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Build your own Enigma

These pages are about an electronic replica of the famous Enigma cipher machine, that you can build yourself. It is known as the Enigma-E. If you already own an Enigma-E but haven't yet registered it, now may be the time to do so. If you have any questions whilst building the kit, you might want to check the FAQ or visit the special support page.

The Enigma-E comes as a self-build kit that contains a professional printed circuit board (PCB), all components, a circuit diagram and a 60+ page manual with instructions, historical backgrounds and even some real intercepts.

It is fully compatible with the 3-wheel military Enigma I that was used during WWII by the German Wehrmacht (Army) and Luftwaffe (Air Force). It is also compatible with the Enigma M3 that was used by the Kriegsmarine (Navy) and with the 4-wheel Enigma M4 that was used exclusively by their dreaded U-Boot section.

The image on the right shows what the Enigma-E looks like, when it is completely assembled.
Click here for a full product description

If you have ever seen a genuine Enigma machine in a museum, there is a good chance that you have fallen in love with it and that you would like to own one. However, given the popularity of the machine, the low number of surviving machines and their high prices at auctions, this will be out of reach for most of us. And that is exactly why we created the Enigma-E self-build kit.

 Ordering information
 Enigma-E support page

How compatible is it?
The picture below shows how the Enigma-E compares to a real Enigma I machine. The wheels have been replaced by four alphanumerical displays, each capable of displaying the entire alphabet. Above and below the displays are up and down buttons to alter the settings.

Just below the displays are 26 LEDs, replacing the 26 lamps of the original machine. Each LED represents one letter of the alphabet. Below the lamp section is the keyboard that consists of 26 push-buttons. Like the lamp panel, the keyboard is layed out in the German QWERTZ order.

The lower part of the Enigma-E contains the plug board or Steckerbrett, which allows pairs of letters to be swapped. This features was unique to the military Enigma. The Steckerbrett can be separated from the main PCB, allowing it to be mounted vertically, just like on the real machine.

 See what others say about the Enigma-E

What is in the kit?
The kit contains everything you need to build a working Enigma machine: a professionally made double-sided through-plated PCB plus all electronic components. It also contains a 65+ page manual with detailed building instructions and historical backgrounds. All you need to supply yourself, is a soldering iron, solder, a suitable power source and basic soldering skills.

The kit contains the following items:
  • Professional PCB
  • 65+ page manual
  • All electronic components
  • Plugs and sockets
  • Push-buttons
  • Programmed PIC controller
  • Lamp film with diffusor
  • Self-adhesive key-top labels
  • Wiring
  • Full circuit diagram
  • Certificate
The contents of the kit

Depending your experience, you should be able to complete the kit in a few hours or a few nights. Once it is completed, the kit can be put to test by trying one of messages supplied in the manual.

The complete package
The contents of the kit
Another view of the contents of the kit
Another view of the contents of the kit
Lamp film, diffusor and key-top labels
The assembled PCB
Close-up of the lamps (LEDs)
Close-up of the keyboard (without the labels)
The PIC controller and some other components
Another view of the lamp panel
Detail of the Steckerbrett and some electronic components
Close-up of the Steckerbrett
Close-up of the displays (wheels) and the mode LEDs
View of the mode selector, the LEDs and the displays
Close-up of the buzzer and some keys
The V-cut allows the Steckerbrett to be separated from the main PCB

  • Simulation of Enigma I, M3 and M4
  • Full 26-key keyboard with key-click sound
  • Lamp panel with 26 LED lights
  • Alpha-numerical displays replacing the wheels
  • Advanced setup procedure in software
  • Powered by 9V battery or external PSU
  • Serial Port connection to PC
  • Optional morse code output
  • Professional double sided PCB
  • All electronic components included
  • Only first-class components used
  • Extensive easy to read manual
  • Step by step building guide
  • Requires only basic soldering skills
The Manual
The Enigma-E building kit comes complete with a 65+ page manual, describing the process of building the kit in great detail. It also contains the full circuit diagram, a circuit description, historical backgrounds on Enigma and an overview of the various Enigma models.

The manual contains the following:
  • Full building instructions
  • Detailed description of the working principle of an Enigma
  • How to build a wooden box
  • Enigma History
  • Overview of Enigma models
  • Full circuit diagram
  • Electronic circuit description
  • Some original German army messages
A typical page from the manual

As a unique gift, the last chapter of the manual has been written by Enigma researchers Geoff Sullivan and Frode Weierud. A few years ago, they aquired a large number of original war-time German Army Enigma messages, that had never been published before. Five of these messages are now included in the Enigma-E manual, complete with their decrypts, Enigma settings and full historical backgrounds. Below are a few samples that can be downloaded.

Improve your Enigma-E
Build your own wooden case

Depending on your skills, you may leave the finished PCB as it is, or mount it in a suitable enclosure. Existing users have already created a wide variety of cases, ranging from plexi-glass enclosures, to realistic wooden boxes. Drawings for a suitable case are provided in the manual.

The image on the right shows one of the most perfect examples of an oak-wood case that we've seen so far. It is effectively a scaled-down version of a real Enigma box, with perfect copies of the original hinges, locks, brackets, etc. It was made by Austrian collector Günter Hütter.

 See what other cases people have made
 Get the case dimensions
 Other modifications

Expansion kit
The UhrBox-E is an electronic replica of the Enigma Uhr, a small Enigma add-on that was introduced by the German Lufwaffe in 1944, in an attempt to make the Enigma more secure.

The UhrBox-E comes as a self-build kit that contains a professional PCB, all components, a circuit diagram and a full-colour manual with instruction and full historical backgrounds.

 More information
Click to see more

Further information
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Crypto Museum. Last changed: Sunday, 15 October 2017 - 09:17 CET.
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