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Purple clear custom layout
#1
The idea behind this build is to change the whole buttons/Dpad layout.
Switching analog stick and Dpad come from Hipcat build and buttons placement is from the SNES controller but with a tilted angle to fit the GBA.

At the first place, I ordered clear and clear purple case, sadly the clear case was glacier so I ended up using purple clear for the build
This color has strange behave depending on the light color. Use a white light an you will have a blue case, with a natural light it will be purple.

A Dpad spacer had to be done to offset its height be 2mm.
           

4 new buttons were also required, the original ones could have work but I wanted them to stay as flat possible, I also wanted the silicone pads to fit tight into them to have self retain.
                   

Freeing required space in the front shell is from far the easiest part.
           

Dpad and buttons holes needing to be filled, I machined parts into a battery cover to be sure to have the same color, transparency and surface pattern.
   

At this point, I made a little mistake that can not be see from outside of the case, I couldn't use epoxy since it bond can easy broke if there was pressure at the wrong place so I ended up using solvent based model making glue.
This type is only design to fuse material, not fill gap, when you had too much of this, bubbles start to form into the material.
Battery cover not having the same thickness as the shell (1.5mm and 2mm), I also tried to limit the thickness differences using this glue. Having more surface allowed it to dry without forming any bobbles.

From the outside, there was a bumpy effect due to the bevels, I tried to fill the with a tiny bit of molding epoxy, without real success. Don't fix what's not broken, let's move to the next step.
                   

For the new layout, I used pieces of graph paper, stuck anything in place and retook each element position using the milling machine (important step for the PCBs design), then cut new holes.
Start, select and hotkey holes come from the last build.
       

To get pads position of the motherboard, I also used pieces of graph paper, traces new holes position thru the shell alternating pattern (horizontal/vertical) to get measurement as precise as possible.

PCBs design is pretty simple, made using a CAD software then make on the milling machine. PCBs thickness has been drop down to 0.4mm to limit buttons weird behave.
Due to Dpad pads pattern, up and down had to be flip, this is revert as well in GPIO driver config file.
All traces and pads are tin to limit corrosion over time.
           

I created walls to restrict move of the analog stick.
       

After a test fitting (the hard part, there are no screws to keep the motherboard in place), I noticed something wrong around ABXY, the X button had a weird feeling, I missed to remove the parts on the back shell that push behind the original AB buttons, I had to remove the cross behind the Dpad as well to allow clearance for the analog stick cable and connector.
The Dpad feeling was pretty bad, to solve this, I had to remove around 0.3mm on its flat surface, I am pretty sure I made wrong measurement at some point..

The retainer of the battery cover was a little soft, I correct this using a piece of foam.

This case is not perfect, far from it but it has for most a good feeling when in hand.
The real downside is the Dpad position, it is a little far for my fingers.

               
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#2
This is beautiful! You know, I wouldn't have guess that having 3 buttons off center on the bottom of the screen would look good, but they really do. They look more interesting and a lot cooler than just being centered.
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#3
Thanks Wink
I wanted to keep a easy access to hotkey button.

Did you make progress on your back shell?
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#4
(04-10-2019, 05:39 PM)Porcinus Wrote: Thanks Wink
I wanted to keep a easy access to hotkey button.

Did you make progress on your back shell?

Yes it is in place, but I’ll clean it up a bit before the build is done. Probably going to use some black leather decals on the back again too.
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#5
This is really amazing work, Porcinus!

We have actually considered the idea of making similar "overlay" PCBs to allow people to more easily add/move controls. So far, that hasn't become a reality, because one of our main design constraints is always centered around the idea that it must be simple for builders to implement. Your boards are pretty straightforward, but I think the shell mods would be quite difficult for most people.

They're amazing, though!
Card Fighters' Clash 2 English Translation ( http://cfc2english.blogspot.com/ )
Neo Geo Pocket Flash Cart and Linker Project ( http://www.flashmasta.com/ )
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#6
Thanks Flavor Wink
You are totally true Smile

Hipcat, seeing the result you got with the polishing compound, you can try to polish (but not 100% clear) the exterior of the back shell, but you need to beware about how epoxy will behave, you will have bad result if the epoxy hardness is a little low so try on a dead part Smile
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