AMS Spring 2023

This Multi-material 3D Printed Pi-Boy Classic Is a Stunning Gaming Device

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There’s something about 3D printed video game devices which just scream ‘FUN”. We have covered a variety of gaming devices like the Super Game Pi, as well as the PiGirl, both of which incorporate 3D printing and the Raspberry Pi single-board computer.  These were first presented on the Adafruit website.

Today we got an email from a German engineer going by the Thingiverse username Jooxoe3i, who has created what may be one of the coolest such devices I have seen yet. Called the PiBoy Classic, this device uses multiple 3D printed materials to bring forth a comfortable, easy-to -play emulation device that takes design features from the original Nintendo Gameboy.pi3

The idea originally came to Jooxoe3i after he read an article on Adafruit about the aforementioned PiGirl device. He wanted to build his own but with several design improvements. A few of these improvements included the lack of an internal battery, instead relying on an easy to swap battery pack to run the device. Additionally, to save space and extend battery life, he decided to remove the speakers/amplifiers.

“Since I had the PiGirl, an SNES controller and a very precise model of the raspberry A+ to build upon it it was rather easy,” Jooxoe3i explained to us. “I then imported all the parts into blender, my software of choice! Then I measured and designed stand-ins for the missing parts, buttons, adafruits pi-tft, pcb/perfboards, screws, etc and arranged them as desired, with enough space/air-gaps around them to work and fit (friction fit between case-parts: ~0.3mm, 0.5mm for buttons and such). From there it’s all modeling with blender’s tools (booleans, solidify-modifier for walls, etc).”

Once the 3D modeling was complete, it was then time to 3D print all of the main components. There are five different parts (6 in total) which need to be printed including the control top, control pi2bottom, backplate, D-pad button, and the ‘start’ and ‘select’ buttons. Everything was printed with PLA thermoplastic besides the four colored SNES buttons which Jooxoe3i took out of one of his spare controllers, and the d-pad, start and select buttons which he used Ninjaflex filament for. This provided a more rubbery feel to the buttons, making them more comfortable to use as well as creating a tackier feel in order to avoid finger slippage. All the parts were printed on a Prusa i3 3D printer with a 0.3mm layer height, using a 0.4mm nozzle. Jooxoe3i tells us that it took him under 6 hours to print, sand and finish all the 3D printed components.

As for the electronics within the device, a Raspberry Pi A+ with an Adafruit pi-tft are used for the screen module, while the controller is built around an Atmel attiny861a, on a piece of perfboard. The handheld console runs Raspbian with Emulationstation, and just like the PiGirl can play any game that retropi can run, including those from the Gameboy, Gameboy Advance, NES and SNES consoles.

Certainly this handheld console is uniquely designed and one which is sure to garner stares from your friends. Let us know if you’ve taken on this project and what if anything you changed. Discuss in the Pi-Boy Classic forum thread on 3DPB.com.  The complete instructions along with free 3D printable models required for assembly can be found here.

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