Connor Krukosky's lifelong hobby was collecting and refurbishing superannuated computing equipment, which is surprisingly cheap provided you have a lot of space — Krukosky scored things like keypunch machines for a mere $7 (though he had to drive 1,000 miles roundtrip to get it home).
In 2016, Krukosky, then 18, bought a 1,500lb IBM z890 mainframe from a university and brought it home (it took two trips, one with a trailer), and then got it into his basement (with help from his dad, who used a rototiller to excavate a larger basement entrance!).
In this incredibly charming and engaging talk from Share 2016, Krukosky explains the challenges he faced in getting the mainframe up and running (including things like expired software licenses!) and finished up by ssh'ing into the mainframe live from the stage.
This is great, makerspiration stuff: a scrappy kid using old documents scanned and posted as PDFs to resurrect a titan from a lost, heroic age. The original cost for the machine, 10 years before, was $350,000. He spent a total of $350 buying and refurbishing it.
(via Memex 1.1)