Intro: Portable RetroGame Console (Raspberry Pi)
This instructable is written for the FabLab Making course for the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences.
For this course i am going to make a Portable Game Console in combination with a Raspberry Pi and a custom Shell.
For a school assignment i had to make an object. The object needs to meet a number of requirements.
- It needs to contain a hinge.
- It has to be made with a 3D printer, a laser cutter and 1 other device of choice.
Since i am quite a gamer and i like Retro consoles i thought i would try to make something portable to play retro games. Initially I planned to make a portable console with a built in screen, but due to time constraints i decided to leave out the screen and just connect a external display through HDMI.
Step 1: MoSCoW
- 3D printed case
- Engraving the case with laser cutter.
- A hatch to hide the battery pack
- Multiplayer support
- Power on / off switch
- Power indicator LED
- Online multiplayer
- Audio through external speakers
- Integrated screen.
Battery pack integration
Step 2: Materials
A list of materials you would need:
- Raspberry Pi (2B+ or 3)
- Emulation software on a SD Card (Think about N64 Emulator for example)
- HDMI Cable
- Monitor with HDMI support (TV or PC Monitor)
- Power Cable
- Ethernet Cable or Wifi Dongle (RPi 3 has built in Wifi)
- Micro SD Card (2GB+) + Adapter
- USB Stick (For games)
- SC Card reader
- Controller (USB)
- Laser Cutter for the Logo
- 3D Printerfor the Case
- Hot glue gun to glue the Logo ontop of the Case
The shell will be 3D printed and then engraved with a laser cutter.
The case will be for the RPI with probably a hinge at the front to hide some of the connectors.
Step 3: Setup Software on the SD Card
There are currently two versions of RetroPie 3.6. There is one version for Raspberry Pi 1/Zero (Model A, A+, B, B+) and there is a version for Raspberry Pi 2/Raspberry Pi 3. Download the SD image for your version of Raspberry Pi:
(If these links become outdated see the downloads page here.)
If you are unsure which version of Raspberry Pi you have there is an easy way to check:
Rpi 1/Zero= 1 raspberry when the pi boots up
Rpi 2/Rpi 3= 4 raspberries when the pi boots up
Once you have downloaded your SD card image you need to extract it using a program such as 7-Zip. You will extract the downloaded .gz file and the extracted file will be a .img file.
Install RetroPie Image on SD Card
To install the RetroPie 3.6 SD image on your MicroSD card. (You may need a MicroSD card reader to plug it into your computer)
- For Windows you can use a program called Win32DiskImager
- For mac you can use Apple Pi Baker
- For Linux you can use dd command or Unetbootin
Any games you would wish to use should be put in any USB thumb drive, as soon as you insert the USB into the RPi, the emulator will recouldnize the games and sort them in the appropriate folder.
Step 4: Design Sketches
The above example is a schematic drawing of how the case will look.
This is the updated version without the battery pack inclusion, as i my supplier has been having issues delivering the battery pack i have to take it out of the project due to time constraints.
Make sure that at this point you have all materials already ordered or at hand before continuing.
Step 5: Start 3D Printing
As a case for this raspberry pi project we will use a model from Thingyverse, orignally made for the Raspberry Pi B, but now edited to fit the RPI 3.
Get the model(s) here: Here
Make sure you use 4 x 2,5mm wide x 20mm long universal screws to keep everything together.
Step 6: Paint and Assemble the Case
Make sure you sand down all parts and paint them in your preferred color.
For this project i used a blank white primer and a glossy paint.
Assembling the case is pretty easy.
- Make sure you click the hatch inside the top before assembling the case together.
- Fit the RPI inside the bottom of the case (You can use the SD card to keep it in place while its not secure yet)
- Fit the top on the bottom of the RPI.
- Add 4 screws of (4 x 2,5mm wide x 20mm long universal screws) in the bottom and screw them in carefully (not too tight as the case is 3D printed and not meant for screws)
Step 7: Slicing the Logo
Slicing the logo that is going to be on the top of the case is a fairly simple process.
Once finished you can stick it on the top of your freshly painted case and do this with some hot glue or something similar.
Use this model in a laser cutter:
Step 8: Profit and Play!
You are now done and ready to play games on your new RetroPie console, power it up, plug it in and connect any USB controller and let the fun begin!
Step 9: Tips and Tricks
During this project i came across a few things that i would definitely handle differently in the future:
- Always use the same 3D printer to ensure equal quality between different parts. And try to print without rafts / support material for a cleaner print.
- Make use of mat paint instead of glossy paint, this will look a lot better in the long run.
- Ideally add 2 layers of primer to the model before completely painting it.
- Make sure you have all parts available and by hand before starting the project. I started while some items were still in the mail and this delayed the speed of the project significantly.