Introduction: Adventure Time's BMO: GBC Mod Replica

About: "Almost Toast"
"It's Adventure Time, 
Come on, grab your friends 
We'll go to very distant lands 
With Jake the Dog and Finn the Human 
The fun will never end, it's Adventure Time!"

Hey Instructabrarians, What Time is It?...... ADVENTURE TIME!

Folks, I frickin' LOVE this show!  Aside from perhaps Regular Show (Hmmm, perhaps I should dedicate a future 'ible to that too...), Adventure Time is, in this author's opinion, the single greatest show ever to come out of 2010.   And who can argue?  This Cartoon Network original series about a young human boy (Finn The Human) and his magical transforming dog (Jake The Dog) as they travel the mystical Land Of Ooo is such an amazing character based show, featuring such an excellent cast of characters, stellar animation, great humor and Crowning Moments Of Heartwarming  that it's hard not to fall in love with it.   

But perhaps one of the things I love best about AT is the show's own extreme dedication to it's fans.  Frederator Studios has done a tremendous job of reaching out to their fans from providing them with the show's storyboards and character sketches  to even creating an entire blog just to showcase all of the fantastic fan art people have created.  That's dedication and as both a fan of the show and of reverse engineering I have a lot of respect for that.

Now I know I've posted quite a bit of interesting reverse engineering projects based on PIXAR characters (ie Luxo Jr, Auto, my Microbe Obliterator cleaning bot) but for my first and only Adventure Time fan art I knew I had to make it great, as a tribute to both the show and its fantastic fanbase.  This build took me a long time to complete but I am finally done and I can't wait to show all of you!  So in honor of the last week of Instructables' Video Game Month (aw....) and the show's very first anniversary (April 5th), I decided to build a real working replica of Finn and Jake's cute video game system Beemo!

Also, I just realized this- 10th Official Step By Step Instructable ever! 

Editor's Note: Special thanks to Daniel van Beek for his Beemo Fan Art and my Instructabrarian shout out for this week also goes to houseofdarkly for this site's very first Adventure Time themed instructable.  Finally, since Adventure Time is a show that seems to strive on How To guides, I offer this Instructable in response to Frederator's Finm Hats.

Step 1: SHMOWZOW!: Build Overview

One of the coolest characters on Adventure Time is my all time personal favorite BMO (pronounced Beemo).  For those of you who haven't seen the show, Beemo is Finn and Jake's cute living video game system.  He's a handheld portable game device that sort of resembles a mixture of old Nintendo video games, so I decided to fully play up on this aspect.

Every gamer owns or at least has owned a Game Boy Color at one point in their life, it's one of the basic staples of any Nintendo fans! So I knew that if I was going to make my first video game mod, I wanted it to make it simple so it could appeal to every gamer. I also love how the Game Boy Color is like a miniature suped up version of the NES system, so I took a bit more liberties with his design to make it look more Nintendo- evocative.

The key factors I wanted when I started this build were: 
  1. Make Beemo look exactly like his hand drawn counterpart
  2. Play as well as he did on the show
  3. Make him a giant throwback to Nintendo- so that even if visitors have never seen the show before, they could still tell he was a portable gaming device.
Now admittedly this Instructable is going to be very difficult for me to categorize because, like the character, it's an amalgamation of so many different things. Not only is a fully realistic replica of the character from the show but Beemo is also part workshop project, part electronics project, part arts and crafts, part plush figure and also a little bit of a chemistry experiment, all of which were incredibly fun for me to work on.  

So the way I'll be presenting this build, is in sort of a two-build process both in terms of ease.  The first half will be slightly more simple and straightforward, and this the less electronically interested fans who simply want an adorable plush replica of the character, and the second part is for the more dedicated engineers out there who want to take it a step further and modify him to play real video games, namely a Game Boy Color. So not only is this build perfectly adorable, he's also perfectly functioning.

Editor's Note: Sorry to go off on tangent again.  I know I've posted a couple of pretty interesting animated replicas in the past, but believe me when I say Beemo is definitely one of my all time favorites.  I've been literally planning out this build for months now, ever since my December break and spent a lot of weekends putting him together.  So yes, I am indeed "invested in this very cute video game".

Step 2: Materials

Sorry I don't have the full layout of different parts and tools.  I sort of made him as I went along. 

Woo, a LOT of parts here.  Again, these will broken up into the different sections for Replica and Electronic.

Replica Parts
  • 6 sheets of at least 1/16'' Plexiglass (measuring at least 4 1/2 '' by 6 inches)
  • Thin, unflexible plastic sheet around 1/10 mm (at least 10'' by 5')
  • Computer and printer
  • at least two sheets of Turquoise Felt
  • thin black thread and needle
  • Cotton stuffing
  • Mold Builder (Hey look, our old friend again!)
  • Easy Cast Epoxy Resin
  • Spruce of Blue 23-24 paint by Pratt and Lambertt ( or at least some kind of Blue-Green paint)
  • Epoxy Glue
  • several sheets of Photo Paper (not pictured)
  • 6 small acrylic plastic pipes (around 2 1/2'' long)
  • Sharpie Black Paint Pen (thin tip)
  • Plastic red marker cap
  • 2 clear acrylic containers (both 1 1/2'' wide) 
  • Fine Tip Black whiteboard marker
  • NES Controller (D Pad and button for casting)
  • Game Cube Controller(A button for casting)
  • Triangle Prism Papercraft
  • Red, Yellow, and Sky Blue paint
  • Beemo's Face jpg
Electronic Parts
  • Spare Gameboy Color 
  • Two plastic red button caps
  • 6 small momentary push buttons (2 of which with long 1/2 inch buttons)
  • 4 inches of 32 wire ribbon cable
  • 7 inches of 8 wire shielded cable
  • AA Battery Pack
  • at least 12 inches of thin insulated wire
  • at least 10 inches of flexible earphone/speaker wire
  • 2 1'' diameter speaker
  • Gameboy Advance Face Mask
  • Jumbo Red LED (for additional fun)
  • Small Circuit Board

Tools Used (not pictured, sorry)
  • Hacksaw
  • Soldering iron
  • workbench vice
  • Dremel tool
  • Solder Pump or Wick (I prefer the former)
  • Volt Meter (optional)
  • Engraving Tool (optional)
  • Metal Wood File
  • Nintendo Game Boy Screwdriver
  • Wire Cutters and strippers

Step 3: Part 1: the Mathematical Paper Model Ratio!

Rhombus!  Let's begin with the replication process, shall we?

  This first part isn't really thatdifficult, and just requires some skills with basic workshop tools, sewing and even basic chemistry.

First, everything about my Beemo is based on the Paper Cut Out plans provided by Cartoon Network on the Adventure Time website.  I always knew I wanted to place a Game Boy Color system into him once I was done, so he could play real Nintendo games, so I needed to rescale the model so the Game Boy system would not only fit easily but, because of the fact that BMO's own screen is rectangular vs the Gameboy's inner square screen, I knew I could't make him too large and cumbersome and distract from the gaming.  So I decided to rescale everything based on the height surrounding black Gameboy Color border (which is around 2 1/4'' high).

Now, the current AT paper model body is around 1 1/2'', with a screen height of 1/2''.  The desired height for the screen is 2 1/4'' .  So, after some quick calculations, I estimated that the final height of Beemo's body would be  around 5 1/2'' tall.  And then after some trial and error pritining, I then used Microsoft Paint to rescale the entire model by 330%.  

So yeah, rescale the paper model by 330% in MS Paint, or until you get an overall height of around 5 1/2''.

Step 4: Building the Awesome!

Awesome!  Now that we're done we've got the scale paper model, it's time to begin copying it to it's plexiglass frame! 

First, place the rescaled papercraft model on the 1/16'' plexiglass and trace the rectangular outline, using a square-edge ruler and a fine tip sharpie marker.  Then, using a hacksaw, cut out each of the individual pieces making sure that the pieces are as straight as possible, using the metal vice to keep them in place.  Once all the parts are cut out, use the metal wood file to keep the edges flat and straight.  Once that's done, use your Dremel Tool and drill the side holes for the speakers.

Then, when you've got all of the pieces cut out in plexiglass, we can begin gluing them together using the Acrylic Cement. A word of advice: this stuff dries fast, so make sure that the pieces are perfectly perpendicular before applying the cement.  To make mine straight, I placed the two parts against a flat edge 90 degree surface like a corner between a paper cutter and a table.  Then, use the epoxy glue to fill any necessary gaps.

Also important, keep the backside unglued!  This is how we will be putting in all the electronics for later.

Editor's Note: I decided to use plexiglass over some easier to cut/ file material like wood because I didn't want to have to glue in a separate piece for the screen.  The body and screen are completely connected together if you use plexiglass, it's just a matter of isolating which places to paint.  Also for the Electronic Fan, remember when building the body to cut out a small hole in the bottom for the controller. 

Also, I'm really really sorry for the blurriness of these pictures.  They seemed better when I took them.

Step 5: Easy Castin' 101!

Alright!  Now it's time to begin one of my favorite parts of this entire build- the chemistry section of casting Beemo's iconic video game buttons!  And because we're casting plastic molds that means we get to use our old friend again, brush on latex Mold Builder!  

As I previously mentioned, because Beemo looks like a Game Boy Color I decided to fully embrace this key factor and really play up on his retro Nintendo style.  So for his front facing control board, I decided to use the buttons from a SNES, the A button from a Game Cube controller, and the D Pad from a Nintendo Entertainment System (don't tell Nick this though).

For Beemo's Triangle button I created a small card stock paper prism, which I then brushed Mold Builder over (which is actually where I got my idea for my first Instructable for VG month).

Speaking of which, if you've seen my earlier Instructable for Video Game Month FREE-Z Video Game Ice Casts then you'll know how easy it is to use Mold Builder.  Simply place an object on wax paper, brush on the mold in layers and after a day or two you get a perfect mold cast.  To build the plastic parts themselves, however, I will be using Easy Cast Epoxy Resin which is slightly more tricky and messier to use.  The ECER is a mixture of two bottles, the hardener and the resin, so you'll get a disposable paper measuring cup to estimate the required amounts.  The mixture of Resin to Hardener should be: 1/3 to 2/3rds, otherwise your mixture will not harden at all.  Also only start painting after the casts are done or the entire mixture will be incredibly runny.

The entire process is relatively quick and only takes a day and a half, if kept under warm temperate conditions.

Editor's Note: These buttons will be purely for decorative purposes only.  The real controls will be on Beemo's Joystick and button combination.  Also, if you get any of the mixture on your hands, clean thoroughly with Vinegar.  

Step 6: Stitching the Limbs

What time is it- ARTS AND CRAFTS TIME!

Algebraic!  Now that we've completed the body as well as the buttons, it's time to begin work on Beemo's plush limbs!   In the show, Beemo is very flexible, so I wanted a very soft felt limbs in contrast to his firm, rigid plexiglass body.  For all the fans out there, if you were able to make Finn's DIY Hat then this step should come to you easily.  Basically all that you are doing is cutting out the provided templates, tracing them on the Aqua/Turquoise Felt and creating two copies of each, and then sewing the halves together.  For Beemo's fingers, I used a simple double stitches on the inside of the sewn parts, before I unfolded them.  Finally, using the Cotton Stuffing, stuff both the legs and the arms until they have a nice padded feel.

Step 7: Putting It All Together

Woot!  Now that we've got all the limbs sewn together and the body fully constructed, it's time to start constructing Beemo!  Just a note, for those interested in modifying a Game Boy Color system into him later, check my addendum for additional steps.

OK, so pretty much what we are going to be doing in this step are:
  1. Creating the battery pack, using the clear acrylic plastic containers.  Cut out 1 side using the Dremel Tool so the battery pack can fit nicely inside
  2. Epoxy Glue the Acrylic Plastic Pipes on the corners of Beemo's body, as well as the battery pack.  This will serve as the screw holes for keeping Beemo together
  3. Cut out each of the button controller holes using the dremel tool
  4. Cut a hole in the back of the red plastic marker cap.  This is what will hold the Gameboy's Jumbo Red LED
  5. Cut a 2 1/2'' slot in Beemo's front side.  This will give the appearance of his video game boot slot.
  6. Dremel holes into BMO's O lettering as well as his bottom side, so that the sewn arms can fit nicely into them
  7. and lastly Dremel the out the ventilation slots in Beemo's back.
I also used an Engraving Tool so I could make the lettering on Beemo's name stand out more, as well as to give an etched shout out to the show's creator, Pendleton Ward.  

Electronic Addendum: Creating the video game boot slot
  1. Using a Game Boy Color cartridge and the unsoldered Game Boy Color cartridge reader (see step 12), cut out a U- shaped plastic shelf, so that the reader can fit nicely into it.  This will be glued on the inside of Beemo, so Game Boy Games can slide into the cartridge reader.

Step 8: Painting Beemo!

RHOMBUS!  Now that we are all done with the body and the arms, the last and final step is to begin painting Beemo!  

First remove the arms and legs (of course) so they aren't going to get painted on.  Then lightly sand paint Beemo's body using the Spruce of Blue paint.  Remember to isolate the screen portion of Beemo and protect it from getting accidentally painted on.  I suggest covering the sides with electrical tape, so that no paint can seep underneath.

Finally, paint in Beemo's initials using the black sharpie paint pen. 

Step 9: Making a Face

Whoo, we are finally done with Beemo!  This last step isn't really step, as it's more of a suggestion of  useful fun ideas.

The best part about my non-electronic Beemo design (which is why I actually to keep mine like this), is that his face can completely and easily interchangeable.  Start by downloading the blank Beemo Face template image, print it out on photo paper, and then using masking tape attach it to the inside of his body.  

Now, using a black whiteboard marker we can draw on Beemo's plexiglass screen!  You can get really creative with this too, he's sort of like a cute video game version of Mr. Potato Head.  Heck, I could even fill an entire memory cards worth of various expressions!

So YEAH, that's how to build the non electronic version of Beemo!  The next following steps are for the much more insane hard core electronic fans out there who actually want a real working cute Adventure Time themed video game system.

Step 10: Part II: Who Wants to Play Video Games?

OK, so from here on in the following steps are dedicated to showing you how you can take a Game Boy Color system and rework it into your new Beemo build. 

Begin by unscrewing your Gameboy Color system.  What you'll need is a special Tri-Wing Screwdriver to unscrew all of the main outside screws, as we will be reducing everything to it's bare circuit chip form.  

To remove the screen, you'll first need to remove the screen from the chip but opening up two hinges at the back of the chip near the top.  Next using  a hinged suction cup, pull off the front thin plastic screen of the Game Boy and then push the glass screen out from the top plastic half.  

Step 11: Gluing the Battery Pack

Extremely straightforward step, epoxy glue the AA battery holder into the back of Beemo's battery compartment.  Dremel two holes so that their wires can come out.  

This step may seem easy but, as Marceline's Dad might say, it will make the next part seem all the more horrifying.

Step 12: Moving the Cartridge Drive

Oh man, this step was hard.  So because the character has a front facing boot game slot in the show, I wanted to move the Game Boy Color disk reader from the back to the front.  The problem with this, I found, is that because the reader has 32 soldered pins, it was obviously designed never to be removed, so expect a lot of soldering and unsoldering here.

The way I did it was by using a Solder Pump and after applying a bit of solder to each of the holes, sucking out the solder from each of the pins.  Then, once all of the pins had solder removed from them, very carefully prying off the cartridge reader from the back.  If there is any additional solder preventing it from coming out, use a pair of tweezers and gently push the pins away from the hole.

Now, the goal here is to take an upwards facing boot slot and being able to turn it 90 degrees downwards so that it rests horizontally- much like an early Macintosh's disk drive.  What I ended up doing was strip the 32 ribbon cable into 32 individual thin yellow wires.  That way it's a little bit easier to bend when putting it in Beemo.

Editor's Note: WARNING- Be careful that all of your solder points are very clean and that the pins are isolated from each other.  If they happen to touch, it could cause a shortage and potentially damage your GBC.

Step 13: Speakers and Headphone Jack

Thankfully this step isn't too hard, as long as you use the solder pump and 

To make Beemo's surround sound head speaker sides, I used a 2 1'' diameter speaker.  I then used around 5 '' flexible earphone wire to join the two in parallel (connecting each of the positive leads together as well as both of the negative leads together).  The way the speakers are soldered on the Game Boy Color's circuit board is negative on the top and positive on the bottom.  Replace their half inch speaker with the new dual speakers.

For the headphone port, I wanted the headphone one to be placed very stylishly so took a tip from Apple and moved it from the bottom of the Game Boy,  to the inside top of Beemo so it could be inserted like an iPod's. I pretty much simply unsoldered it from the Game Boy Color's circuit board and then soldered each lead (5) to long 6'' wire.   

Step 14: Splitting Off the Power Switch

Because Beemo's body is much wider than the Game Boy itself, I wanted to unsolder the power On/Off Switch from the board and have it extend slightly to the outside of Beemo.  However, this proved to be a challenge because the power switch is so incredibly small and secondly, the areas where it's soldered to are very fragile after it's removal (this is actually how I broke one of my earlier test Game Boys).

What you'll need to do is using the Solder Pump again, remove all or at least most of the solder from the leads and then carefully remove the switch from the circuit board.  Then, immediately solder down 6 3 1'2 inch wires and then hot glue them down, so even if the switch gets pulled, it won't damage the soldered areas.  

Step 15: Optional: Replacing the Power LED

OK, so this step is purely for fun and not at all difficult

The current Game Boy Color LED is really small, less than half an inch tall, so I just decided to replace it with a Jumbo Red LED. 

Step 16: The Start / Select Buttons

Alright, now it's time to begin working on the buttons starting with Select and Start!

All of the Game Boy Color's buttons are on rubber pads which, after they make contact with the copper plates on the Game Boy, complete the circuit activating the switch.  Our goal is to split it off from the Game Boy so they can come out to BMO's front side.

Start and Select are connected by ground wires and normally you'd have to use the Volt Meter to see which ones are connected.  Lucky for you, however, I already marked which are the Signal Pads (those specific to the certain button) and left the Ground Pads (those already connected) unmarked.  The only thing you have to do is apply solder to each of the Signal Pads, connect one lead of the Momentary Push Button Switch to each, and connect the other leads to one another.  This will complete the circuit and allow us to use the Start and Select buttons on Beemo's front side.

Be sure to add Hot Glue to each of the wires at the end.

Step 17: Building the Controller

Whoo!  Finally, second to last step of the entire project- building Beemo's wired controller!

Even though Beemo has front facing controls, aside from the Start and Select buttons we already soldered on in the previous step, Finn and Jake rarely use him as a hand held device as opposed to a miniature Television- Wired Remote video game system.  It's sort of funny since a lot of people for Video Game Month have been taking wired systems and making them hand held, I'm doing the exact opposite.

So for Beemo's controller body, I used the second Acrylic Plastic Container to house everything inside.  Next, take your four small push buttons as well as the two long push button switches and arrange them on the electronic circuit board.  The 4 small push buttons should be arranged in the shape of a Nintendo D Pad, and the two longer buttons will be used for A and B.  To recreate Beemo's joystick controller, I ended up taking the D Pad joystic from an old Game Boy Advance Face Mask, which uses 4 different pegs which are used to press against the control pad.  Cut out only the joystick and then measure it against the two plastic red push button caps on the circuit board, making sure you have enough room but it's still small enough to fit within the plastic container housing.

For wiring, connect four wires coming from one of the D Pad's push button leads, while leaving the others separately soldered to each of the 8 insulated wiring.  This will serve as the Ground Wire and Signal Wire, respectively.  Then, do the same for the A and B push buttons, connecting their ground wires together and connecting them back to the D Pad's.

Finally once you are full completed and it fits nicely inside the Acrylic Container, you can begin painting the controller.  I based mine loosely off a NES', so it has gray sides and bottom, as well as a black top section.  Then, Hot Glue the red push button caps to the A and B buttons. 

Step 18: Fitting in the Electronics

Almost done guys!  

So now that we are done with all of the electronic components and fully completed the controller, it's time to begin the most difficult step of all- carefully putting everything inside!  Now unfortunately, because there's no easy way to do this, I will outline all of the necessary step needed to put all of the electronic components inside Beemo, in the order that they should be done.
  1. Cut out another Beemo Face template from photo paper.  From this we will cut a 4 1/2'' wide by 4'' tall square from the middle, which we will then use to surround the Game Boy Color screen.  
  2. Remove the Game Boy Color screen and tape it to the inside.
  3. Feed the controller wire through the small hole in Beemo, created in step 7 and then solder each of the wires to the corresponding pads.  For the Ground Wire, I  connected that to the bottom right hand copper pad on the Game Boy.
  4. Attach the Catridge Reader to the Game Boy acrylic Disk Drive by using epoxy resin or strong hot glue.  Make sure the glue fully dries before doing anything else.
  5. Attach the red LED inside the red plastic marker cap.
  6. Cut a small hole in the left hand side, so that Beemo's Power switch can stick out using the Dremel Tool.
  7. Attach a backing to the Start and Select buttons (I used cardboard) to keep the push buttons in place
  8. Using masking tape, tape each of the speakers to the side of him and using hot glue attach the earphone speaker jack to the top hole, like an iPod.
  9. Attach the screen back to the circuit board
  10. And finally, solder on the battery pack and close up the back.  And attach the arms and legs again.

Whew!  And now who's ready for some Video Games?

Step 19: Finished!

What time is it?  GAMING TIME!

Nicely done, you are all done and finished with your electronic Beemo Video Game System!  Not only is Beemo an awesome video game accessory, he is a video game!  Out of all of my builds, Beemo is easily one of the most complex builds I ever decided to create but he is also one of the most fun and challenging builds I ever made too.  

Now if only someone could create a real Conversation Parade game...

Step 20: Closing Remarks

I love Adventure Time.  It is easily one of my all time favorite new shows of 2010 and one of my all time favorite things to do on a Monday is to come back to my dorm room after a long days work in class and simply relax on my easy chair with a new episode with Finn and Jake.  In fact, my very first Instructable I ever posted was even about Adventure Time so for me this is sort of coming around full circle.

Sigh... looks like we've come to the end of Video Game Month.  Folks, I loved this month and I completely enjoyed sharing all of my builds with everyone here on Instructables.  By far this has been one of the all time greatest contests they've ever put out and its been fantastic seeing such a creative inflow of different video gaming builds.  I actually had a lot more builds planned for this month and only really skimmed the surface of different video game builds I was going to show off.  So if you'd like to see more, please please Instructables make another Video Game themed contest month!

Anyway, I'm going to go to bed now but good luck with the rest of your builds!  And be sure to catch Adventure Time, one of the greatest shows on television, every Monday at 8 7/c(PM) only on Cartoon Network!


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