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The Game Plan

A project log for Sol-20 Reproduction

I am making a full sized Sol-20 reproduction, the first fully assembled microcomputer with a built-in keyboard and television output.

Michael GardiMichael Gardi 5 days ago1 Comment

So my plan is to make a full size case that will be as authentic looking as possible, with beautiful walnut sides for sure. I may 3D print the blue panels instead of using sheet metal so the build would be accessible to more people should they decide to make one.  

For the keyboard I have been in touch with Dave from osiweb.org who has designed a complete replacement keyboard for the Sol-20 using modern Cherry key switches. From the Unified Retro Keyboard Project:

The keyboard is not a replica of the original. It doesn't use the same capacitive circuit or keys. But it does have exactly the same layout with the same functionality, including the 3 LEDs (UPPER CASE, SHIFT LOCK, LOCAL) and 3 outputs (RESET, BREAK, LOCAL). It uses cherry MX or Futaba MD-4PCs keys. Neither has quite the same feel as the capacitive keys, but the Futaba keys approach the travel of the keytronic switches, and do have a nice feel.

I'm getting the keyboard as a kit and looking forward to putting it together.

On the inside I'm going to emulate the Sol-20 hardware on a Raspberry Pi 4. To that end I have a working (very basic at this point) Python based emulator I'm going to post to GitHub shortly. 

I haven't decided what to do for a monitor yet. Certainly a CRT of some sort would be ideal, but I may have to go with a LCD.

Discussions

Dave's Dev Lab wrote 5 days ago point

how about laser cut blue acrylic? ponoko.com has some really good selections and you can share the design files on the website so people can easily order them....

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