3D Printing Is Changing The Way We Think About Retro Video Game Preservation

Just a few years ago, if you told me we would be able to 3D print replacement shells for rare consoles or even broken components, like a cracked gear for a PlayStation CD assembly, I would have never believed you.  But here we are today doing just that.

You see, for popular consoles like the Game Boy, finding quality/affordable aftermarket replacement shells and parts is a breeze.  There are just tons of options out there. But what about rare systems like the Turbo express or Sega Nomad? These were made in such small quantities that it’s not feasible to produce high quality injection molded shells replacements because the market for these is just too small.  Well, that’s where 3D printing steps in, revolutionizing the retro modding scene.

Thanks to additive manufacturing (3D Printing), we can now print custom shells, CD assembly gears, and more. However, the 3D models required to actually print the parts don’t just materialize out of thin air.  It requires a ton of time and effort to painstakingly make these into 3D printable files that we can simply download and churn out on our printers.

Wesk and Dennis (Pointer Function) are two such individuals who tirelessly create and share these 3D models (for FREE), preserving these consoles for future generations.


Take my Sega Nomad, for example (which I showcase in my video linked above). It had a battered shell, and seemed beyond repair. But with Wesk’s 3D-printed replacement, it’s pretty much like new again (honestly it looks better than new).

And it’s not just about fixing consoles. 3D printing opens doors for unique customization, like transparent shells that showcase internal circuitry.

Now it’s not just Wesk and Dennis who are making 3D models and contributing to the community.  There are countless other individuals that are doing incredible things previous not thought to be possible, like DVIZIX, who created a near perfect recreation of the Sega Neptune shell which was a console that was never released.  Or Todd of Retro Frog and Laser Bear Industries whom make unique adaptors and other really cool mods that bring added functionality to our retro consoles.

As we look to the future, the possibilities with 3D printing are endless. So, let’s raise a controller to these pioneers, shaping the retro gaming landscape one print at a time.

If you’d like to support either Wesk or Dennis and their mission to make 3D models for replacement parts that support all retro video game consoles, you can do so at the links below:


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