Mini Apple 1 celebrates the computer that started it all

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3d printed Smithsonian Apple 1
Looks like it belongs in a museum.
Photo: Matteo Trevisan

The Smithsonian is home to the most famous of the Apple 1 computers. It’s covered in a crude wooden case and Matteo Trevisan wants it.

That’s not happening. But he and another self-described Apple maniac indulged their geeky pleasure by creating a miniature version with a 3D printer and Raspberry Pi computer.

Fans of Apple delighting in vintage tech can download the files to print their own Apple 1 case from the website Thingiverse. The design allows for the credit-card-size Raspberry Pi 4 Model B, which sells online for about $35.

The heart wants what it wants. Trevisan and his friend, Carmine Di Grezia, both of Italy, are part of a community of Apple fans who make toys or dabble in working miniature versions of classic computers.

Cult of Mac has profiled a number of these craftspeople (see a list of stories below), including Charles Mangin. He makes working 3D-printed miniatures of classic Apple machines, like the Apple II, Apple Lisa and the 1984 Macintosh.

Mini Apple 1: ‘why not’

Trevisan had the idea but needed to enlist the 3D printing skills of Di Grezia, who works by day as a civil engineer.

“The idea to build the case was why not,” Trevisan told Cult of Mac. “I like the Apple 1 and the story around Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.”

The Apple 1 was one of the sparks that ignited the personal computing revolution. Wozniak, an HP employee, made the computer and shared it at a meeting of the Home Brew Computer Club in 1976. Jobs convinced Wozniak they could make some money selling kits.

About 200 were made, but only 70 are known to remain. Two are in wooden cases made by the father of Randy Wigginton, known as Apple employee No. 6.

“Randy’s father made these wooden cases for the Byte Shop to sell with the Apple 1 board, as I recall,” Wozniak told the website Geek Culture in an undated article. “But he didn’t make very many in total.”

To get the case right, Di Grezia and Trevisan exchanged some 30 emails discussing details and measurements.
There were only a few openings Di Grezia needed to create for screws and wires.

“I’m an Apple maniac since my uncle gave me his broken iPhone,” Di Grezia said. “I tried to repair it but with no results, but that introduced me to the Apple world.”