Intel's fabrication plants can churn out hundreds of thousands of processor chips a day. But what does it take to handcraft a single 8-bit CPU and a computer? Give or take 18 months, about $1,000 and 1,253 pieces of wire. Steve Chamberlin, a Belmont, California, videogame developer by day, set out on a quest to custom design and build his own 8-bit computer.
The homebrew CPU would be called Big Mess of Wires or BMOW. Despite its name, it is a painstakingly created work of art. The 8-bit CPU and computer will be on display doing an interactive chess demo at the fourth annual Maker Faire in San Mateo, California, this weekend, May 30-31. It will be one of 600 exhibits of do-it-yourself technology, hacks, mods and just plain strange hobby projects at the faire, which is expected to draw 80,000 attendees.