today we have a HUGE ! Update !
Together with Michael from Plexilaser, we have almost completed the design for the MEGA65 DevKit.
Only minor changes remain, so we are proud to announce, that soon the MEGA65 DevKits will be available.
It is intended for people, who:
- would like to support the project by starting to develop for it
- don't care to much about the original C65/MEGA65 case AND YES ! our main goal is still to get the injection moulds for the official MEGA65 cases.
- can't/don't want to wait any longer, to get their hands on that machine.
The MEGA65 DevKit will come unassembled, because it is what it is: a DevKit !
It will have the original MEGA65 R2 mainboard and the original MEGA65 Keyboard.
We are really proud of the case design, since it has a much slicker, more modern look. more Amiga like and it is as space efficent as possible, while still having
all the original MEGA65 components.
We will use the DevKit sale to support our MEGA65 injection moulds
We expect the sale to start (Quote from Facebook comments) in 2020 !
Before i start quoting from Paul's blog i will post here some FAQs, that Deft was so kind to put together already:
Q: What's a DevKit?
A: It's aimed at developers so they can develop software for the machine or even help shaping the final product before it is released.
Q: Why does it look so different?
A: The case is made in a way it can be produced in small batches without the high costs of injection moulds. Its transparency helps finding out if the smoke stays inside the chips.
Q: I am a collector not a developer.
A: The DevKits have laser-engraved Logos and serial numbers to make them unique. DevKits usually are great collector's items.
Q: I only want to play with it!
A: The DevKit is like a "real" MEGA65 only in a preliminary form. You might encounter hickups but you can always (soft-)update it.
Q: I do not like the floppy.
A: The DevKits come as (hence the name) kits which include a refurbished floppy drive. Feel free to leave that out and donate it to us.
Q: What will it cost?
A: DevKits are always more expensive than mass-produced machines, they also get strong support from the makers. It will most probably cost under EUR 1.000 but more than the final machines.
Q: Can you build it for me?
A: It's really easy to build, usually under an hour, maybe two if you are clumsy. If you do not dare to build it yourself please ask around e.g. in Forum64. There are many nice people there!
Q: When can I buy it?
A: We are working towards summer 2020. However, we strongly rely on help by the community so anything can happen!
Q: I am a blessed developer and want to sacrifice all my time but I do not have any money!
A: Please talk to us about support!
Q: You said summer 2020. This means no final machines in 2020?
A: You do the math. It depends on donations and support of the community. We are only humans and not so many, less than 10 active. We do this in our free time with no interest in profit.
Q: What do you need most besides money?
A: Probably VHDL experts but anyone willing to help is warmly welcome!
Q: If I buy a DevKit, can I transfer PCB and keyboard into a MEGA65 case later? Can I even 3D-print my own MEGA65 case?
A: Probably yes!
OK, but now the news:
MEGA65 DevKit prototype assembly
Here are a bunch of pictures of a laser cut acrylic MEGA65 developer kit case with PCB R2 and the MEGA65 keyboard inside (plus a floppy drive). As you can see it is more compact than the original MEGA65 case fitting the floppy drive on the side and above the board. The kit was designed and cut by our partner plexi|laser based on a layout by the MEGA65 assembly team.
The DevKit is an option for people, especially developers, to get a MEGA65 before it is fully finished and be able to carve the machine together with us and to develop software for it before its release. The top shell is bent to give it a more slick look and to avoid hurting those precious developers hands.
As it is the first version of the DevKit case we found a couple of things that we want to improve, such as better and quicker access to the board for accessing in terms of programming/flashing the board and keyboard as well as access to the SD drive slots. The new revised parts are already in the mail so expect an update soon.
The final version of the case will sport an engraved MEGA65 logo and also a prominent DevKit serial number to make it a great collector‘s item as well. This should shorten the dreadful waiting time for the final machine to be available significantly. Other possibilities to shorten this time can be found on MEGA65.org.