Retro electronics are great but you often sacrifice quality for aesthetics. When Instructables and Thingiverse contributor Jesse Demers, aka “piratetv/piratetv1,” set his sights on a Philco Predicta, possibly the coolest television ever made, he discovered the sets were both expensive and hard to find. I checked eBay and found a 1959 Philco Predicta Siesta, one of the lower-end models, with a starting bid of $299. On the other end of the price spectrum, I found a mint condition Predicta — “Barber Pole” style — for $1,250. For the videophile with money to spend, that’s not a lot of cash, but the limitations where quality is concerned are clear and, if you’re a purist, you’re not going to want to upgrade the video.
Given the options, Demers decided to design and 3D print his own updated version of the Philco Predicta. I wonder if he modeled his TV on “The Princess,” “The Holiday,” or “The Debutante”?
After getting his project, which he calls the Philo, underway, he changed the design a few times using TinkerCAD until it suited his aesthetic and was printable based on the parameters of his 3D printer, which has a build volume of up to 8” square.
Probably obviously, there were some major components that Demers couldn’t 3D print. If you’re going to construct this great little TV, you’ll need the following:
- 7″ monitor (Demers used a Tontec Raspberry Pi monitor)
- HDMI audio-to-stereo output
- 4-port HDMI switch
- audio amplifier
- push button on/off switch
- Google Chromecast HDMI streaming media player
- ethernet cable (for an 8-conductor power and keypad cable)
- thin mini-HDMI cable (for video)
The above list doesn’t include hardware, but you’ll find the specific sizes for the bolts you’ll want to use for this project. Demers made the small cabinet from wood and stained it a mahogany color. The fabric he used to cover the front of the cabinet looks like it could be finished with trim — either wood or 3D printed. In fact, we think the cabinet would look great 3D printed (build volume permitting) in a color to match or complement the screen.
Still, the Philo looks pretty great and, of course, the picture is superb, albeit small. Let us know if this type of project appeals to you over at the 3D Printed Philco Predicta TV forum thread at 3DPB.com. Check out a video of the project in action below.