A while back I stumbled across The N8VEM Home Brew Computer Project. which is essentially a Single Board Computer kit based around “the style of vintage computers of the mid to late 1970′s and early 1980′s“. Back then you used a terminal to talk to the computers… with the N8VEM you use ‘Hyperterm’ or equivelant!
The N8VEM is based on the wonderfull Z80 processor, and you can expand the system by building add-on boards and a back-plane. There are Hard/Floppy disk controller cards, VDU cards, and several other cards available. Its not for the uninitiated with a soldering iron though, as whilst you can order the empty circuilt boards from site, getting the components and soldering them in is down to you. Fortunately, no surface mount technology components are used!
The hardware is actually just part of the fun, once built you need to program EPROMS with the CP/M operating system so you can do something with the computer! You could get away with just using someone elses ROM image, however, as soon as you start adding additional cards, you will find yourself needing to get stuck into modifying assember files and compiling yourself your own ROM image.
Heres my flavour of the N8VEM, it has the Disk I/O card and backplane utilising a Compact Flash hard disk. To protect it from dust etc, I cobbled together various bits off ebay and I’m quite pleased with the final result!