. Now I wired up a second jack
socket to a 9-volt battery plug, to make a power socket into which I could plug the
televisor's power supply plug.
(As you can see, the
inside is a rotten mess...)
Things to do in the future:
In the future, I will be building a larger machine, which will use a Baird-standard
disc (30 lines instead of 16), and I will use a more powerful amplifier circuit, a
rheostat to control the speed of the spinning Nipkow disc, and a second signal input
and amplifier arrangement, for a built-in speaker. Perhaps I might even build in the
radio tuning circuit as well.
However, recently, I found copies of Paul Nipkow's original designs for the disc
arrangement, and so I will, before doing anything else, be building my own interpretation
of the Nipkow Televisor.
- 1 3" 18 hole disc
- 18 line camera based on standard photoelectric (solar) cell
- Spin at 10RPS
- Connect to low power AM transmitter?
- 1 3" 18 hole disc
- 18 line display based on standard low voltage lightbulb
- Spin at 10RPS
I've just had another thought. I could make the machine so that I can swap the solar cell
in the camera with a lightbulb, making it into a display. Instead of trying to transmit a
signal, I could start off by simply recording it into the computer as an MP3 file (I will
upload such files as they are created), and then play it back into the display after
swapping the components. I will also, when I have all the parts, post the exact
specification of the machine so that you can have a go at building a copy of the machine
yourself (you might find the MP3 signal recordings handy for testing it). I will get back
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