Ink & Drum Printer?
May 10, 2012 5:53 AM   Subscribe

Seismographs and polygraphs have a movie-portrayal printout of a paper drum & a needle drawing beautiful squiggles. What is that means of production called and how can I get it?

I've been trying to pull together a project of analyzing police radio activity over long timespans to see daily/weekly variation, and the software-angle is interesting, but it's a little too 'me' (software developer here).

So, the paper & ink method: I know it's not used in modern units, but is there some other field that still uses it? Or something I can type into eBay to find just that portion of the device that might respond to a DC current?

posted by tmcw to Science & Nature (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You mean a chart recorder?

At least one incarnation that is still in use is in devices that record temperature and/or humidity on a rotating drum, i.e. a thermohygrometer.
posted by swordfishtrombones at 6:00 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

A chart recorder is what you want. If you look for an old gas chromatograph in most cases you will find a chart recorder which responds to DC voltage.
posted by NoDef at 6:08 AM on May 10, 2012

There are also chart recorders that ones that record on flat circular pieces of paper as opposed to drums, if that is of interest to you for your project. We have ones on a walk-in cold room and an oven.
posted by tchemgrrl at 6:16 AM on May 10, 2012

If you have the data, you can use a package like MRTG to generate graphs in whatever format you like.

But those old spools of paper really do look fantastic!
posted by wenestvedt at 9:01 AM on May 10, 2012

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