AM Investment Strategies
AMS Spring 2023

3D Printed Simpsons and Futurama Mini TVs Made for Mini-Bingeing

Formnext

Share this Article

Combining Homer’s addiction to television with Professor Farnsworth’s love for outlandish gadgetry, ingenious fans are taking love for Matt Groening’s content to the next level – and well into the twenty-first century – by 3D printing their own custom shells for Raspberry Pi-powered self-binging Simpsons and Futurama television sets. Not only that, but the custom-printed sets also play eleven seasons each of the iconic cartoons.

Each set posted/printed by the users on Reddit (buba447 for the Simpsons TV; Remoheadder for the Futurama) also cleverly pays reverence to the series played by the respective TVs in ways that only the truest fans could properly appreciate: the Futurama TV looks just like the Farnsworth-created What-If Machine, while the Simpsons one looks just like the Simpson family television, itself. This is like Marshall McLuhan’s “the medium is the message” taken in the most literal way imaginable.

Both sets work by compressing such a large quantity of television content deliberately to be played on the miniature screens, the Simpsons playing the episodes on a Pi Zero (pictured below, right)  and the Futurama on the Pi 3 (below left). Each of the creators took his own individual approach to supplementing the two different versions of the Pi with audio capabilities.

But the real uniqueness weaving all the parts together here clearly resides in the endearingly campy custom 3D shells, without which the machinery would be a charmless mechanical skeleton like the robot from Short Circuit, rather than warm and attractive like the robots in Westworld. Both of the fan/creators hit their particular nails on the head with their homages, as well as making objects that could actually have the potential to be highly useful in entertainment value. buba447 (real name Brandon Withrow) even magnanimously released free DIY build instructions, explaining to anyone who has an Ender 3 Pro how, in a total of only about 10 hours, and using 3 different colors of Inland PLA+ filament, they can print their very own Simpsons TV shell. 

One of the reasons this works so well in the case of these particular shows is simply the fact of the sheer mass of content both represent. Eleven seasons at 18-20 episodes a pop is around 6-7 hours of television, which would be perfect on a long trip, or simply to break out whenever you need some hilarious background noise for awhile. In the case of the Simpsons specifically, that represents not even a third of the show’s total output, which means it would presumably make sense to mass-produce this kind of product without ever having to worry about it making any dent in the profitability of the streaming rights to the institution in American television.

To make a long story short, one could easily see the owners and licensors of the content mining Reddit for novel, mass-producible concepts. I know the craft-inept amongst our citizenry such as myself can’t wait to buy our mini-Simpsons TV’s at our local Disney store or Disney-section of a Target. (One is reminded of the craze for printing your own Pi-powered Nintendo systems, and the mini NES’s that hit the market not too long after.) By the time that ever happens, of course, the inventive minds characteristic of the enthusiasts in the 3D printing community will have already come up with something even more interesting.

Share this Article


Recent News

3D Printing News Unpeeled: Boeing, Bauer, DBSchenker, Glidewell and Twikit

Velo3D and Plasmos to Discuss Space 3D Printing Industry in October Webinar



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

3D Printing Webinar and Event Roundup: September 25, 2022

We’ve got a busy week of 3D printing webinars and events ahead! Nanoscribe is attending the Biofabrication Conference, Stratasys, Velo3D, and Markforged continue their tours, and Formlabs will hold a...

Featured

3D Printing Thought Leaders Gather for Free Online Event, AM Investment Strategies 2022

After its inaugural launch last year, AM Investment Strategies is back for its second year. The free virtual event, hosted by SmarTech Analysis and Stifel, will take place online November...

3D Printing Webinar and Event Roundup: September 18, 2022

In this week’s roundup of webinars and events in the 3D printing industry, Stratasys and Markforged continue their tours, and ASTM International’s CoE is holding a snapshot workshop. HP will...

3D Printing News Unpeeled: Matterhackers Works with the Navy, Wood and 3D Printing Used for Home

The US Navy will work with MatterHackers to evaluate open source and desktop 3D Printers for use in the Navy and Marines, Leslie Lok and Sasa Zivkovic of Cornell and...