What is this thing (office thing edition).
September 25, 2019 3:55 PM   Subscribe

What is this thing for?

Found in an office environment. Please ignore the note and the fiver - that's the bounty involved.
posted by pompomtom to Grab Bag (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Any chance you could post a few more views:
• Top, but with the notes removed
• End on, from both directions
• Upside down
• And make sure whatever is on the bottom side of the sliding assembly with two knobs is visible

From the way the rulers are numbered, they are measuring starting from the edge of the thing, which is currently obscured. The little cut outs in the second photo imply that this thing is hooked onto some larger machine. Something (maybe paper, is this thing A4 size?) is fed into it, and something happens to it depending on where the knobbed sliding assembly is positioned. Being able to see what’s on the bottom of the assembly would help—is it a blade? Just a stop?

It also seems significant that the black plastic bumper-looking things at the bottom are each attached to the frame by just one arm, but I don’t know in what way. Are they adjustable too, can they slide back and forth?
posted by ejs at 4:28 PM on September 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

It feels like a sort of drafting machine/table to me. You could maybe do transfers and enlargements and re-scale technical schematic drawings with it.

My cursory google image searches turn up broadly similar mechanisms but nothing super close.
posted by SaltySalticid at 4:41 PM on September 25, 2019

It looks like it measures and cuts.
posted by Jubey at 4:49 PM on September 25, 2019 [4 favorites]

What type of office is this? That might help. Also seconding ejs - I feel like we need more photos. Especially if you can find any sort of brand logo or serial number or something like that.
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:53 PM on September 25, 2019

Do the handles fasten down something that could hold a paper or vellum still? I wonder if it’s for drafting; it looks like something from my dad’s graphic design shop in the 70s. Obviously it needs another surface in place though. Possibly the roll of paper or vellum lay on the narrow side of the cross-piece with the handles?
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 4:59 PM on September 25, 2019

I'm most intrigued by the letters, which don't correspond to exact increments on the rulers. I feel like those are key to solving this but damned if I know how. (I did just email my mom, who has been a graphic designer since the 80s and might know more!)
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:05 PM on September 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

I notice the measurement guidelines along the top aren't consistently spaced (the marks are spaced more widely at the bottom of the scale, and more narrowly at the top), which might be a clue. Can you give more details about what the mechanism at the top with the dials affect? It's hard to tell from the pictures, but it looks like it might narrow or widen some of the structure beneath it?
posted by Aleyn at 5:30 PM on September 25, 2019

It's for sizing boxes or envelopes/ paper I think. You'd measure the sides and the item would fall into one of the lettered categories. Possibly for postal rates.
posted by fshgrl at 5:58 PM on September 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

Pretty sure it's part of a paper folding machine, ie. what we used to use to make bi-folded/tri-folded pamphlets from A4 prints, but with the actual mechanics removed or something. Example. (On preview, I'm pretty sure that example might be the actual model you've got here.) Image search.

You set the 'stopper' dependent on the type of fold you want. The machine feeds paper in until it 'bounces', which sends it back into the machine via a different path/roller, and boom, folded pamphlet.
posted by quinndexter at 6:00 PM on September 25, 2019 [24 favorites]

quinndexter wins, IMO.
posted by tobascodagama at 6:06 PM on September 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

Hi again all,

I've added some more photos, but I reckon quinndexter has it. Office is a medium-sized NGO and we certainly have a history of folding things and mailing them out.
posted by pompomtom at 6:19 PM on September 25, 2019 [6 favorites]

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