Recycling Scrap Components into Decorative Collectables

Restoring vintage electronics can lead to a lot of waste being produced – failed ICs, failed components, irreparable circuit boards, and irreparable plastic case parts are usually the main offenders. As all of this kit is original and irreplaceable, and to try to do my part for the environment, I try to recycle my electronics waste as much as possible.

For example, I recently recycled a large quantity of unsalvageable Commodore 64 case parts from various restored machines by sending them to The Future Was 8bit (TFW8b), for re-manufacture into their limited edition range of SD2IEC SD card readers.

Some of the unsalvageable Commodore 64 case parts (with damage, modifications, yellowing, etc).

I also spend a lot of time adapting scrap components into decorative collectables – for now this is limited to picture frames, but I plan on expanding into resin items (such as drinks coasters) at some point in the near future.

These make great conversation pieces and gifts, and I’ve already sold several to happy customers – I couldn’t help but keep a selection of the best ones for myself, though!

Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Frames

For my circuit board frames, I take an irreparable circuit board (usually one that has been “repaired” by a previous owner), desolder all of the components from it leaving just the bare board, thoroughly clean it, then mount it inside a high-quality open box frame using thick double-sided foam adhesive tape.

So far I have only made circuit board frames for the Commodore 64 (1980s 8-bit computer), but the principle applies to any circuit board – I’ve got some other scrap motherboards lying around (i.e. ZX Spectrum 48k, Commodore 1541, Commodore VIC-20) that I’d like to experiment with in the near future.

Commodore 64 framed circuit board.

Integrated Circuit (IC) Frames

For my chip frames, I take a selection of non-working ICs (usually pulled from my computer repairs), thoroughly clean them, then mount them inside a high-quality closed box frame using 5mm thick self-adhesive white backing foam.

So far I have primarily made chip frames using ICs from the Commodore 64 (1980s 8-bit computer), but the principle applies to any circuit board – I’m limited by my stock of broken ICs which is determined by the types of systems that I work on.

Some examples of my work are shown below.

Commodore 64 chipset (CPU, VIC-II, SID, PLA, CIAs, RAMs, ROMs).
Commodore VIC selection (MOS 6561-101, MOS 6569R1, MOS 6569R3).
Commodore 64 SID evolution (MOS 6581, MOS 6581R3, MOS 6581R4, MOS 8580R5).
Commodore VIC-20 chipset (CPU, VIC-I, VIAs, ROMs).
Commodore 1541 chipset (CPU, motor controller, VIAs, ROMs, RAM).
Commodore 264-series chipset (CPU, TED).
Commodore 264-series CPU selection (MOS 7501R1, MOS 8501R1).
Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48k chipset (CPU, ULA).
Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48k ULA selection (Ferranti 5C112E-3, 6C001E-6, 6C001E-7).
Acorn Electron chipset (CPU, ULA).

Very pretty indeed!

Published by themightymadman

My name is Adam Wilson - I'm an electronics engineer based in the North East of England, UK, and I like tinkering with old junk. In my spare time, I collect, repair, refurbish, and (sometimes) sell vintage computer systems and peripherals, typically from the 1980s (the likes of Commodore, Sinclair, Acorn, Apple, Amstrad, and Atari).

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