Taking DIY to a whole new level, Steve Chamberlin, a Belmont, California, videogame developer, rolled his own 8-bit CPU for an aptly named project he calls "Big Mess of Wires," or BMOW. The project took him 18 months, $1,000, and 1,253 wires to complete.
"Computers can seem like complete black boxes," Chamberlin said. "We understand what they do, but not how they do it, really. When I was finally able to mentally connect the dots all the way from the physics of a transistor up to a functioning computer, it was an incredible thrill."
The project began with a 12x7-inch Augat wire-wrap board with 2,832 gold wire-wrap posts purchased on Ebay for $50. Over time, BMOW came to encompass 1,253 pieces of wire painstakingly wrapped at a rate of 25 wires per hour to create 2.506 individually wrapped connections. More than just a prototype, Chamberlin has added a keyboard, LCD output, USB connection, three-voice audio, and VGA video to demonstrate a working computer.
For those of you in the San Mateo area, Chamberlin's BMOW will be on display at the fourth annual Makert Faire this weekend, May 30-31, as one of 600 DIY exhibits.