Sunday, 26 July 2015

Scanimate Matrix Switch Panels

I am lucky today to have finally received two remnants of the venerable Scanimate machine.
It's part of a early analog computer that was used in animation.
From what I've read, there were only 8 made.

The Scanimate was invented by Lee Harrison III, founder of Computer Image, in Denver, Colorado in 1969. This system was used to help create the Scanimate Films, in combination with Jim Henson's puppeteering.

I understand that these cane from two that were housed at Image West in Hollywood

This is a big part of animation history.
Scanimates were used extensively on TV & film in the 70's & 80's. If you ever saw Sesame St, Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, or The Electric Company, then you saw Scanimates in action.

I don't have the whole machine. Apparently this was destroyed and only some parts were saved from "a container" on it's way to China.

But what is left are two gems.

Each case has a 8 panel patch matrix with 19 potentiometers.
The patch matrix is the same type used by ARP for the 2500 synthesizer.
Which is the original reason I bought this.
The Cherry Sliders switches are extremely hard to find.

The "Commutator" & "Axis" refer to this section of the Scanimate.
Final position, Initial position & size - refer to fig 6, above

"The Animation Aid Panel from the Scanimate. It appears to connect to the cherry switches. Notice the Patch Panel 122, a potentiometer section 123 and an oscillator control section 124.

The oscillator control section 124 includes two high frequency oscillators, numbers one and two, and three low frequency oscillators, numbers three through five. The two high frequency oscillators, approximately 90 KHz, are provided for raster bending. High frequency oscillator number one has a frequency adjustment potentiometer 125 and an amplitude adjustment potentiometer 126 for defining those parameters of the wave form. This oscillator can be phase locked." (US Patient doc)

1. Wickipedia
2.  Dave Seg's excellent Scanimate site
3.  Scanimate - Facebook Page
4.  Create Digital Motion
5.  AudioVisalizers
6.  Nick Campbell
8. US Patient documents.



  2. Hello Dave,
    How are you doing? Thanks so much for leaving the link..
    I loved your videos, esp video 3 where you discussed bias, summing amps, pots, op amps, summing inputs, ramp generators, multipliers, etc etc. I am using a LZX video system and hope to put new life into those Cherry switches .. not for the ARP2500, but as they were originally intended .. for video synthesis.
    Could you do a follow up on the cherry switch patching method.
    Kind regards, J