Gear

This terrifying piece of metal is actually a rotary phone turned cell phone

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If you’re too old-school to dial your friends using the number pad on your fancy smartphone, you might want to check out this awesome rotary phone turned cell phone.

Messing around with an old rotary phone mechanism from years ago, YouTuber Mr. Volt built the ‘Rotary Cell Phone’ – a mobile rotary station that actually works without the need to hook it up to a landline.

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Mr. Volt’s prototype is fully functional, which means you can actually make calls with it once you load the device with your SIM card. It also has a tiny screen and a bunch of other features: SMS, FM radio,  a phone book (with enough memory for a single contact) and sleep mode. The phone also comes with its own stylus to make dialing easier.

To build this odd piece of tech, Mr. Volt 3D-printed the case using ABS thermoplastic and also polished it with a sander; the metal parts were milled on an X-Carve CNC.

Inside, the phone packs an Adafruit Fona Feather to load SIM cards, a 96×64 pixel color OLED display, an 8-ohm 1W speaker and a 2,000 mAh LiPo battery. The inventive YouTuber says he hasn’t tested how long a full charge cycle lasts, but he speculates it should be “quite a while.”

Mr. Volt isn’t the first DIY enthusiast to turn a rotary phone into a cell phone.

We’ve previously seen a frustrated developer build his own rotary cell phone when refused a landline in his new office. SparkFun was also selling its own rotary cell station called the Port-O-Rotary, but it’s been retired from production since then.

Watch the clip in the video section above to get a better idea of how this quirky invention works.

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