Introduction: 70s Terminal PC

Picture of 70s Terminal PC

This is a computer which i designed and constructed to look like a 1970s data terminal. The case is built from 1/4" hardboard (similar to MDF), and painted with many layers of both gloss and textured paint. The computer features a 22" LCD display with a Plexiglas screen protector. Also, a mid-80s IBM 'clicky' keyboard was used which is great to use and hands itself well to the vintage look. Inside, there are modern computer components including a 3GHz Core2Duo, 500Gb hard drive, and 4GB of DDR2.

I am currently working on the instructable for this computer. For now, enjoy the pics.


joearkay (author)2010-04-01

what keyboard did you use?

ThomasD231 (author)joearkay2017-12-05

Pretty sure it's an IBM keyboard. There hard to come by but this site sells replicas with modern software and usb ports:

ziobabbo (author)2017-01-08

I joined instructibles to comment on this project, I love it.

My computer is slowly dying on me and I ll' have to replace it in the near future, I deciced to go for an aio solution for my needs when the terminal form factor came to my mind and I've searched on the web for similar ideas.

I'd like to know something more about your experience with this project
all the information you would like to share about it's construction would be very beneficial.

ziobabbo (author)ziobabbo2017-01-16

For instance: did you use a cnc router to cut the pieces? (do you happen to have the files / the project or the mesaurements?)

Did you had problems with static discharge or heat/dust/humidity because of the MDF case?
What precautions/treatments you have done or advice to do on MDF?
If you wuold do this build today what wuold you do differently?
Thank you very much for the inspiration and for sharing your work.

OBar (author)2009-09-08

Now, that is the epitome of retro-futuristic, Devo and Kool-aid party anyone?

valoskater8745 (author)OBar2011-06-15

Are we macbooks? We are terminals!

What looks good on the outside, bad in the inside? MAC BOOK PRO!

Knuxz (author)OBar2009-10-29

I'm in!

valoskater8745 (author)2011-06-15

Wow the first time I look at this at exactly 1 year after its published

Shadowfroze (author)2009-11-25


When your "How to" is done

there will be instruction about how to disassemble monitor and

how to install it into the case properly right? >w<b

Exciting!!  Can't wait for it

But.....? Where I can put CD/DVD Drive in this case? by side? or somewhere?
and where I could install floppy drive&multi-card reader?

Thanks a lot!!

alpinedelta (author)Shadowfroze2009-11-30

I see 3 options for adding an optical drive:

1) Use one on another computer via your home network (that's what I did)

2)Build a box which houses what looks like an external 5.25" floppy, but install a slot load drive in it.

3)Widen the entire case, and have an area beside the display where a slot load drive can fit vertically. Again, making it look like a floppy drive.

Thanks for the comment!

ubassmusic (author)alpinedelta2011-06-15

How about round the back of it? Or the side? If you used low level components you could probably fit it there, just and LCD monitor would be good enough, then the right holes and mounts round the side?

PreCast (author)2010-05-10

nice dude

Computothought (author)2010-04-06

I just rid myself of one of those clunkers, maybe I should have kept it...

the_mad_monkey (author)2009-12-04

I noticed you have a box beside the computer...looks like a 5 1/2 inch floppy box...why not build your optical into that?
If you put the optical drive in the bottom, you could even make some fake floppy tops to sit on it, to give a further appearance of disks.
Might even be able to work in a card reader and whatnot into it as well.

Just a thought.

Beautiful mod though, keep up the good work!

Shadowfroze (author)2009-11-22

Let's say if some hardware inside the case is broken

How can you maintain/replace part inside?

I'm curious really

alpinedelta (author)Shadowfroze2009-11-22

You just lift the top off, only weight holds it down. I've had to get in there a couple times already.

JakeTobak (author)2009-06-15

Pretty kewl. I use to have a terminal like that, I don't know if it exists anywhere anymore, but if I'm lucky it'll be in an attic.

nimitz (author)JakeTobak2009-11-14

As someone who collects vintage computer equipment _please_ don't do that.  These things are getting rarer and rarer even in non-working form.

Sell it on E-Bay or on one of the classic computer mailing lists.  That will give you enough money to get started on making your own cool terminal-PC project.  Depending on what model it is you can make quite a bit selling it.

JakeTobak (author)nimitz2009-11-14

I just found it and was talking to my dad about it this morning, so it's funny that you replied all of a sudden.
It's partially disassembled in the attic, but all the parts (afaik) are still there. There's a sticker on the back that says Mergenthaler and the model is MVPT. I don't know if that means anything to you, Google didn't turn up anything at first glance.

nimitz (author)JakeTobak2009-11-14

I'd highly recommend talking to a classic computer group somewhere because that is very likely one of the rare terminals from the old linoterm systems:

Please please please check into it before you decide to empty it for use as something else.

rik3098 (author)2009-11-12

that looks like a piec of crap. OMG delete the link or maybe not!

Warlrosity (author)2009-09-14

Oh dear, i AM halucanating

alpinedelta (author)2009-09-02

I would like to see that also. I really want to work with fibreglass next time round to get the right look. The only way you're going to get that cool retro look is with a small curved CRT, but unfortunately is a bit impractical for every day.

mayney93 (author)2009-08-18

what type of keyboard did u use and where can i get one it looks really kewl

alpinedelta (author)mayney932009-08-23

It's an IBM model M keyboard, ebay arround $20-$40. Of course I took the outer casing off of it to make this, but the keyboard is fantastic.

Llamarama (author)2009-07-06

I've been thinking about doing something like this for a while, for the retroness! Good job! Turned out brilliantly!

Mr. Rig It (author)2009-06-27

Truly cool!

isacco (author)2009-06-18

By the pictures it seems a nice object. Well designed, well assembled and smoothly finished. Congratulations! I wait for the instructable to rate it. In my opinion it has the potentiality to get the "featured" label.

jdege (author)2009-06-16

Next step is to get a CP/M emulator running in a full-screen green-monochrome console.

alpinedelta (author)2009-06-16

Thanks, and yeah Decepticon, I'd at least like to make a green scrolling command prompt screen saver. I need to make a breakout box for a dvd drive, card reader, and usb ports (that looks like a 5 1/4" floppy drive).

Decepticon (author)2009-06-16

looks like my ord TRS-80, only in color! Nice work!

Decepticon (author)Decepticon2009-06-16

A second thought: You should make a green monochrome theme for Windows just to add that old terminal touch!

wee_man (author)2009-06-16

This just made my dad better. And i've got the same keyboard as that on my p2.

Joe Martin (author)2009-06-16

This is one of the best things I have seen all week, I want one now!!

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