Deckel NC Milling Machine Web Site


The "Deckel" Calculator

The "Deckel" Calculator:

The story of the Deckel calculator:

In about 1984 someone complained in Holland that it was difficult to calculate geometric contour points particularly when circles were involved. The person hearing the complaint owned a small company named "tricon", thought that this was easy to fix and proceeded to write a program on a Sharp pocket calculator. The result was very helpful, especially when connected with a small printer.

This solution was first marketed for general CNC applications and was based on the Sharp 1211 Pocket Computer with 4KB. The small memory necessitated the loading of different programs for different application. Only about 10 of these very early units were sold:


While these early models were beginning to be marketed and the software was perfected "Tricon" decided to offer the solution to Deckel Holland, who in turn offered it to Deckel Germany in Munich. The solution was soon included in the Deckel product range and sold at least over one thousand times, but by now based on the Sharp PC 1500A Pocket Computer with 16KB. The dutch company improved the product and remained responsible for it. The case was also custom made for "Tricon" in Holland.

From a brochure:

The total product package included the calculator, the plotter base-plate modul, and the RS-232 interface.

The interface could load programs to and from the machine controls (including Siemens 3M) as well as to and from the Deckel programming station.

Optionally a larger DIN A3 plotter was available.

A special software was available for engraving.

In documentation there was the "Geometrie-Modul", the "Plotter-Modul", the "Sinus-Modul I", the Sinus-Modul II", and the "Tecmill-Modul".

In essence the calculator package could do all those things that the machine control could well have been able to do, if the Grundig developers had thought of it earlier.

Only with the Dialog 11 would the machine control achieve some of the calculators features ("Contour-Zug").

The Sharp calculator was the 1500A pocket computer. This calculator was one fine piece of electronics and has a vast number of accessories available for it. Many people got their first exposure to computing with this calculator. In the US it was sold through Radio Shack as the TRS-80 ("Trash80").
The large DIN A3 plotter offered through Deckel was not out of the Sharp line-up and probably did not sell much.

It must be noted that a little later Heidenhain also had a calculator available. They chose an HP calculator, but it was not as good or user friendly.

These pictures are from a Heidenhain calculator EBay auction:

The Sharp calculator was widely used throughout industry and hobby.
Another application is shown here in the 1986 fire fighting equipment catalog from "Ziegler":