Memorialize Your Favorite Chips In Slate

There’s no point in denying it — if you’re a regular reader of Hackaday, you’ve almost certainly got a favorite chip. Some in the audience yearn for the simpler days of the 6502, while others spend their days hacking on modern microcontrollers like the ESP32 or RP2040. There are even some of you out there still reaching for the classic 555. Whatever your silicon poison, there’s a good chance the Macrochips project from [Jason Coon] has supersized it for you.

The original slate RP2040

The idea is simple: get a standard 100 mm x 100 mm (4″ x 4″) slate coaster, throw it in your laser engraver of choice, and zap it with a replica of a chip’s label. The laser turns the slate a light gray, which, when contrasted with the natural color of the slate, makes for a fairly close approximation of what the real thing looks like. To date, [Jason] has given more than 140 classic and modern chips the slate treatment. Though he’s only provided the SVGs for a handful of them, we’re pretty sure anyone with a laser at home will have the requisite skills to pull this off without any outside assistance.

The page credits a post from [arturo182] for the idea (Nitter), which pointed out a slate RP2040 hiding out on the corner of [Graham Sanderson]’s desk back in 2021. We just became aware of the trend when [Jason] posted his freshly engraved RP1 on Mastodon in honor of the release of the Raspberry Pi 5.

10 thoughts on “Memorialize Your Favorite Chips In Slate

  1. My favorite CPU has a rather boring appearance with just a few lines of text: MOS 6502. My second favorite however is a AMD 486DX2-66 as it was the first “new” from ground PC build (previous PC were rebuilt from dumpster diving) And AMD 486 happens to have lots of printing on the CPU.

    I need to find someone who has the machine, a slate to engrave with, and someone to take image of the CPU and convert it to code for laser machine. This is a cool idea for us geeks!

    1. Here’s the AMD image:

      Grabbing the image and converting it for use in LaserGRBL would be easy. I could do it for you in a few minutes if you had a file/email destination you’d be willing to publicly share.

      And you don’t need slate, although that might be the easiest to get. I think Lowes and Home Depot probably have slate tile on hand. Any darkish stone will probably work, though. I know that polished black granite works because I’ve successfully etched it with my inexpensive Sculpfun S6 Pro laser engraver. The granite has some variability in composition so you even get a slightly mottled result that almost looks sparkly.

  2. This is a very cool idea; I had never thought of using slate tiles for something like this even though my laser etches them wonderfully. I have made some tile coasters for friends before with various sports team logos.
    I guess I need to find some slate as I have a friend that just finished another product using the MSP430FR2673. It is in a VQFN-32 package, so I could also etch the thermal pad and pins on the bottom.

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