When I was an undergrad, I took a class that started off by explaining the various ways electronic logic gates have been created over the years (which go by descriptive names like TTL, for Transistor-Transistor Logic) and ended with us creating a working 8-bit CPU in simulation. I've never forgotten the feeling I had after that class, that if you dropped me on a desert island with a box of transistors, a bale of wire, and a soldering iron, I could build a computer from scratch, and I've always secretly harbored the urge to actually try.
Kyle Hovey had a similar experience, and so now he's building his own 8-bit computer, using the aforementioned TTL standard, a couple old computer books, and a pile of breadboards and components. He's also documenting his process on his blog, so you can see his process and the solutions he's finding to the various problems as he encounters them.
As Kyle says on his website, "I started this blog so that anyone wanting to build their own 8-bit computer could learn from my own experience and mistakes. Information on building your own 8-bit computer is scarce on the Internet and I believe that it should be more readily available for those who would like to embark on such a project."
He's aiming for the final product to have a bit of a steampunk aesthetic, including a steampunk case, and an already built Numitron tube display.
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