Introduction: A Nintendo Controller Pillow That Really Works!

 So I was playing mario 1 late at night and i decided that i was tired but i didn't feel like getting up... i looked down at my hands and wished that the controller i was holding was a big pillow i could just sleep on and so when i woke up the next day i started to make one.  I tried to be accurate in making the pillow like dimensions and spacing and all that, i am no sewing expert so the ones you make will probably come out better than mine. (in fact this is the first project i have ever sewed using a machine).  Anyways good luck and happy building!

Step 1: First Things First Getting the Supplies

Here are some things you'll need:

An old nintendo controller (that still works)

A spool of wire, or at least 6-8ft of wire, i used fairly thick stuff but thin stuff will work also

12 springs (i dont know what compression values mine are because i used some old ones from around the house, you dont want them to be very stiff at all my suggestion is buy 2 make 1 button test it and then judge from there.  The springs want to be compressed easily so keep that in mind or else you'll have trouble pushing down buttons later)

Fabric
Red Fabric: 1 yard

Black Fabric: 1 yard

Grey Fabric: 2 yards 
(note: you could probably get by with waay less fabric i bought alot of extra just because i knew i would screw something up if you know what you are doing i'll give the dimensions of the pillow and you can judge for yourself how much extra you want to but)

Pillow stuffing!

Acrylic or plastic sheet approximately 2ft x 2ft ( i say this much because of the cracking risk and for mess ups!)
or if you dont want to use either of those materials some thin aluminum or something else that is stiff  and light will do just fine... we will use this for the buttons to give them some strength.


Cardboard sheets probably just one sheet that is 1ftx1ft would be fine if you have a shoe box or something like that you probably have enough also, we will use these to cover the hard acrylic or plastic so that it gives it a little cushion.   You could also use foam or sponges or anything really i like the cardboard personally.

copper plate or some other conductive pad.  ( aluminum foil would probably work but you wanna use the heavy duty stuff)

You will also need 12 bolts  (really any decently thick size will work i think i used 1/4 in )
and 12 nuts.

8 small screws (these i dug out of my "Small Screw" drawer... really anything metal or that conducts electricity will work)

lastly black thread ( you can use black,grey, and red if you want i just used black for everything)


Tools you will need for the build:

A sewing Machine (you can sew it by hand if you want it will just take longer)

Scissors 

Box cutter/razor blade cutter thingy

hot glue gun/glue

Soldering Iron/solder

Wire strippers

Small Screw driver (phillips)

A drimmel (or some kind of tool to cut your plastic or aluminum or whatever material you choose for your buttons)

Sand Paper fine grit

and a Sharpie 

Paper doesn't hurt to keep around for making templates but its your call


Step 2: We'll Start by Disassembling the Controller

 The controller has six screws on the back that you will need to take out with your little screw driver.
After you open the case you will want to remove the circuit board.  We are not going to use the case so you can put that in a safe spot for future projects.  This is what the board should look like its fairly simple:

After you have it out and finish admiring it you will want to locate these points:

Step 3: Soldering to the Board

After you have successfully located those points its time to solder!
What i did was make really really long wires then soldered them to the points after that i labeled each wire with what button it corresponded to that way it wouldn't be too tricky later to figure what goes where. 
These points are fairly easy to solder to they aren't as tricky as the tiny spots like on the new xbox controllers or something like that... but it is important to keep in mind that heat and lack of carefulness can damage your controller.  Also remember that you can be damaged by it too so be CAREFUL and please do this in a well ventilated area.
Now each one of the buttons we will be making in the future will need to have a ground side to it for it to work... i labeled two different grounds on the previous pictures i attached wires to these grounds so we can use them later on instead of having to solder 8 buttons to little points we will solder them to the wires instead .... Also after you tested to make sure that you controller works its a good idea to hot glue the places you soldered, this will help provide strength so when u are fiddling around it wont be so easy to break off wires.

Step 4: Test Your Controller

Like i said test before you hot glue down if you wait till after and made a mistake its a pain to try and desolder when there is hot glue everywhere.  Basically to test the controller i just plugged it in to my Nintendo like normal and then found each button and touched the button wire to the ground wire.  If your character moves/jumps or your system pauses/selects you are in good shape and ready to move on to the hard stuff ( well hard for me but i am not an expert seamster)  Also sorry bout the poor quality of sound and the high pitched ringing ... i was using the mic built into my macbook and it has those problems next time i'll use my lapel mic sorry again...

Step 5: Lets Start Building the Buttons

 I will just show the making of one of the buttons the others are the same just a different shape (square not circle)
First things first I found a toy speaker that was the right size for what i wanted my button to be which is about:   2 1/2 in.    
you dont have to be real specific on these things because its a pillow you want it to have a fluffy cartoonish look.
I traced the speaker onto my piece of plastic, you'll need 4 of these circles so space them out accordingly on your sheet, these wil be your "A" and "B" buttons.  

You will also need to cut out :
8 rectangles approx: 2in x 21/2 in  ,these will be your directional pad
and 4 rectangles approx: 1 1/4x3in    , these will be your start/select buttons

Step 6: Time to Cut

Alright depending on what material you chose for your buttons depends on the next step ... but basically you want to cut these all out .  The plastic i used had a really high "oh poop this might crack" factor, so what i did was i cut out the rough shape with a drimmel and sort of cleaned up the sides as best i could with drimmel then just sanded down the edges to make them more round.  If you are going to do this be sure to do it in a well ventilated area and also over a trashcan or something pieces of plastic are very hard to clean up out of carpet and such lol.  Also these shapes dont have to be Perfect just the rough shape will work, we will cut cardboard later and that will be the real shape so just something thats close that can give some good support.    After they are cut out you'll want to draw an X across them to sort of gauge where the center is ... again it doesn't have to be perfect just close where the X meets drill or carve a hole.

Step 7: More Holes to Drill

There are going to be two pieces to each button so you'll have a top pad and bottom pad for 1 button.  You'll want to take the two pieces and put them together.  Then on either side of the disk drill one hole through both pieces ( that way they line up nice).  I used a 

Step 8: Add the Supports and Springs

 After you get the holes drilled slide a bolt through each hole
then screw a nut down all the way so that it holds the pad to the top of the bolt.
then slide a spring onto each of the bolts
after that slide the other pad onto the bolt.
then screw on the nuts so that they hold the pad on, you may want to go ahead and screw the nuts down enough so that they compress the springs a tiny bit, not much though.
after you have everything situated you can hot glue or even solder ( i recommend hot glue though just incase you have to replace springs later) the nuts so they wont be tempted to move and also the tops of the bolts just add some padding from the metal.

how these work
heres a brief description of whats going on here:
when u press down on the top pad it compresses the springs there is going to be a support for the bottom pad once it is in the pillow, so the bottom pad will not move but the top will push the bolts down and that will cause it to come in contact with copper plate that will be put on next.  if that isn't clear or i can't explain it well then i have a video showing it working and as you read on im sure it will come together

Step 9: Add the Pad and the Center Screw, Then Attach Some Wires.

 unfortunately i dont have any pictures of this step i must have gotten in a hurry, but basically what is going to happen is that you are going to have a hole in the top of the button(where the bolt heads are) drill the hole in the center (if you didn't do that in the previous step) drill hole slightly smaller than the screw you are going to use.  
This screw does not have to be big or long i just used some scrap small screws i had laying around.  After you drill screw the screw into the hole (do this slowly or you might crack the plastic)
once the screw is into the hole Solder on a wire ( make it long just for now we can trim it later)  After you have that done.  
Glue a metal pad(i used copper you can use aluminum foil or something else conductive you just want a wide surface for the screw to touch) to the top side of the bottom pad, This will be the ground contact.
 After you have it glued on then solder a wire to that pad also...

hopefully this video will illustrate it better than my words (if not im sorry you'll just have to wait till i make another one)
Once its attached hot glue over the wires connections so that they have some extra support.( u may want to solder the pad to the wire then glue it on... hot glue doesnt like it when u solder ontop of it... it gets all soggy and slidy)

Step 10: Repeat

 This is probably one of the more time consuming parts of the build after you do another circular one you will also have to do 2 rectangles and 4 squares.

The rectangles are nearly the same just do the holes for the big bolts somewhere near the ends and the screw and the pad still go in the middle nothing new there.

The D-pad buttons will be different i apologize again for not having a picture, i did this project without instructables in mind ( i know its blasphemy ) but i will illustrate using highly advanced paint tools on how the d-pad buttons should go.

Basically you are going to do the same thing as the other buttons only you wont use 2 bolts per pad you just use one bolt on the end and make a wedge shape out of it... where you dont have a bolt that end will be taped so the bottom and the top pads are connected as far as the screws go and pads thats an experimental spot just whatever seems to make the best contact between the tape and the bolt .... because each one of your pads will probably be a little different the position will change so heres what they should look like:

Step 11: CARDBOARD = ]

for this step we are just going to cut out some cardboard pieces to give the buttons and such some padding.  You will want to cut out cardboard to be slightly smaller than the fabric you cut for the tops of all your buttons.  So cut out two rectangles, two circles, and four squares all slightly smaller than your fabric button tops.  Basically all this does is add padding ontop of the hard plastic and screw heads. 

You will also need a larger cardboard cutout that is slightly smaller than the top piece of fabric for your entire controller... so cut one of those too.

Step 12: Time for the Fabric

 alright set the controller and the buttons and all that junk off to the side .... its time for the fabric cutting part... expect more awesome Paint pictures for the layout of this also i will show Real life photos but i think the paint pictures might give a better idea of everything you'll need.

you are going to cut out:
four sides and the top and bottom of the controller in grey
a smaller black square for the top of the controller and also some black rectangles and squares for the start/select and directional buttons.
for the red you will just need some cylinders and circles for the A and B buttons.
we'll start with the easiest the grey.

Step 13: Grey Stuff

So here are your 6 large grey shapes.

Top and Bottom will be the same size
then you have 2 "long" sides
you also have 2 "short"
lastly you have 4 grey slivers to cut out




now throw all that crap aside and move on the the black fabric = ]

Step 14: Black Stuff

For the black part its simple, you just cut out a black rectangle:
after you cut out the rectangle you will need to cut two squares into the fabric the way i did it was that i just poked a hole in the fabric and stuck my scissors in and cut a slit up to the top edge of the square and then finished cutting out the square. 
and you will want to have them    inches from the top and    inches from the right side   there will also be a    inch gap between the two squares.

now that you have that done you'll want to cut out the black covers for the buttons.

start and select buttons first

You'll need 2 tops :
4 long sides   ( you may want to cut a little longer because you'll want more fabric on the bottom so you can tuck the fabric under itself to give it a more seamless look )
4 short sides  (again leave a little extra along the bottom for tucking)

Now onto the Directional Pad 

you'll need  a top and then you will need 4 squares for the "front side" or side facing you when you hold the controller.
The sides of the directional pads are a little ify for my construction lol they are basically just BIGGER squares and sewing the joints and such we'll talk about in a bit.
 

Step 15: Red Stuff

For the red we are going to cut a couple of circles
then for the sides of the buttons we will make some cylinders and just glue them to the top = ] as far as the cylinder construction you may be better off just wrapping them around your button and seeing what sizes look good and going from there ... good thing about felt is that it stretches a little bit so if you are a wee bit short you can make it work.

next we will cut out the letters .... heres the thing about the letters lol i can't free hand anything and so i got online and found some "nintendo letters" that were the right size for the nintendo logo and i printed them out and made a quick stencil then transferred that to the red cloth and cut them out.  As far as start/ select and A and B labels i just left them off because i couldn't find the right size/style online to trace so if anyone has ne ideas just post it in the comment.
 

Step 16: Starting to Put It All Together...

phew i think thats all the items you will need to put together your very own nintendo pillow good luck and let me know how it goes.....






jk
we'll start with sewing up the main controller body (the big grey pieces)
the way i did it (which is probably not the best way, so im open to suggestions) but i took the bottom piece and then a short side and sewed those together
then i flipped it around and sewed on the other short side
i then took one of the long sides and sewed it to the bottom piece
flipped it around and did the same thing.
then i sewed the small side to the long side along all the corners until i had a box without the top.
before you sew on the top you are going to want to do some assembly to it.

Step 17: Face Lifting

Before putting the top of the controller on you are going to want to assemble the "face" of the controller.  First you need to cut a "stiff" cardboard, foam board, plastic, whatever sheet to the back side of the top.  This needs to be roughly the same size as the fabric itself not the exact same because you want edges to sew to.  I used cardboad because it added a stiff back but was still "soft" for the pillow feel.  once you have it glued to the backside of your fabric you'll want to place the black "face plate" on your grey top i just hot glued mine down once i had it in the right spot.  For this you can either just eye it or use my measurements whatever way will probably work out. 
  Next place your buttons on the fabric and mark where their "post" touch.  Also mark a smaller spot for your ground wire from the copper plate to run and also another small hole for your top wire to run.    Now after you mark them all drill out or cut out with an exacto knife/utility knife so that when you put the buttons back in place they slide down and rest on cardboard.  I would push down on the buttons and make sure they still work, and what is happening if it isn't already apparent is that when u push down the post poke down into the pillow and allow for the two contacts to touch.  After you make sure everything works you can hotglue the bottom pad to the cardboard i'd do this lightly incase you need to make repairs later.  After they are secured test again to make sure everything is working mechanically.  Next flip over the face so you are looking at the cardboard underside.  Take your Nintendo Controller pcb and glue it around the edges to the cardboard.  Next take each of your wires and match them to the wires coming off the pcb board.  For ground you can do a couple things I took the two ground wires from the pcb and just soldered all of ground wires to those two.  You could also hotglue a copper plate to the backside of the cardboard and then solder every groung connection to that anyway you look at it you have to ground every button and match every button wire to the pcb button wires.
 I am sure there are easier ways to make buttons and im sure someone in the comments can do it but this is how i did it and they seem pretty robust so i kept them. 

After you have all 8 buttons in place its now time to put some fabric on.

Step 18: Clothing Your Naked Buttons

I started with the circular buttons because they were easy then i just made my way left.  Take your cylinders of cloth you made earlier and slide them around each button slide a small lip of fabric over the top of the button and hotglue it down.  Next take your red circle cut outs and hotglue them to the top of the buttons.  It looks better if you can cover up the lips you created earlier but dont allow the circles to hang over the edge and BOOM you are down with your first button!  Looking good eh? 

Next is the start/select buttons you are going to make a square just like you did for the body of the controller.  By sewing both short sides then long sides and then making them into corners to where it looks like a box without a top (i am sure there is a name for that shape but i dont know it!)
after you get your lidless boxes made just put some hotglue on the top of button and slide them down over it.  They should hang like a skirt over the buttons you can kind of tuck them under the bottom if you have enough material but mine look fine just as skirts you really can't tell the difference.

Lastly is the biggest pain the directional pad......oh boy.....
again there is prolly an easier method to this but this is how i figured it out.
firstly i had the buttons in place then measured from button to button horizontally then vertically after that i made a cross or a t shape using my mesurements, the width of the each leg or point of the cross shape is slightly larger than that of the buttons themseleves.  after i had the cross to where it would fit over buttons i then had to make it 3-d or skirt it too.  Similarly to the way we did the start/select buttons.    Basically just start sewing on lengths of fabric that are slightly greater than the height of the button to the base this will give you a 3-d looking cross that will fit over the button and the skirt will hide the ugly mechanics. ... and i do mean ugly...
For the D-pad  i just put a small amount of glue on  the tops of the buttons before i slipped the fabric over it ... it gives it enough sticking power to where it doesn't shift but if you need to add mroe or want to glue the bottoms of the fabirc you can.

now sit back and look at all your pretty buttons.

Step 19: Dressing It Up a Bit.

now that you have your buttons done you are going to want to add some of the finishing touches.

You'll take those three grey pieces you cut earlier and then place them at the top of the controller mine were placed with a 3/4 in gap between the pieces

Next you will take your red lettering you cut out from your template and put it in its right spot thats it the face is done .... hows it looking?  not too shabby good move on .. shabby.. then im sorry start over lol.(or just fix whatever is wrong either way)

Step 20: This Aint Mardi Gras

NOTE: be sure and leave a little gap in the back of the controller for your cable to run out of i actually found a good spot on the back and then hotglued the cable inplace then sewed up to it and then skipped over it and continued sewing. 

Its time to put your top on, take the bottom of the controller which u sewed earlier and your new "face" lid thingy you just made and put the edges together and sew up 3 of the four sides... the last side keep open for now....

Go grab your stuffing i used some pillow stuffing material i got at walmart in a giant bag i used 2 bags i believe but depending the size of your bags and whatnot you may use more or less.... either way gauge what you think and then if its too little you can add more before finally sewing it up. 

After stuffing and making sure it feels right (fluffy wise) then its time to sew up the final side you can do this on a machine i did this last side by hand because i was watching a show while i did it and didn't feel like going and getting on the machine.    And that is it you are done! 
wasn't that exciting!!!! now go play till you are sleepy then... go to sleep!

Step 21: Have Fun by Your Self or With a Friend!

Heres one of the first test videos i shot... sorry im down in the basement and i didn't have tooooooo much light but you can here my button smashing and see the screen so thats good. 



The second video is how it should really be played two ppl because its hard to manage with one plus its more fun!  Heres my wife and I rocking up mario 1

Comments

author
yellowcouch (author)2011-05-05

no worries if you got a soldering iron and some wire u can do this its easy! Go for it! and post pics when its done i'd love to see em

author
MrMistermister (author)2011-05-01

This is awesome!!! I hope I can make it..I'm not the biggest electronic whiz :)

author
yellowcouch (author)2011-03-24

if anyone has any suggestions on making this better then plz feel free to say !
= ]

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