Compubrick 160

Compubrick 160 - front

When I purchased my Outbound Laptop I was struck by the design. The unit, only a few inches thick, sat upright with the motherboard and floppy stored behind the LCD. The keyboard and isopoint bar, which could detach from the primary unit, communicated with the computer via infrared signal. When not in use, the keyboard snapped up in front of LCD, completely out of the way.

The Outbound was the perfect ClarisWorks computer for my desk, except it had a 68000 processor and no hard drive. The only other Macintosh I could find that would suit my needs was the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh - quite a price jump from the Outbound. And so, I resolved to build my own:

Compubrick 160 - guts

I decided to use a Powerbook 160 6/80, as its powerful enough for ClarisWorks and light internet/BBS use and wouldn't be an incredible loss if I damaged it (and I happened to have one).

I left the hard drive, floppy drive, motherboard, and battery mounted to the bottom of the case. The LCD, interconnect board, and inverter board I removed entirely. Using Erector Set pieces, I made a frame to hold the HD/FD/MB/battery. The LCD and interconnect/inverter boards were mounted in a like manner. Then, I connected all three together, as shown in the picture above.

Compubrick 160 - Power Button

Building the shell was tedious work, but it holds together quite well. I'm especially pleased with how the power button and reset switch turned out. The power button is the green block; the reset button is the black pole. The programmer's switch is covered.

Compubrick 160 - floppy drive

The floppy drive works very well and disks eject far enough to grab.

Compubrick 160 - battery

In order to get the battery to fit, I had to remove its side panel, which just pops off. Turn the computer on its side, give it a very light shake, and the battery comes right out.

Compubrick 160 - Ports

The ports are on the top of the unit. Rather than cut a special panel, I just let them all open. I'm not sure if I left enough space for the SCSI port, but all I'd need to do is remove a brick or two to make the space larger.

I couldn't think of any good way to attach building block components to the contrast and brightness knobs, so I decided to cover them with two 2x3 bricks instead. They're easily reached with a screwdriver or pen.

The Compubrick 160 was the catalyst for Applefritter.

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