Earlier this week, a 3D-printed Nintendo Switch popped up during an online stream. It was fake, yet it looked real enough that many were convinced of its authenticity.
Internet discussion centred on whether it was a real early model (nope), whether it was a leaked dummy unit from Nintendo’s official reveal trailer (very unlikely), or just a well-made 3D-printed design.
Predictably, NeoGAF lost its mind trying to work it out.
For the YouTuber streamer who flashed the unit on screen, Brooklyn-based Etika, it was a very successful publicity stunt either way. What’s more impressive, however, is the painstaking process of making the unit.
This was undertaken by Frank Sandqvist, who you may remember for crafting the 3D-printed oval NX design back in March this year.
To recreate the Nintendo Switch design, Sandqvist used multiple 3D-printed pieces for the main Switch unit and dock, JoyCon grip and controllers, as well as perspex for its screen.
The pieces were laser-cut, polished and glued into place to create something which looks close to the official article.
I remember seeing the unit on Monday night and being impressed – although more skeptical than anything else. Split-second flashes of the device on a grainy camera do not usually lend something credibility.
A subsequent static photo was less impressive – the colour of the ring surrounding the Home button is incorrect, and the controller’s ABXY buttons are the wrong font. That’s right, font fans. Nintendo uses Avenir Medium. The 3D-printed controller uses something akin to Arial Black.
Never mind the fact there was nowhere else this model could have originated but a 3D printer. (Eurogamer was told that all units used by Nintendo during its recent reveal trailer were made to the standard of the system’s final model.)
Still, as fakes go, the workmanship put into this remains worthy of note.
It’s also a reminder of the tools now available to create 3D-printed mock-ups – and that you shouldn’t believe everything you see on the internet, unless it comes from a trusted source.
Speaking of which, we’ll have a new Nintendo Switch report on Eurogamer tomorrow.