3D printed Apple Pi Mac: DIY creator speaks up

Aug 28, 2014
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3D printed Apple Pi Mac: DIY creator speaks up

This week we’ve had a tiny chat with the creators of the tiniest Mac ever made. With the power of 3D printing and Raspberry Pi, Adafruit Industries have created a Mac desktop computer that works with a 2.8-inch display - it’s nearly pocketable! It’s relatively easy to make yourself, too!

The 3D Printed Mac Pi works with a Raspberry Pi kit, 2.8-inch TFT LCD display, and an emulated version of Mac OS 7. With just 320 x 240 pixels to work with, you’ll have your own super-tiny Mac to work with complete with a collection of super-tiny apps.

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The display is touch-friendly too! Not that a Mac OS 7 build this tiny will be able to support it. But it’s there anyway!

You can keep the device charged up with one of its USB ports for on-the-go computing, or keep it plugged in to the wall for real desktop action. This computer is so versatile, we’re imagining it as a new smartwatch! Or maybe not, as there are no smartwatch connector pins (yet).

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We spoke with Adafruit Industries’ Noe Ruiz about how they made this device, starting with the inspiration.

"This was originally inspired by John Badge from the RetroMacCast," suggests Ruiz. "Our goal was to use 3D Printing and make it a do-able DIY project for makers and anyone interested in learning 3D Printing and electronics."

As this team has also created the 3D Printed Gameboy - shown just this July - we asked whether this was part of an extended collection of "retro" creations by Adafruit.

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"Yes!" Ruiz continued, "Previously we made an 3D Printed GameBoy (GameGRRL) and we may do more projects that bring the past to the future!"

To create this device, you can head the group’s tutorial at their webspace at Adafruit. There you’ll find a full step-by-step for your perusal.

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And what about the future for the rest of the industry? Tiny computers that replicate the past are fun, but what does 3D printing do for the rest of the industry?

"It's certainly already being used to prototype designs internally, but it's a great way to promote and market products in new ways that allows consumers to customize their products." Ruiz added, "We're already starting see manufactures embrace the technology and come up with interesting ways to engage with their customers. Ford, Nokia and GE are great examples of other companies using 3D Printing to promote their products."

Stick around SlashGear’s 3D Printing tag portal for more innovation from Adafruit and other fine organizations through the future!


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