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The Enigma Project – Part 1

  • Post category:Crafting

In 2021 during the corona crisis and almost world-wide lockdown I was sitting at home, working remotely and desperately wanted to do something physical. When I was a child I loved mechanical puzzles, secret codes and simple ciphers. I’ve made few secret alphabets and few simple coding algorithms back then. So I’ve decided to create something fun to play with and complex enough to spend my free time with during the crisis. I’ve decided to make a working Enigma encryption machine!

After few weeks of thinking and gathering materials all around my flat I had everything needed to cut my Enigma from spare laminate flooring. I should say that I don’t have any kind of workshop nor any heavy machinery at my disposal. Just simple hand drill and manual chip saw 😀

Well, after 3 months of occasional cutting and drilling I’ve created first “version” of something that might potentially work – see the picture. Those are Enigma permutation discs – the heart of the machine. When I put it together and tried few tests I’ve found many issues.

From mechanical point of view I was lucky that I’ve managed to put everything on the same shaft. I hoped that the springs would compensate my clumsy cutting but they were just too strong to be squished that much.

From electric point of view the electric resistance between screws and nails I’ve used was infinite in many cases even though those parts were pressed against each other. (I know that I should measure it ahead but I didn’t thought it would be an issue.)

.. and then I’ve bought a 3D printer 😀