Even amid the three-quarters of a million residents of Winnipeg, Canada, Rocky Bergen felt alone when it came to his love of vintage computers.
But thanks to his papercraft models of classic machines like the Apple II, Bergen has connected with folks in places as far away as Italy and Sweden.
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Bergen, 42, said views to his website rose into the thousands since this past summer. That’s when he began meticulously re-creating retro computers and making the papercraft projects available for free download.
Apple II papercraft: Fondness and folding
For his first papercraft model, he picked a Commodore 64, the very first home computer he used as a kid. He went on to include Nintendo Gamecubes in four colors, the Amstrad CPC 464 and the Apple II, complete with a screen featuring the classic game Oregon Trail.
“I don’t have the space to have the collection of computers I would want to have, so I wanted to create something that captured the essence of what each device was,” Bergen, a graphic designer for a health supplements company, told Cult of Mac. “My interaction with these computers were life-changing as they were for other people. I’m pleasantly surprised by the feedback. It feels good I have to admit.”
Finding love on paper
Bergen’s love started with drawings on Adobe Illustrator. He exhibited the drawings at an art show and got the feeling people didn’t know what to make of them.
“I wanted to release these to the masses but the pictures themselves were not compelling,” he said. “I’m used to creating in 2D and this is a very analog way to create in a 3D space.”
The models measure about the size of an Apple HomePod. They include as many precise details as he can find, like logos, serial number tags and the number of screws used. He even obsesses over the proper number of slots to ventilate the processor.
The Apple II papercraft download (.pdf) is a pattern with guides for folding. There are interchangeable screens depending on the favorite game of your youth.
“I have often spoken fondly of my time with the Commodore 64, but I also grew up with the Apple II in my school,” Bergen writes on his website. “Growing up, the only game I ever played on the Apple II is Oregon Trail because that was the only game our school had.”
How to make Apple II papercraft
Bergen recommends a thicker paper, like card stock or even photo paper for the computer papercraft projects. He also recommends getting a bone folder to make precise creases in key areas. And you should use white glue to hold the panels together.
He works off pictures he finds on the internet and will sometimes float mockups to online communities for accuracy. On a draft for his Apple II, an observant vintage tech fan noticed some panels did not look quite right.
“The person was very nice about it but he told me I had an Apple IIe, masquerading as an Apple II,” Bergen said.
He is currently working on a pattern for the Apple Lisa and would love to create models for all the Apple computers. He would also like to add pioneering supercomputers — IBM machines from the 1970s and computers from Japan. Bergen plans to make a book of the patterns someday.