Paper models of older computers
June 8, 2020 3:21 AM   Subscribe

"Construct the computer from your childhood or build an entire computer museum at home with these paper models, free to download and share." via Ian Visits.
posted by paduasoy (27 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
How did I never know until now that the original IBM PC was the model 5150... like Van Halen?
posted by smcameron at 3:24 AM on June 8

Atari 8-bit snubbed again.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:25 AM on June 8 [4 favorites]

I was hoping there would be a papercraft Cray in there.
posted by phooky at 4:47 AM on June 8 [4 favorites]

No 360/30 either. Not exactly my childhood, but maybe my youth.
The Cray one sounds more to my liking, but the calendar won't be good again until 2030.
posted by MtDewd at 6:25 AM on June 8

So, people grew up with a Cray or 360/30 in the house?
posted by scruss at 6:31 AM on June 8

No IBM 1620, no IBM 1401, both of which were my exposure to computers in college in the early 1970s. Both would have been cool...

Still, nice collection of detailed models.
posted by blob at 6:31 AM on June 8

The TRS80 Model 3 was as close as this gets to the first computer I learned on. I had to look up when the Model 1 came out. 1977 (!) yikes. It still surprises me that in the almost 20 year gap between that first school computer and the next I seriously encountered in the mid-90’s, that first brush with BASIC and general configuration lead to an almost intuitive understanding and a real leg up in usability.
posted by Conrad-Casserole at 6:34 AM on June 8

Grew up with a Cray in the house? The Cray was the house.

the roof was leaky as hell and electrocution was a constant threat, but at least we were always warm
posted by phooky at 6:41 AM on June 8 [4 favorites]

The birth of new technologies is always an exciting time for industrial design. So many different shapes! So many different peripherals! Every keyboard is different! While standardization and commodification lead to lower prices and wider adoption, it definitely lets the wind out of the design sails.
posted by grumpybear69 at 6:51 AM on June 8

Apple had a Cray 1 early on, used for design purposes such as flow modelling for the plastics used in cases. It used 115kw of power.
If you signed up for an account on the Cray, you received a t-shirt which said "My Other Computer is a Cray". The back had a stylized picture of a Cray-1 with a Macintosh mouse dangling from it, similar to the Susan Kare inspired Macintosh bicycle drawing. (I can't find a picture of the back of the t-shirt.)
posted by blob at 7:08 AM on June 8 [1 favorite]

Blob, the back of the shirt is the second photo in the assets section in your CHM link.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:29 AM on June 8

I love that the models (at least some of them) have swappable screens with different games or other apps shown. It screams out for some stop-motion videos of people the playing of games. If only I had the time and energy.....

Also these would make great props to rob the Computer History museum with and see how long anyone takes to notice
posted by inflatablekiwi at 7:33 AM on June 8 [1 favorite]

The Cray was the house.

Luxury! We had to live under the raised floor. We made our living gathering dropped bits to sell at the flea market.
posted by suetanvil at 7:53 AM on June 8 [4 favorites]

No Intellivision, either.
posted by emelenjr at 7:58 AM on June 8

posted by The otter lady at 8:08 AM on June 8 [2 favorites]

That boom box is totally wild. It has a burglar alarm! I wonder if that's what inspired that Look Around You joke.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 8:18 AM on June 8


That was my first one as well. I wish I still had it to play around with.
posted by InnacurateFame at 8:27 AM on June 8

Would love a paper version of my old TRS-80 Model 100. 4 pound laptop with a dream keyboard that ran off 4 AA batteries.
posted by Stig at 8:34 AM on June 8 [1 favorite]

The Apple Cray system was installed in a temple. You want down a long hallway with electric torches on the walls before you entered the temple. The lighting was subdued. The Cray was purple. Getting to sit on the Cray was a source of healing. They would take your picture as a memento.
posted by njohnson23 at 8:52 AM on June 8

Wonder if that Vic 20 cassette drive will load games more reliably than the real one I had?
posted by klausman at 11:07 AM on June 8

Loving these 80s computers, the Commodore 64, the TRS-80, the Nintendo GameCube...
posted by straight at 11:09 AM on June 8

When Apple announced they were using a Cray for design work, Cray said "That's funny, I use Apple for designing Crays"
posted by bifurcated at 12:13 PM on June 8

There’s no NeXTcube! Then again I bet I could whip up a black cube even with my crummy papercraft handiwork.
posted by Monochrome at 4:15 PM on June 8

The website is updated several times a month, guys, so your favourite old computer might still appear.
posted by Harald74 at 11:32 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]

I remember seeing this at work in the before times (March) and tried to make a c64; unfortunately all I had was thin paper, big scissors, tape, and my clumsy hands.

That it looked recognizable is a testament to the designer. The fact that I shamedly crushed it an hour later is a testament to my craft skills.
posted by Marticus at 4:29 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]

TI 99-4a or GTFO.
posted by Tuba Toothpaste at 9:41 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]

The IBM 360's were also mostly caps-lock. (Unless your 1403 had an SN train)
Computers had to shout back then because of all the air-conditioning noise.
posted by MtDewd at 8:35 AM on June 12

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