Introduction: Xbox Controller Case Mod

I was watching David Cronenberg's movie eXistenZ the other day and got the itch to make an xbox controller inspired by the game pod in the movie. If you haven't seen it, it's a late '90's film about immersive video games with lots of fab fleshy technology. It's all sticky, bio grossness in that delicious way.

My first attempt was an utter failure in mold making which I documented here. I ended up taking the original polymer clay that I was going to cast and just baked it in order to attach it to the controller. It is heavier, clunkier, and not nearly as refined as I'd hoped, but at least I have a finished product and it actually works. The spine on the D-pad is a bit awkward when playing, but it's really more of a conversation piece than an everyday controller. 



Materials list:
Xbox controller
Polymer Clay
Paint
Filler and clear coat
Superglue
Screw driver

Step 1: Take Apart the Controller

First things first. I took apart the controller removing the screws on the back. If you're using a regulation Xbox controller, one of the screws will be under a sticker behind the battery pack. The ABXY buttons will come out along with the dpad, bumpers, etc. Get a cup and make sure to keep all the bits and pieces, especially the screws.

I left in the circuit board on the back half and did most of the work solely on the cover. I was trying to minimize the chance of breaking the thing before I even got my sculpt on.

Step 2: Sculpt

First, put some sort of mold release on the surface of the controller. I just used dish soap which worked ok, but I read that baby powder is better. Sculpt directly onto the face plate of the controller understanding that you'll need to remove it from the controller in pieces before baking. The clay is much to thin in hold it's shape as one piece.

Once you have your sculpt, remove it from the controller face and bake it so it hardens. With sculpey, it's about 10 minutes at 275F.

Step 3: Attaching the Clay

Once the clay is out of the oven and hardened, see how it fits onto the controller. You can adjust it's fit with sandpaper, or if necessary, an X-acto knife or Dremel.

Once it fits decently well, attach it to the controller. I used epoxy for this since it would fill in some of the gaps between the clay and the controller. I always wear gloves and a respirator when using epoxy, mostly for the smell, but according to the instructions a well ventilated room is okay too.

Since I was rolling off another attempt at this with a different controller, my clay needed some extra help to fit properly. On some of the larger gaps, I mixed the sculpey dust from sanding with the epoxy to make a fill material to ease the transition.

Step 4: Bottom Half of the Controller

The sculpt on the bottom half of the controller was solely to make a better transition from the top half. I created two small pieces that match the location of the top, baked and affixed to the bottom. I wanted to make sure I could still take the controller apart after all was said and done to be able to fix any issues that may come up, so there is definitely a visible seam between the two, but it at least marries the two sides together from a distance.

When I put the top and bottom together, I needed to do some adjusting so it would still clip closed. I just trimmed with an X-acto and a bit of sand paper.

Step 5: Paint

It took a while to get a paint color that matched the clay, but with a bit of mixing and shading, I was able to get pretty close. It took a few coats to get it to look right. I also used a darker brown to stain the lower parts as well.

Step 6: Clear Coat

Use a clear coat to seal the acrylic. I wanted a liquid shiny wet look, so I went glossy, but it was a too shiny so I had to rough up some spots with sand paper. It's still shinier than I'd like, but I decided to just go with it.

Step 7: Buttons, Triggers, and Bumpers

These are essentially button covers that serve two purposes. The first is to fit with the aesthetic, and the second is to raise the height of the buttons to fit the new height of the controller with the clay additions. I made a few of each button to be sure I got a better fit in the end. When making these pieces, particularly the d-pad and ABXY buttons, make sure that your additions will still fit through the holes on the controller. If they are too wide, it will impact your ability to use the buttons and make it impossible to put on the face of the controller.

Paint the original ABXY buttons, bumpers and D-pad to match the color of the controller, then superglue them.

Step 8: Put It Together

Now that you have all the pieces and parts, put it back together. After the two sides are together, attach the trigger pieces and the stick covers. You also may need to do some touch up on the paint and adjust the buttons to be sure they don't stick. Now, voila! A completely unique controller.

Comments

author
Basv19 made it!(author)2016-06-06

I'd personally have replaced the home button with an eye, but this is still an awesome project regardless

author
REllis45 made it!(author)2015-01-12

Did you have trouble doing this? I mean with the controllers being so expensive?

author
zTragiic made it!(author)2016-06-02

They are $60

author
leftmusing made it!(author)2016-06-02

I used a knock off from e bay that was $12.

author
infernisdiem made it!(author)2015-05-24

I remember that movie, great job on this, it looks amazing.

author
nlenhardt1 made it!(author)2014-12-11

Awesome Where can you get the clay at?

author
kenyer made it!(author)2014-09-04

I wish I could sculpt like that...

author
Garra23 made it!(author)2014-02-12

freakin amazing....making one as soon as possible....absolutely love it

author
pjordan made it!(author)2013-09-05

That is epic it really reminds me of the game from the movie Existenz

author
polerix made it!(author)2013-12-22

well... yeah, it's mean to. nifty aint' it?

author
polerix made it!(author)2013-12-22

that's just amazing. i am so doing that.... first thing next weekend.

author
KittyKissMe made it!(author)2013-10-13

I totally agree with jace1127! This looks so real thatl it's creepy. :-P Love it!!!

author
jace1127 made it!(author)2013-09-27

omfg as soon as I saw the thumbnail I knew where it was from! One of my favorite movies for sure. I want to mod my ps3 controller now. :)

author
Turbocharged+Chameleon made it!(author)2013-09-12

What about the start and select buttons?

author
leftmusing made it!(author)2013-09-23

It's an off brand controller (I wasn't gutsy enough to try it on my regular controller) and the start and select buttons are the two white bone strips at the top.

author
The+Rambler made it!(author)2013-09-23

Ha, I had totally forgotten about this movie. It was really good and this is a hilariously perfect reference to it.

author
Axtklinge made it!(author)2013-09-16

Absolutely brilliant.
Congrats!
:)

author
Grunambulax made it!(author)2013-09-13

Awesome. Truly nauseating.

author
pabsenger made it!(author)2013-09-11

looks sooo great!

author
Advar made it!(author)2013-09-11

Eewwwww...
Sweet! :))

author
Alternativesky made it!(author)2013-09-10

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

author
eXtremeSomething made it!(author)2013-09-07

Is a bio-port necessary for use with this controller?

author
leftmusing made it!(author)2013-09-08

Absolutely. I know a guy at a gas station who can install one for you.

author
nixiadel made it!(author)2013-09-09

Or he could just visit the fish farm and swing by the mall after words. I hear it's no worse than getting your ears pierced.

author
nixiadel made it!(author)2013-09-09

Don't forget to keep it in a ski boot.

author
ffcabral made it!(author)2013-09-09

I love how you pushed the movie's idea one step forward with making the buttons as teeth, mimicking the popular controller mod of bullet-shaped buttons.

author
gunguru made it!(author)2013-09-09

next, you should build a Glock 17 mod that shoots human teeth!?!?!?!?

author
jasonmhandyman+ made it!(author)2013-09-09

Disgustingly awsome dude!

author
HJosh made it!(author)2013-09-09

cool monster:) Yeah! amazingly fine creature, good work

author
HJosh made it!(author)2013-09-09

cool monster:) Yeah! amazingly fine creature, good work

author
Mcyd_213 made it!(author)2013-09-09

Very cool! Loved this film, so bizarre ^_^ the fleshy grossness makes this controller awesome ;)

author
MrE made it!(author)2013-09-08

First thing I thought of when I saw this was wow that looks like the gun from existenze.

author
HollyHarken made it!(author)2013-09-08

Creepy!!! Really see the HR Giger inspiration in it.

author
Delirieuse made it!(author)2013-09-08

Well done. It really does remind me of eXistenZ, as well as HR Giger's body horror work. You did a great job, particularly with that cable.

author
rverdi made it!(author)2013-09-08

rofl... me too! Second I saw this in the newsletter, I thought 'existenZ'! Guess you hit your target pretty dead on, there! Very snazzy! Gross! But snazzy! lol

author
nerdtoob made it!(author)2013-09-08

I honestly thoughbof existenZ before I even rwad the description! greatvwork!

author
Crimson-Deity made it!(author)2013-09-08

This is so amazing!

author
SoakedinVancouver made it!(author)2013-09-08

The umbilical cord is a particularly gross touch, well done... I think?

author
Dgarner5005 made it!(author)2013-09-08

That thing is so gross looking. I think that was what you were going for. Really keeps the kids from saying "can I play?" Well done leftmusing.

author
Technobly made it!(author)2013-09-08

eXistenZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As a person who has seen that movie so many times, this makes me smile :) I instantly associated it with the movie. Great job!!

author
JonnyBGood made it!(author)2013-09-05

So this is what happens to a controller when you leave it in the sun..... Great job making your bio controller!

author
poofrabbit made it!(author)2013-09-05

This looks so bad donkey! How do you like using it to play games?

author
poofrabbit made it!(author)2013-09-05

(I should add I read about the spine, just wondering about everything else)

author
leftmusing made it!(author)2013-09-05

Thanks! It's not too bad. I had to adjust some of the buttons so they didn't stick, but now they are as responsive as before the build out. It's wired and a bit clunky, so I use it more as a novelty and keep a wireless controller for everyday use.

author
sandkvist made it!(author)2013-09-05

Awesomely gross!

author
Vega76 made it!(author)2013-09-05

Ow Wow, Fantastic mod abd exelent base of influence.

author
andrea+biffi made it!(author)2013-09-05

creepy!

author
mikeasaurus made it!(author)2013-09-05

Ugh, gross. Featured!

author
leftmusing made it!(author)2013-09-05

Ha, thanks! I wasn't sure if it would be too icky for yall.

author
spider87 made it!(author)2013-09-05

Looks amazing!!

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Bio: I'm a maker with a penchant for art and a love of sculpting the unsettling. I also appreciate the history of deep craft traditions ... More »
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