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Introducing the Pirakeet: A Tiny DIY and Low-Budget 3D Printed Gaming Console

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pira1As video game consoles and graphics seem to get more and more sophisticated, for some reason handheld games also seem to grow more popular. This is especially the case for people of my generation (without giving away my exact age!) who remember some of the earliest gaming days of Pong, Donkey Kong, and the first handhelds. Add to this general nostalgia the advent of the Raspberry Pi  — a cheap, powerful, and extra small computer — which seems to encourage the taste for DIY handheld games with retro charm. In fact, at half the size of the original Raspberry Pi, the Pi Zero makes the original Pi seem kind of big by comparison. Now, it is possible to design and 3D print tinier and tinier handheld gadgets, and this is exactly what we find with the Pirakeet: another handheld Raspberry Pi game console that you can make yourself.

Are you getting an idea about just how small of a handheld game we are talking about here? The Pirakeet, designed by Paris-based Alister Savage (aka “Ampersands“) and posted on Thingiverse, can be 3D printed on a small bed. We are talking 80 x 104 mm: that’s how small. The Pirakeet is designed as a remix from Adafruit’s Pocket PiGRRL, and the intention is to make it easy to print, assemble, and play. For example, the console’s front and back are 3D printed as two pieces that will remain separate until you close the case; this separation allows you to be able to work separately on “one half at a time and keep everything neat.”

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Savage explains the design differences between the Pocket PiGRRL and the Pirakeet here:

“This build pretty much follows the Adafruit PiGRRL Pocket one, but the image doesn’t work on the Pi Zero (for me anyway) so you’ll have to manually set up the screen and buttons after installing a Retropie image for the Pi Zero. This build does not have any audio.”

pira2Savage’s Pirakeet parts list is extensive. But the good news is that almost everything is available through Adafruit (except the Raspberry Pi Zero and the Lithium Ion Polymer Battery). If you checked out the Pirakeet’s parts list, you may be wondering about the approximate cost required to make your own Pirakeet. Savage went ahead and included his Adafruit receipt in the Comments section of his post. It was $100.19 (including delivery charges), and $10 for the battery. Don’t forget to add the cost of your $5.00 Raspberry Pi to that total, too.

If you are planning on making a Pirakeet, it is also quite helpful that Savage includes PDF files for console start and build guides in addition to eleven different STL files. Both PDF files are very straightforward and take you through all assembly steps — with plenty of photos. You are advised to make the electronics parts first and check to see if everything works before adding them into your 3D printed case.

Before you know it, you’ll be able to play games on a portable console that’s even smaller than its Game Boy and PiGRRL predecessors. How’s that for some 3D printed progress? Is this something you’d be interested in using? Discuss in the 3D Printed Pirakeet Gaming Console forum over at 3DPB.com.

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