This 3D-Printed Simpsons TV Isn't Just for Show — It Plays the Entire First 11 Seasons, Too

Powered by a Raspberry Pi Zero, this compact TV plays back Simpsons episodes whenever power is applied — and the buttons even work.

Gareth Halfacree
2 years ago3D Printing / Displays

UPDATE 2021-08-31:

Brandon Withrow has now published a build guide for his 3D-printed replica of the TV from the Simpsons' living room, complete with a full parts list and a link to download the STL files for printing at home or using an on-demand printing service.

You can read the full guide and download the STL files on Withrow's website.

Original article continues below.

Maker Brandon Withrow has 3D-printed a replica of the TV seen in the Simpsons' living room — and, thanks to a Raspberry Pi Zero hidden away inside, it even works.

"I designed and printed a working Simpsons TV. [It] plays the first 11 seasons at random. Inside [the TV] is a Raspberry Pi Zero with a 32gb SD card," Withrow explains. "The Pi is connected to a 640x480 TFT display. The Pi is running [Raspberry Pi OS] Jessie Lite. The episodes were all compressed specifically for the screen and loaded onto the SD card."

"When the Pi is powered up, through the USB port on the back of the TV, it starts playing episodes at random. When on episode ends the next is randomly selected. The top button is wired up to GPIO and turns the screen on and off while also muting the volume. The bottom is a [potentiometer] that is connected to the speaker inside."

This 3D-printed TV is fully-functional — as long as all you want to do is watch golden-era Simpsons. (📹: buba447)

The system is entirely autonomous: When power is applied, the Raspberry Pi Zero boots and begins playback. Episodes play continuously: While the TV's top button turns the display on and off, it doesn't pause playback — meaning time passes even with the TV switched off, just as it would when the episodes were originally broadcast.

Withrow already has some ideas for upgrades, saying there's "plenty of space" inside to add a battery and charging circuitry so the TV can operate without a USB cable attached. The maker has also promised to publish a build guide at some point in the future, and jokes that if Disney — the current owner of the Simpsons intellectual property rights — sees the thread, they should offer a research and development job.

More details are available on the project's Reddit thread.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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