Young Maker creates a portable, 3D-printed game console


One 14-year-old Maker has built a portable, multi-purpose gaming console based on Raspberry Pi.


Evident by the recent success of Arduboy, not to mention a number of other projects, do-it-yourself gaming has surely risen in popularity over the years. Take for instance, 14-year-old Maker Rasmus Hauschild, who has developed a portable, multi-purpose Raspberry Pi console.

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The Maker created a vast majority of the homebrew system’s components, along with its four action buttons, in Autodesk 123D Design, and then 3D printed them out on an Ultimaker 2. In total, the print job required just shy of 210 hours and called for roughly 1,000 feet of filament.

The console itself is comprised of a 3.5” TFT screen with a resolution of 480 x 320, a 6000mAh rechargeable Li-ion battery, two MP3 speakers taken out of a broken Nintendo DS Lite, an analog volume slider from a pair of old headphones, as well as a built-in controller with tactile switches and an analog thumb stick.

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Users can expect anywhere from four to five hours of play time on a single charge, which is plenty for even the longest of car rides. When depleted, an Adafruit PowerBoost 1000C juices the battery up in about five to six hours. Additionally, since he used a cheap composite backup camera screen, the Maker does note that the console calls for 12V to operate out of the box, or can be configured to work with 5V.

In terms of hardware, the system is based on a Raspberry Pi running Retropie OS. This allows it to emulate games dating back to 1977 through 2003. It has both Raspbian and Kodi installed, too.

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For Rasmus, the controller proved to be the most challenging part of the project, namely the thumb stick. This led him to use a Teensy 2.0 (ATmega32U4) to convert the controls from the gamepad into digital format since the Raspberry Pi seemed to have a difficult time understanding analog right away.

“If I had been a master programmer I could probably have gotten away with buying an ADC (analog to digital converter) and then writing a driver for it myself. But that did not work for me. So I did some research on the Internet, and found that the Arduino could convert analog signals to digital, but since the Arduino was way too big to ever fit in my design I decided to go with an Arduino ‘clone’ called the Teensy, because of the much smaller footprint,” Rasmus writes.

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Aside from serving as a Game Boy alternative, the console can also be used as a media device, since Kodi and Raspbian are already loaded. Admittedly, Rasmus says that the screen is a bit too small for browsing the web, but when it comes to watching movies, it works just fine. Alternatively, it can be connected to a TV via HDMI.

Want to make one of your own? Check out his project on Thingiverse here.

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