Boxing Day

A project log for Melba I

Melba I is an implementation of the Apple I from parts in my collection.

Christian BjelleChristian Bjelle 07/02/2020 at 12:380 Comments

After striking gold with the lovely 1974 keyboard, I wanted to make a suitable case for keyboard and computer.

My inspiration came from the most easily accessible Apple I in the world. The image of an  Apple I at Wikipedia, with an identical keyboard to mine. The case in the picture has to house a real Apple and power supply. My PCB is a lot smaller, and I will use a modern power supply, so I can give my case slightly better ergonomics, with the keys further in and an area in the from to rest your hands.

I didn't have any suitable material at home, but my local hardware store had oak in 8x90 mm in lengths of 2.5m.

I made a 3d-model of the keyboard in ViaCad Pro, and started to roughly "build" a box around it. (Picture below)

With the rough model in place, I rigged up a workspace in the garden with a miter saw and a small band-saw.

I still hadn't decided how to join the corners, but just cutting the corners at 45°, applying glue and taping the pieces together was the intended simple solution.  However, on a spur of the moment change of mind brought on by some feeling with the band-saw, I went with a box joint. 

I probably should have practiced a bit, but on the plus side, I got to try out some ways to hide my mistakes.

To get a nice surface finish, I applied some oil.

I also wanted a nice hand rest.

The packing material for my 3d-printer was a plastic foam material, and had about the right size. I cut a channel in the foam for a wood core with metal threaded inserts, and wrapped it in a piece of inside-out leather.

 I'm not completely happy with the looks of the hand rest, but it might turn out right when the complete system is assembled.