Later he built an 11/70 and replaced the whole front console with a bootstrap terminal (with custom CRT driver if I remember correctly—ie, not off the shelf). That one you just had to hit the "boot" key and it would load the bootstrap code and do everything for you.
I can see this with both powered systems like Symbolics LM or with smaller ones like PDP11, Spectrum, C64 or others: we lack the context in which they existed. We cannot bring them back today and use them as primary systems because we don't have the context that need those machines. They are doomed to be played a little and to be sent back to attic.
Current systems lack the context of the old times and old machines are frozen in a time that is not fit to today's needs.
Not so long ago, my desktop was an IBM PowerPC running AIX with most (if not all) the heavy lifting being done on a laptop (that lacked a 2048x1576 22" CRT screen and a model M keyboard).
With X and an ethernet port, it was a perfectly usable machine, provided I logged on to the "server" on the other desk.
One of the projects I will do one day (no time now, sorry) is a board for Apple II's that would take over the bus and use the text mode and keyboard as the console of a Raspberry Pi-like board. It's perfectly doable to take over the 1 MHz bus and use the compute as Z-80 boards used to.
OK. That's not exactly usable as a work machine (not nearly as usable as the IBM, at least), but it'd be incredibly cool to be able to use a //e Platinum to work. Even if for a short while.
The exercise of traveling back in time is often not as much as to use the machines for actual work, but to experience them as tools to learn about the context where they existed - the time we had manuals printed in paper, where we would debug (and edit) programs on printouts on wide carriage paper with green bars - to (re)learn the lessons others learned before us that we can still benefit from.
The PDP11/03's had a monitor you could use to enter the code from a terminal VT52 or VT55
A couple years back I was looking into MESS code and observing how ordered it is and how much work would it be to do the reverse - starting from known modules (CPUs, CRTCs, etc) to compile it into an HDL.
I knew it was history when I was in Los Alamos at a surplus store in the 90's, and they had one out in the rain in the parking log. Not even worth dragging under cover.
for the PDP-11 here:
Funny thing psychology, I wont pay $1k for a phone, but $400 for a RaspPi case, thinking about it... :)
They're just numbered with integers [0..21, colored in groups of 3 presumably for octal]! are they seriously for bit flipping??
If you know of any other than those three, please post?
I think an IBM 1130 would be totally achievable and fun. A 360/91 might be a little optimistic. You can clearly see the influence on Star Trek original series in something like a 7090; someone who doesn't know retrocomputing would probably accuse a 7090 as being a trek prop.
So far, these are the only three kits I'm aware of.
At VCF-West for the past year or two, the Computer History Museum (in Mountain View, CA) has been showing off a similar project they've been working on with an IBM 1620 Jr front panel. However, that's definitely not something you'd make a kit out of. But, as part of it, they've figured out how to convert a modern'ish electronic typewriter into a teletype.
Not that I need to dive into 11/70 trivia... played around on them when my dad worked in Maynard, had front panel banks as rocket ship controls etc laying around the house. (Good times when your parent is on the bus test group and helping out on weekends :)