Using the CUCPS Tape Punch
CUCPS has a Facit 4070 paper tape punch which is used to create
membership cards. The cards are of the standard 50x85mm credit-cardish
size, and have membership details punched along one edge. The details
are also given in human-readable form for mere mortals.
Producing membership cards is not tricky; this page aims to document
the process so new Junior Treasurers can take over the job of punching
new cards without too much difficulty.
Before You Start...
You will need the following bits and pieces:
- Facit 4070 punch with appropriate
modifications (already made to the CUCPS punch).
- Interfacing dongle (a trivial special purpose bit of
hardware; you don't need the
technical details unless the CUCPS one has
- 25 pin D-type male-male straight through cable.
- A PC running Linux. Other machines and OSes might work, but
this is the setup I use. You need a way to set the duration of the
STROBE pulse, which is done under Linux with lptune; this is the
only OS/machine dependency.
- The punchcard.pl perl script
- Some card. WHSmiths do single sheets of A4 card for 10p each,
which work nicely. If the card is too thick it won't punch well or
even fit in the punch at all.
- Connect the interfacing dongle directly to the punch.
- The straight-through
cable goes between the dongle and the PC's parallel port.
- If there is paper tape fed through the mechanism, unthread it.
Tape can be safely left on the lower feed reel.
- Tie the moving feed roller to the fixed rollers with string, wire
or elastic band so that it is about halfway across. If the ERROR
light lights when you turn the punch on, the roller is too close or too
far from the fixed rollers.
- Cut the card into strips 50mm wide, parallel to the long axis of the
card. Trinity library has a trimmer which is useful for this.
Here We Go...
This is how we actually punch a card...
- Plug the punch into the mains.
- Turn on the POWER ON switch. Press the DC ON switch (this one is a
momentary-contact switch); the READY light should light. If the TAPE LOW
light is lit you can ignore it. (We power up before feeding in the card
because the punch has a tendency to punch a stray hole at power up/down).
- Pull down the plastic flap at the front of the punch.
- Insert a strip of card into the punch. The card goes behind the
springy guide thing to the right. You'll need to frob the pinch roller
lever to get the left edge of the strip under it.
- Run the punchcard.pl script. It will ask you for membership number
(in the standard convention: leading 0x for hex, else leading 0 for
octal, else decimal),
userid and membership status. Enter these, and the punch
should start to work. [NB: you'll probably need to be root to run the
script.] There are about thirty characters to be punched at the slow
speed of one every second or two, so be patient :-)
- When the script finishes, you can run it again without touching the
punch to create another card. You should be able to get three cards per
- Extract the strip from the punch, and cut it into the separate cards.
It's pretty obvious where the boundaries lie. Cut off the leader at the
front of the strip; each card should have feed holes running all the
way across it.
I'll write the documentation on this bit as soon as I get the
dotmatrix printer and work out how to use it!
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Last Updated 3rd March 1998