I follow several vintage electronics enthusiasts on YouTube and have found their projects to be fascinating. It has inspired me to build a custom Commodore 64 computer of my own. I have several working machines and one that does not work at all. The shell of that one was re-purposed for a retro gaming machine powered by a Raspberry Pi.
|Commodore 64 Assy 326298 Rev A, from 1982.|
|The Commodore Dead Test cartridge.|
So I have dubbed this my Commodore Project 64. I want to turn it into a custom computer with features my stock computers don't have. I personally prefer the original machines, but I want to have some fun with this. The one rule I want to stick with as best I can is that I will only use parts from original machines that are beyond repair and would likely never be used for regular machines again.
I was inspired by Adrian Black's Creamy Dreamy C64:
He used a Commodore Vic-20 case for a very beautiful end result. So with that, I hunted down the worst Vic-20 case I could find on Ebay.
|Commodore Vic-20 Case.|
One of my favorite creators on YouTube, Perifractic's Retro Recipes, built this amazing machine. Since he wanted to only use parts that were recently manufactured, his options for keys were limited. He went with Lego Bricks, which is a neat idea, but I personally hated that.
Click here if you want to get a look at the CAD files. The key looks and functions nicely, but it's not quite right for the Commodore 64. It may be a different design that user is basing it on, but I don't know for sure. The mess on the inside is just printing supports I haven't bothered to remove because they have no effect on the end result.
The key in the middle is my design so far. The dimensions are much closer to the keys I'm working with.
So this is where I am now with the project. The Vic-20 case needs to be thoroughly cleaned and retr0brighted. Now that my area is getting sun, I should have better luck with that. The 3D printed keys need to be refined and I'll need to figure out what sort of color scheme I want to go with. And of course, I need to get the board working again.
In the meantime, I'd like to post occasional updates on this project. I've got more parts and things I'll need ordered but it could be several months before I have all of them.