(Edited to resize and reposition images)
My university has a program called UROP, Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. I had been tossing around the idea of doing one for a couple years and then happened to be in the right place at the right time.
This last semester I decided to take Operating Systems just for fun (I wasn't declared a CS major at this point). I didn't have a couple of the prerequisites for the class, but the professor let me in based on my ambition and desire to learn about operating systems. I emailed him about my desires to do an UROP and things started to fall into place.
He said that another professor had a contact at another university who had a DEC PDP-12 just sitting in an old research lab. He was retiring and hadn't used it since about 1972. DEC only made these for a few years and produced around 700 of them according to Wikipedia and a couple other places. My professor said that they would love to restore it and use it for demonstrations in the department but didn't have somebody with enough hardware knowledge to do it.
Above is what it would've looked like back in the '70s with a Teletype connected to it.
I accepted this project offer in a heartbeat! I had always loved vintage computers but never been able to see one this old, let alone work on it!
We made a trip down to the university to see the computer. We had every intention of loading it into a minivan and driving back with it... That wasn't going to happen.
Anyone familiar with vintage computers know they aren't exactly the lightest... Our PDP-12 weighs in around 800lbs. Once we saw it and tried to move it (it does have some heavy duty casters to roll it on) we decided we better have it shipped. (The picture above was taken after we shipped it)
Now that it is safely in its new home the restoration process has begun. We are actually keeping a blog describing the restoration in more detail https://umdpdp12.blogspot.com/.
Here are some more pictures of this amazing machine.
I'll be posting more in the future about this. I won't be re-writing posts from the blog here, but I will put out quick updates and a more in depth look at the interesting hardware inside this computer.
Thanks for reading!