Instant Classic

3D Print a Mini Commodore PET with A Working LED Screen

3D Printed PET

With just some parts and a 3D printer, you can build an iconic Mini Commodore PET – with a retro greenish LED dot matrix to display the messages you want.  

In 1977, the Commodore PET was one hell of a computer. The PET 2001 even was the first personal computer ever made available to consumers. The “Personal Electronic Transactor” fitted its professional keyboard, motherboard and a greenscreen monitor in a beige desktop case of epic proportions. All in all, this computer gave your room an instant science-fiction.

The PET series sold well in Canada and the United States – until the Commodore 64 hit the streets in 1982.  35 years later, Adafruit and the Ruiz Brothers released this neat little DIY project to commemorate this iconic computer. This isn’t necessarily useful or an actual computer, it’s just a cool prop (if you’re looking for a PET emulator, please go here.)

It’s not very complicated to build if you have some soldering experience. You can even program the screen to show messages – all with a nice greenish glow.


How To Build this Miniature 3D Printed PET

Like the real thing, the 3D printed PET doesn’t consist of many components. First, you 3D print the case, preferably in beige or white for the case, and a dark brown for the keyboard and screen. You can download all the files from Thingiverse and start printing. Some of the parts will be glued together, others will just snap in place.

The parts list for this project is short. You need a LED matrix (9 x 16), a LED matrix driver, an Arduino Feather MO Basic Proto, a battery, a switch, glue, wires and some screws. You should have some soldering experience, but all in all, it’s a project even beginners can handle.


You’ll find the parts list and detailed instructions at Adafruit.

Of course, you can program the Arduino Feather MO microcontroller to display the messages you want. If you don’t understand or write code, don’t worry: You can upload prewritten code and start experimenting from there.

(Source: Adafruit)