MakerLisp Machine: an eZ80 CPU card running bare-metal Lisp by Luther Johnson

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Slalom Consulting

200 E Randolph St #3700 · Chicago, IL

How to find us

Enter Aon at 200 E. Randolph St. Check-in with security. Take escalators to the upper level lobby. Take bank 22-38 elevators to the 38th floor. Look for the glass doors with the black "_b".

Location image of event venue


The MakerLisp Machine ( is a portable, modular, computer system, designed to recapture the feel of classic computing, with modern hardware.

The machine centers on a 2” x 3.5” CPU "business card", based on a 50 MHz Zilog eZ80, which can be used stand-alone, or plugged in to a 2” x 8” main board, for expansion to a full computer system. A laser-cut wood enclosure holds a small keyboard, an LCD monitor, the circuit boards, and a prototyping area with a breadboard for electronics experimentation and development.

The system software is 'MakerLisp', an open source implementation of a 'bare metal' Lisp, for Maker/DIY projects. MakerLisp has the Scheme evaluation model, Common Lisp-style low-level macros and primitive functions, and C language arithmetic and standard library functions. The system is written in portable C, and just-in-time compiles a tiny core Lisp language to SECD VM instructions. All higher-level forms are provided via Lisp functions and macros.

In this talk, Luther will discuss and demonstrate MakerLisp on the machine, reviewing the language feature and implementation choices that were made in order to support an expressive and extensible dialect of Lisp, with good performance, in a small system.

For videos and a more detailed summary of the machine check out Luther's web site:

Many thanks to Slalom Build for hosting us in the Aon Building! They have 2 floors in Aon. Google lists the 37th, but we'll be on the 38th floor.

Note that building security at Aon needs full names for the security list. If your Meetup username is not your full name, please send me a message or email with your full name and I'll make sure it's on the attendee list.