The coolest homebrew computer gets its own case

SONY DSC

When you’re building one of the best homebrew computers ever created, you’ll also want a great case for it. This was [Simon]’s task when he went about building an enclosure for his Kiwi microcomputer.

We were introduced to the Kiwi last year as the end result of [Simon] designing the ultimate computer from the early to mid-1980s. Inside is a 68008 CPU, similar to the processor found in early Macs and Amigas, two SID chips taken from a Commodore 64, Ethernet, support for IDE hard drives and floppy disks, and a video display processor capable of delivering VGA resolution video at 32-bit color depth. Basically, if this computer existed in 1982, it would either be hideously expensive or extraordinarily popular. Probably both, now that I think about it.

The case for the Kiwi was carefully cut from ABS sheets, glued together with acetone, and painted with auto body paint by a friend. It’s a great piece of work, but the effort may be for naught; [Simon] is reworking the design of his Kiwi computer, and hopefully he’ll be spinning a few extra boards for everyone else that wants a piece of the Kiwi.

26 thoughts on “The coolest homebrew computer gets its own case

  1. The 68008 is an 8 bit datapath machine that might have competed with the 8088 and the original IBM PC, if it had shipped earlier. As it was, Motorola users, like Apple and Amiga waited longer, for a 68000 version with a full 16 bit data path, and of course higher speed of processing.

    1. Waited longer? The 68000 was released before the 68008 just as the 8086 was released before the 8088.

      Nice project but I’d not call it the coolest, there are many IMHO cooler homemade computers on the web.

      1. The 68008 was in fact the CPU of the Sinclair QL. Sinclair took is to save some Pennies. One year later, when the Mac, the Amiga and the Atari came out with a full 68000, the QL was quickly forgotten. But the Kiwi is of course superior to the QL, because of it’s two SIDs :-)

    2. Since people are apparently too stupid to research. Amiga 1000, 500, 600, 2000 were 16 bit machines, with a 68000 in them. Any other Amiga’s were 32 bit machines, with 680×0 chips in them.
      While I understand the 80’s were a long time ago, or before you were born, google is a modern thing and it would of told you the correct answers if you used it.

  2. Dang!!! I was in the middle of making my foundry to cast aluminum for a case just like this for my gaming computer! I want to be on hack a day :(
    Looks like i have to do something different now…

    1. Don’t give up! Making a cast aluminum enclosure for anything would guarantee you HaD fame. Think of all the cool stuff you could do with a cast case: molded tapped standoffs, embossed logo, nicely beveled port and keyboard cutouts, and a shiny powder coat to top if off. If you don’t have a CNC yet, this is just the excuse to build one for making foam positives for a burnout mold…

    2. Keep working at it. That’s a project that’ll go up.

      As an aside, don’t worry too much about getting on HaD. I added ‘getting on Hackaday’ to my bucket list in 2005. Now, every day…

  3. Well, that’s the machine I would have dreamt of in the 1980’s. What’s wrong with fulfilling your dreams once you have the means? See, I just bought myself the Stratocaster I dreamed of in the 1990’s… others buy a Harley Davidson, but that’s not me ;-)

  4. The picture in the summary looks nice but all I see at the link location is a conversation about trying to combine some cheap cases that in the end didn’t work out and he was going to try something else.

  5. Thank you for your comments! Well, Kiwi isn’t about building the coolest homebrew computer. Kiwi is about having fun tinkering around and fulfilling a dream I had as a child in the 1980ies (as agtrier said). I hope we have passed the system-war-times. “Amiga is cooler than Atari or vice vesa.” Personally I like every homebrew project and thus I like to see Dylan’s aluminum case here on HaD when it is finished. :)

    Leif, maybe you have overlooked that the mentioned link contains more pages. The thread documents the evolving of the case from my first thoughts until the finished product. Maybe you should start reading on page 3: http://www.ist-schlau.de/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=901&start=20

    1. I just wanted to say, don’t let the naysayers get you down, this is an awesome build! The casing is absolutely gorgeous. And anyway, isn’t the whole point of homebrew computers to have fun? If we were talking about “practicality,” people wouldn’t even build them in the first place. The last thing HaD needs is yet another arduino LED blinker or a “Yes, Virginia, the Raspberry Pi /does/ run Linux programs” article.

  6. but…but CFis a 90s standard. he could have used a Memory Stick adapter in the floppy drive so that everything onboard is 80s tech

    that said, realistically, what difference does it make. nice build and finish :)

    1. Personally, I won’t have/touch a Memory Stick… ($ony, you know)
      I LOVE the CF, I wish it would be around for another 100 years….

  7. Welp, I think the state of this article sums up everything that has gone wrong with this site. Don’t get me wrong, the project is awesome, I love it. The problem is:

    Really impressive homebrew computer with slick custom casing: 13 comments
    Something related to marijuana: 200+ comments.

    I rest my case.

    1. Maybe if you wrote a ton of rants on this one about how it shouldn’t be be here because you personally don’t like it, people would argue with you… just like on the marijuana one.

      You’re pointing out a problem that you yourself were a huge contributor to. congrats.

      Besides, using the count of comments as a judge to content is strange. Some things obviously will bring more debate.

  8. For some reason I looked at the front picture here and thought “laptop folded funny” rather than “Apple 2 style integrated keyboard”. Oops.

    1. This is what that weirdass Commodore 65 that CBM was working on in 1990 should have been. The C65 as it was, was underpowered CPU-wise. Then again, if it had been more powerful, it would have competed directly with the Amigas.. It was a dead end project at that time IMO, unless they could have sold it for half of what the Amigas sold for. Would probably have been a good idea for East Europe, where 8-bit computers were still highly popular at that time.

      And yeah, the Yamaha V9990 doesn’t display 32-bit color depth. It can do 32768 colors on screen, but it’s only good for still pics.

  9. Last weekend I took the computer to the DoReCo meeting. You can see Kiwi in action on Youtube from 9:05 onwards (in addition to it’s own YT channel):

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