Skip to main content
Computer Space Replica - 3D printed full size arcade cabinet.

Computer Space Replica - 3D printed full size arcade cabinet.

Posted by Richard Horne on 9th May 2024

In this post, our commercial director, Richard Horne shows the steps of how to design, 3D print and build a full sized replica of the worlds very first video arcade machine (Computer Space) from 1971.

Computer Space was designed and launched in 1971 by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney, manufactured by Nutting associates.

The original cabinet was moulded from fibreglass and wood and made for Nutting by a hot tub manufacturer. Resin and fiberglass along with glitter were used for many of the run of around 1500 machines.

The game itself was not particularly successful, but it did show Nolan that there was a market for coin operated video games that could be even more popular than pinball...

Their next game was Pong, a classic and one that launched the entire amusement arcade industry and also sparked a surge in cloned systems just to meet with demand.

There were a number of pictures online that showed Pong next to an original Computer Space cabinet, so we were able to use our Pong cabinet to scale many of the dimensions for the model.

Heber have been involved in video amusement machines since the 70's as Marian electronics and Heber right to this day. We also have a 3D print farm so replicating the fiberglass look of the Computer Space cabinet was a straightforward task, but first we needed a model designed so we could 3D print all the parts.

In December 2023, Richard sculpted a replica cabinet shape based on images of the original machines. Scanning a real machine was considered and investigated a year before, but that was not possible at the time.

Two video's below are available showing the process used to sculpt, 3D print, assemble, finish, paint and glitter finish this magnificent cabinet.

Video 1 - The start of the project - Sculpt and 3D print in secret, reveal to the team.

Fast forward to January 2024 and the 3D print farm at Heber was put to work printing just under 100 sections of this machine, 3DGloop was used to bond the parts together and after showing to the rest of the team, the machine was filled, sanded, painted and had a blue glitter-resin coat applied.

Electronics and a replica control panel were made along with a CRT monitor fitted, It's now working and available to see and use at the Arcade Archive Museum in the UK.

Video 2 - Assembling Computer Space, finishing, paining and completing the Arcade.

All of the required files to 3D print your very own Computer Space cabinet are now available over on our Printables account as Multisystem. With these files and a little time and work, you could have a Computer Space too. Have fun!

The finished replica machine is now sited at the Arcade Archive Museum in the UK - If you wish to visit the Arcade, please book a visit here - Welcome to the Retro Collective

We want to give a huge thank you to everyone involved in this project. 

Special thank you to for such an amazing resource of information about the very first Video Arcade machine.

Attention to detail - Some details that visitors may never see, but we did them anyway.

Designed and 3D printed at Heber Ltd. By Richard Horne - @RichRap3D

This 3D model is provided with a Creative Commons Attribution license, you can use this for commercial or private use. You are welcome to remix, share and modify. Please attribute the original design to Heber Ltd. & Richard Horne.

If you want to know more about Computer Space, there is a lovely article all about this machine over on The history of How We Play -> Why Computer Space Was a Success – The History of How We Play (