A One Third Scale Macintosh


Released in 1984, the original Macintosh was a wonder – not only did it have a GUI and a mouse, it was actually one of the smaller computers of the day. Now that we’re nearly 30 years past the release of the OG Mac, it follows that a smaller version should be possible. [John] did just that by creating a 1:3 scale replica of the original 128k Mac.

As you would expect, this tiny Mac is powered by a Raspberry Pi running Mini vMac, an emulator for these olde tymie 68k Macs. The display is a 3.5″ LCD with a resolution of 300×200, not quite up to the standard classic mac resolution of 512×342. At least this version has color, though.

Also inside the carefully crafted PVC case are a WiFi and Bluetooth dongle, along with an off-the-shelf phone charger. It’s a remarkable piece of craftsmanship, and given the games and applications (i.e. Photoshop 1.0) available for these old Macs, its possibly more useful for general computing than a stock Raspberry Pi.

You can check out the video walkthrough of everything this tiny little Mac can do below.


75 thoughts on “A One Third Scale Macintosh

      1. It’s really not comparable to an Arduino at all. An Arduino is a microcontroller development board with an 8 bit AVR microcontroller. It usually does not run an OS and can be used for projects where not much power is needed, but strict timing can be guaranteed. A Raspberry Pi is a full computer, with a 32 bit ARM processor, that can easily run a full OS, output 1920×1080 video, connect peripherals, etc.

      1. I agree that this is cool. As to your comment one could make a complete hardware replica using an FPGA or maybe a coldfire MCU? Maybe a parallax propeller? The options are available. Maybe us a printed case?

    1. Because it was hyped a lot. Then once people finally got theirs, they realized they had no use for it, so you so things like this made in a attempt to try to justify the expense. It isnt even a good replica, it is missing the brightness/contrast knobs on the front, the RJ-11 keyboard connector, and all the rear ports. For christ sakes it even lacks audio out (and probably the internal speaker).

      If you look at the actual page, you can even see a bunch of sloppy seams, and that it is missing the air vents.

      1. Have you built a better one?
        That’s what I thought.

        As for the Raspberry PI, I have found plenty of uses for mine. Just because you have no imagination don’t expect that the rest of us can’t do better.

        1. I can do better. I’m sitting in front of a full blown PC right now that only cost me a dollar. So Raspberry Pi’s are too expensive, and underpowered compared to other hardware.

          1. By those standards, everything is underpowered and too expensive. Forget any and all microcontrollers, processors, disc drives, peripherals, etc, if they cost more than $1.

          2. Sometimes one needs the micro in microcontrollers I suppose. Then you have to be prepared to pay the premium for it too. But the Raspberry Pi was created specifically so one could afford to fry it. In that respect it is somewhat of a failure as I can get PCs for cheaper, and more easily afford to fry those.

          3. @pcf11 You can get PCs that are less than 6 inches square and weigh less than 5 pounds for under 40 bucks? Please reveal your source, maybe the rest of us will start using that instead.

      2. It’s a shame that he wasted your time scratch-building a model of a classic PC, on his own dime, to entertain himself. If there’s any justice in the world, he will smash it up and go sit in the corner and think about how he disappointed Matt on hackaday.

        1. So…. What about art? paintings? sculptures? Why don’t people throw those away? It’s a waste of space, it costs very expensive, and most art have no purpose but to amuse people. So why does THIS toll differently?

          1. I have no idea if you meant to reply to me, and if so, why. Art doesn’t fit into this at all. People keep it because it does give them something, namely the pleasure of looking at it, collecting it, preserving it for the ages, etc. On the opposite spectrum of that is garbage, which everyone throws away. I guess something in between is a functional thing whose function you have no use for. Whether you keep it, throw it away, or pass it on to someone else, depends, I guess, on how much space you have, whether you think you’ll need it in the future, whether you know anyone who will take it off your hands (fee or free), and other such considerations. My point was that, considering it’s $25, it doesn’t *matter* what you do with it if you don’t end up needing it.

  1. “given the games and applications (i.e. Photoshop 1.0) available for these old Macs, its possibly more useful for general computing than a stock Raspberry Pi”

    Yea sure, if you don’t count the thousands of programs in the Debian repositories that run natively on the pi and can be installed with a one liner apt-get command…

    A very neat piece of workmanship none the less, now it just needs a matching keyboard and mouse!

      1. Why bother, you can emulate a mac already.

        I took the quoted statement to mean having one or the other, if you make use of both the linux and mac environment then the statement does become true.

        Either way, who still uses hypercard?

      1. Wow, that was incredibly vague. I’m pretty sure I had GEM on my ancient Atari ST 520. I don;t remember much about it (It was my first computer ~ age 4ish) except that now to have a windows-like GUI that included sound and ran on 512k with room to spare can’t have been *that* bad. Could it?

          1. I only just remember it from an Amstrad PC(think that was a 286 – wouldn’t run Doom :-( ), but yeah it did run STs too didn’t it . no need to apologise- It’s all a bit vague on my part too. Indeed I thought I’d imagined it until I came across FreeGEM recently- on modern hardware it is fast.

    1. The hack is that it’s a computer that looks just like a 1:3 scale Mac, while acting like a Mac. The problem’s not what passes for a hack these days, but what passes for a comment.

    1. This would be an homage to Bill Atkinson, not Steve Jobs

      This phrase you are using, I don’t think it means what you think it means. I’m guessing you don’t have much experience with this sort of thing.

  2. If he ran Basilisk II on this thing, it would have network connectivity and support for software newer than what the Plus could run. If you add MacTCP, NCSA Telnet, and MacX to the mix, you can do almost everything related to the underlying Debian install from the emulated Macintosh environment. (Connect MacX to Firefox running on Raspbian, for example.) It could even run a web proxy behind the scenes, to request mobile sites and convert images for the ancient browsers that run on 4 megs of RAM and System 6. (MacWWW and I believe the first version of Mosaic will work.)

    1. If he ran Basilisk II on it, he would also no longer be emulating an actual Mac. Basilisk II just emulates an ‘040 processor and doesn’t actually emulate any of the rest of the Mac hardware; it more or less just intercepts accesses to the toolbox ROM, simulates a generic arbitrary-sized framebuffer without emulating the actual Mac-specific video controllers, and re-directs network access to your PC’s networking hardware without emulating the actual controller IC. It’s no more a Mac emulator than VirtualPC is a PC emulator.

    2. MacX is a piece of garbage. You won’t be able to get a firefox window to work. MacX will crash and burn. Even if it doesn’t crash, the colors will be a mess, screen updating will fail, and you won’t be able to interact with anything. Don’t bother.

      MacTCP is not compliant with modern TCP/IP specifications, you will have a tough time if you put it on your network. Even at its best it cannot keep up with a 10 megabit ethernet. It will drop packets left and right. Running a remote X session is far too challenging for this clumsy mess. Other systems will have a tough time talking to it. Again don’t bother unless you like pain.

      Don’t bother with prehistoric browsers either. They don’t work at all on any actual web site. Usually the browser just crashes, sometimes it doesn’t crash, but it’s not usable.

      Yeah we all get the urge to boot up those old computers but then it just brings back memories of how badly those old systems sucked even when they worked.

  3. Add feet, paint it yellow, call it the Plantain Junior 2000.

    (Now to wait for the needlessly hostile reply about how “plantain” doesn’t refer just to starchy, undersized cooking bananas.)

  4. Great idea actually, I like it.

    Unfortunatly the idea trolls over at Apple will now steal the idea for a micro system that is modeled after their earlier works, and call the idea their own.

  5. I wish I had one, because after my Timex Sinclair 1000, and my TRS-80, my 128k Mac, was my first “real” computer. I loved that little box. So, even though it would serve no “real” purpose, I would like to have one of these, so that when I see it sitting there on my shelf, I can more immediately remember those days when I had one, and recall those lost days of my youth.

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