Introduction: Nintendo Lunchbox

Picture of Nintendo Lunchbox

I had a broken NES, a rotary tool, two small hinges, some glue and Alpha Flight's Sasquatch. What I ended up with was a lunchbox that gets all kinds of funny looks.

This is my first project, and kinda sloppy. I only had about two hours to do the whole thing. I'm sure I'll improve it over time (add a latch and file down the rough edges some more) but for now, it holds my lunch admirably.

Step 1: Remove the Guts

Picture of Remove the Guts

Opening the NES case and pulling out it's guts is pretty easy. Take out all the screws you can find and lift the parts out gently one at a time. The wires can be unplugged from the motherboard pretty easily. I had to use pliers to get a decent grip on them though.

Step 2: Remove the Wires

Picture of Remove the Wires

Removing the wires from the controller ports is a little more tricky. They will pop out with some effort, but you may just want to clip them off and file the sharper ends down.

Step 3: Power and Reset Buttons

Picture of Power and Reset Buttons

Once you unscrew the circuit board that these are attached to, they pop off really easily. Save these so that you can glue them back into place later.

Step 4: The Plastic Posts

Picture of The Plastic Posts

I wasn't ready for all these little plastic posts that are inside the bottom part of the case. I couldn't even fit a bag of chips in there like that.

Step 5: Rotary Tool Action

Picture of Rotary Tool Action

The best way I could think to deal with the posts was with gratuitously unsound use of a rotary tool and a a couple of cutting wheels. This was by far the longest part of the process.

Step 6: Better

Picture of Better

Once the posts were cut off, I ground the nubs down with the rotary's sanding attachment. Now it's nice and roomy in there. I left the 6 larger posts intact since they were originally intended to hold the case together. I thought they might help to add some stability.

Step 7: Add Hinges

Picture of Add Hinges

Adding hinges was pretty simple. Just mark where the holes should go and drill carefully with your smallest bit. The plastic is very pliable and the screws go in very neatly and hold well. I opted to put the hinges on the side so I could add a latch on the opposite side someday, but you might prefer to put them along the back.

Step 8: Test the Hinges

Picture of Test the Hinges

Test it to make sure that it opens and closes smoothly. Mine didn't the first time and I had to reposition the hinges.

Also, notice the white boarder around the Power and Reset buttons. When I glued them into place, I used a glue that dries white. I later repainted the while flecks with gray model paint, but you can avoid this by using a clear epoxy.

Step 9: Pack It

Picture of Pack It

Now put some lunch in there! You could be really silly and try to feed your sandwich through the old cartridge slot.

Step 10: Enjoy

Picture of Enjoy

Finally, put your new lunchbox in the office fridge (into which it fits nicely) and wait for your coworkers' reactions.


T0BY (author)2015-12-08

Great idea! Nice Instructable!

Millyyosmar (author)2015-07-12

Cool I wanna do this NES is working and I also have a mega drive.i wonder what I can do whith a mega drive:?(

rotinaj (author)2008-08-06

If you had put the hinges on the back, you could incorporate the power and reset buttons and possibly the controller port into the latch.

Re-design (author)rotinaj2008-08-14

Great idea. Just yesterday I pulled my old unit out of the back of the closet to try and come up with an idea like this one. I don't need a lunch box but you can always use it for SOME kind of box.

Dragonknight (author)Re-design2008-08-28

Got a Gameboy and games that need a carrying case? How about a really cool case for holding your Wii or Gamecube games? That's be neat: A retro Nintendo system storing the newest generations...

cormac3050 (author)Dragonknight2008-08-29

might do that with sega megadrive......

johnnpikachu (author)cormac30502010-04-14

 Yeah, because no one uses those things now.

i collect them :)

eluwak (author)cormac30502010-10-26

i still have my NES and MegaDrive(both fully functional).... i would only gut it if it wasnt working

braven (author)Dragonknight2012-03-08

or gameception.... :O

fllynt (author)rotinaj2008-08-27

thats not a bad idea, although i would add a handle so you can carry it around, and i would add the latch. that would be a really good idea!!! :D

11010010110 (author)fllynt2008-10-11

make the handle retractable into the card slot

loki233 (author)rotinaj2008-08-29

yeah, if you attach the power and reset buttons to a thin piece of metal and then attach that to the top part of the case, you could use them as a latch

popeye1231 (author)2013-10-24


Alphabeta44 (author)2013-07-08

this is fantastic. i can actually MAKE this! well, i mean, if i had the system.....

gothicpretzel (author)2012-06-21

In the process of making this as a birthday gift for my boyfriend, just about to add the hinges. This is a great instructable! :D

Numbuh1Nerd (author)2012-06-05

This would be so cool if I had the nerve to kill my precious NES.

amandaggogo (author)2012-01-28

Been needing a good project to do with my sad broken NES. I think this one will do nicely.

vulcan24 (author)2012-01-21

I am going to make a gameboy sandwich case XD

AppalachiaAngel (author)2011-12-26

If the posts are not too thick, a good way to get rid of them would to cut them out with some small tin snips, just an idea... love this 'ible! !!!!

Mintoperson23 (author)2011-02-18

Here's an idea for a handle, you could add some sort of spring mechanism that fits behind what would normally be the where you put the cartridge, so you can open the little door thing, and pull out the handle, and when you set it down and let go it just gets pulled back under and you can then close the little door.

If that made sense.

Appollo64 (author)2011-01-14

Great Instructable!

KNEXFRANTIC (author)2010-10-07

why the nes is awsome

lilwitteck (author)2010-10-03

I just made a second one for my club to raffle off at my schools home coming and we made over $100!! i use mine everyday and everyone already wanted one anyway :D

anthonyyy0 (author)2010-08-10

oh this is sooo coool!!!! Im going to start the school year rockin' my new nes lunchbox :D

Joe Martin (author)2010-07-26

If you actually use this MAJOR geek points to you. This is something I would use with no problems/cares whatsoever. I love it!

RandomPhrase (author)2010-05-13

Hey, I took your wonderful idea and applied it to my Super Nintendo. I didn't really follow your plan, and it probably didn't turn out as nice as yours as I made it up as I went. I just wanted to thank you for the inspiration. :)

maximonation (author)2010-02-20

how about a mini screen and a micro computer Nintendo emulator on the inside so you can play old games while you eat with and  a classic controler tucked along with to use. no idea on how to power without a wall socket. would be silly at the office :)

lilwitteck (author)maximonation2010-05-11

i made this and have had multiple people tell me that i should do that!

Madrias357 (author)2009-07-09

Now that is funny! I knew a friend who did something similar (major computer geek). He took a dead printer, gutted it, and made it into his lunchbox. Access food through the ink door, snacks through the paper-tray (that stupid flip door that holds your paper for all the world to see, well, his had room there for snacks and sodas.) Was always funny to see a Canon printer in the fridge.

CyberHULK (author)Madrias3572010-04-25

 WOAH! Bad idea with the Printer. The ink cartridges, especially from the older types, were carcinogenic. He'd better have scrubbed that printer REAL good before letting any food near it. Love the NES lunch box. I'll have to find some dea NESs and do some serious modding. One guy made a PC out of his...

Madrias357 (author)CyberHULK2010-04-27

He cleaned that thing up good, actually.  5 days with the shell soaking in water with who-knows-what added to the water, followed by pulling it out and giving it a hot-water-and-scotch-brite rinse.  I'm surprised there weren't holes in the case from the scrubbing.

Also, the printer was only about 2 years old and died an early death from board failure.

moocowdog (author)2010-04-26

thats fricken awesome

scratchr (author)2010-02-19

What about lead poisoning? I would cover the inside with epoxy or something.

itsthatsguy (author)scratchr2010-03-04

lead posining from plastic? i don;t think so, anyway its china thats bad with lead not japan.

lukeea (author)itsthatsguy2010-03-28


redsoxdrummer (author)2009-08-28

grate idea!!!But you to apart a nes dude!! i gess if it was broken............

Lance Mt. (author)redsoxdrummer2009-08-29

I don't think i could bring myself to take apart a nes, broken or not. I just cant do it! I really want one though.. ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

redsoxdrummer (author)Lance Mt.2009-08-31


Atomman (author)redsoxdrummer2010-02-16

Too much history, too many spare parts. You could make something great! I would be the person to store the parts away for when I get an idea.

redsoxdrummer (author)Atomman2010-02-19

on the other hand im not much of a gamer......all i got is a gameboy that i hardly ever play..........i wud probly use it for sumthin mor makin it stronger and bilding one of those small skate bords you sit on, then find a steep paved hill........:)

Atomman (author)2010-02-16

 Hm... Sandwich through cartridge slot... Maybe, but isn't a Cartridge for Nintendo ES about the same height as a Nintendo Gameboy Cartridge?

samuraiclinton (author)2010-02-02

I'm not quite sure that the plastic on the NES is safe for food.

Atomman (author)samuraiclinton2010-02-16

What do you mean? Regular lunch boxes are plastic. Well, they are these days. They used to be metal. And before that they were bags...

rev4n (author)2008-08-09

Not that, in theory, this isn't a cool mod, but dude... you just ruined an NES so you could put a sandwich in it. I don't care if it didn't work. The price to repair the NES is not likely going to be more than the amount of kittens you just killed by gutting it and putting it in your fridge.

tazmon122 (author)rev4n2008-08-12

excellent point, and being "8 bit" by using a nes for a lunch box is neither cool nor retro nor funny. i feel like there are a million other things you could do with a nes then gut it and stick it in the freezer

samuraiclinton (author)tazmon1222010-02-02

and on top of that, uncertainty of plastic being "food grade" could pose a health hazard on the project.

But the initial idea could save the environment since the NES "dodges the bullet" from going in a landfill.

mg0930mg (author)tazmon1222008-11-22

Such as...

tazmon122 (author)mg0930mg2008-11-25

play it, flip it on its side, and add a clock motor, thus making a clock, sell it, place it on a shelf,and save it, decorate the outside i.e. paint it, put googly eyes on it. i personally am saving it, but my point was to say that is project is bad, and less creative than i is up to you to figure it out, if you like it, then more power to you, but if you can think of more stuff, then do it...the nes is a powerful thing...i thought of one more thing, place it on it's side, and call it modern art

mg0930mg (author)tazmon1222008-11-25

1. He couldn't play it, it was broken.
2. A clock's an ok idea.
3. You have good ideas, why don't you make an instructable. =D

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