CNC Design’s Nintendo Switch replica is nearly identical to the real thing

Kevin Parrish
Digital Trends

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Nintendo shook up the console market when it launched the original Wii console. It introduced motion control to the gaming masses, and made most fans forget about its less-than-stellar predecessor, the GameCube. Nintendo tried to build on that innovation with the Wii U, but that didn’t really pan out. Now Nintendo is playing its innovative card again with the Switch hybrid, which fuses the handheld and living room markets into one unique solution.

Nintendo officially revealed the long-rumored “NX” console last month, with the system expected to land in the United States in March of 2017. However, Frank Sandqvist of CNC Design apparently couldn’t wait, and decided to create an exact replica using a combination of 3D printing, UV printing, laser cutting, sanding, spray painting, and a bunch of gluing. The end result is quite astonishing.

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Most of the design work was done in Autodesk’s Fusion 360 software, which crams computer-aided design (CAD), computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), and computer-aided engineering (CAE) into a single software solution. He also used the CorelDRAW graphics design suite for part of the original vector-based layout to be used for cutting the physical components.

“We had to do quite a bit of guesswork on the back, but the front was pretty easy because we had the video and images released by Nintendo to go by,” he said. “But the back is pretty much up to guesswork, especially with the triggers. But I think we got them pretty good. We also did the grip, which I think we got pretty close to the original.”

Once the CAD work was done, all the parts were generated through 3D printing. The team sanded after pulling the printed supports off the main pieces, and then ran them through a UV printer to create a smooth, black surface. After that, the inner screen and outer screen were laser cut from a 2mm-thick sheet of clear acrylic, and then placed in the main 3D-printed body. Two layers of acrylic were used to create the illusion of a real screen.

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As seen in the video above, Sandqvist shows how the screen-based portion was put together, how the labels were printed and attached, how the grip was cleaned after its resin bath, the polishing of the rails, printing the matte finish save for the Nintendo Switch logo, and so on. The attention to detail is amazing, right down to the polished trigger buttons and analog nubs.

In the end, CNC Design created an extremely detailed replica of the upcoming Nintendo Switch hybrid gaming console based on mere videos and images instead of using actual CAD-based hardware diagrams from Nintendo. Of course, it doesn’t actually work given that it doesn’t consist of any electronics.

Ultimately, the fake console was used by YouTuber Etika of the Etika World Network several days ago in a video that went viral, who indicated that it was the real deal from Nintendo as a pre-release review unit. However, keen Reddit eyeballs quickly shot that down, showing that Sandqvist’s remake isn’t exactly a perfect replica after all.