Do you remember the days …
Of regularly making calculations using paper and pen?
And yes, probably at times you used a calculator, too. But it was some combination of paper, pen/pencil and a rudimentary calculator that allowed you to really think the problem through. And here’s the important part: You also had a sheet of paper when you were done that you could refer to double check your math.
So, in full disclosure, the swampulator is more a method than a machine. For me it started with trying to quantify flow rates in the Everglades in units that I could understand. Anyone who’s dabbled even a little bit in the hydrologic numbers game knows: the units quickly get tricky and obtuse. That got me to thinking: What if I translated cubic feet per day, week and year into volumes that a lay audience (and yes, even myself) could better understand — such as Fenway Park sized cups of water (i.e. filled up to the top of the 37.5 foot tall Green monster), Empire State Building sized glasses water and Lake Okeechobee sized bowls of water. Olympic sized swimming pools also work well.
For me, the swampulator is a reminder that there’s still a place for simple math, and not only is it sometimes the best place to start, it helps foster a new mode of thought. It might also make you a better communicator, too.
So, to answer the original question: Yes, you can buy it in a store, but you probably have everything you need to build at home.
All you need is a calculator, some paper and pen!