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New 3DS modified case pi zero portable

  • Hi there, I will need to come up with a better name later but basically my project is a raspberry PI zero portable with a heavily modified New 3ds replacement case to make it more ergonomic (I get so many cramps from my 3ds and small handhelds in general). I’m thinking also to make it so that it can be plug into a TV and have a second controller to be able to play with someone. I’ve got a bit of modding experience under my belt, mainly with portabilizing PS2 console but haven’t touch this for a while and got tempted to do a project like this from seeing all the other cool projects.

    Parts list

    New 3ds replacement case

    New 3ds grip

    Back and shoulder button from broken GBA (This seller as a lot of broken nintendo system to play with)

    Dalian Good Display 3.5inch 5v screen Video version

    there is also a VGA version (Couldn’t resist to get this one too)

    Mini HDMI adapter

    new 3ds speaker

    Sabrent USB Stereo Sound Adapter

    PAM8403 Audio Module

    3.5mm Stereo SWITCHED PCB Socket from Jaycar ( radio shack Australian equivalent )

    NCR18650B 3.7V 3400mAh 18650 Li-ion Battery

    PCB Charger 3.7V 3A Protection Board

    Adafruit Powerboost 1000C

    microUSB Breadboard Adapter

    various prototype board from Jaycar

    DPDT Switch

    Other hardware
    Raspberry PI Zero

    Star Shaped 4-Port USB 2.0 Hub from Jaycar

    ION GO PAD Folding Computer Game Controller


    While I was waiting for the different parts for my case I started to do some small things like soldering the protective circuit to my battery and figuring out how to wire the audio jack.

    I also had a play with one of those octopus USB hub but out of the 2 I bought one just didn’t work (most likely bad wiring) and the second one was only a usb 1 even if the eBay list was saying it was a USB 2.0. It’s probably why it was only a few bucks. Luckily I found in a Jaycar store ( radio shack Australian equivalent ) close by a nice and compact USB hub 2.0. By trimming the PCB it should end up be quite compact.

    I then received my reverse monitor that I had ordered a month ago. One thing that I realised by playing with it was the viewing angle where not great and mine came with a dead pixel, I of course realised this only after the screen was apart :( Oh well at least the case is made of ABS so I will be using this for my Frankencasing later on. By doing a bit of searching I then found some Dalian Good Display screen at 3.5inch at 5v input which sound pretty good so I ordered those. In the past I had a bit of experience playing with there screen and usually they are quite good.

    I then cut in big chunk the monitor case (only the back part) and submerged the piece with some acetone in a glass jar to create some ABS cement.
    As always safety first when handling chemicals, you should be wearing gloves to avoid contact with this product.

    After almost 2 month of waiting, I finally receive my new 3DS replacement case.

    Started to do some fitting and cutting.

    The result some nice runny ABS cement, this cement will start drying quite fast so you want to only open the jar when using it.
    Also if it get dry just add a bit more acetone and mix it up.

    Cut the case and tested the cement, it work quite well.

    Next I went to cut the bottom part of the 3ds, gluing it to the bottom part of the grip and gluing the front of the 3ds case to the front of the grip.

    I got a broken GBA a few weeks before, I really like the chunky shoulder buttons it has so end up cutting them along with the back of the case.
    I did a bit of rough sanding, keep both part of the shoulder button case together with some blue tack and the screws and glue then in the case after cutting the space for them.

    The last big part was to relocate the Dpad and placing the back of the GBA in the case

    Next will be quite a lot of sanding, apply filler and more sanding. Also thinking about where to place the different ports.

  • @Sephiros wow, that's some impressive case modding! I'm assuming it's still in 2 halves so you can get the pi inside?

  • @moosepr thanks mate. Yes, it's in 2 halves now. At the beginning it took a bit of time to figure out how to cut the 4 halves (grip top/bottom and 3DS case top/bottom) and almost broke the grip top part after cutting it but it endup working out nicely.

  • Nice, looking forward to seeing what the finished product looks like.

  • Just a small update, 2 round of sanding and filling. It’s getting there.

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    I’ve also glue a small piece of left over plastic to cover the base of the shoulder button.
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  • @Sephiros

    Wow! your project is coming along nicely! I can't wait to see the finished project.

  • @Sephiros that's really coming together! What are your plans for the surface finish? I have seen a few "modded" cases that are a bit too shiny. If you can find a nice fine texture surface it will look "factory finished"

  • This post is deleted!

  • @moosepr what I was planning was that once I got to a stage where the case smooth and I got the ports location sorted out I will prime it first with a primer/filler spray and if I'm happy with the results, I will spray paint it with a satin colour which is between flat and semi-glossy in terms of finish. I'm still trying to figure out the colour skim too, for a while I was thinking to go with the snes colour but need to think a bit more about this.

  • I’ve done a lot more sanding and filling on the case, still a bit more to go.
    I've spend a bit of time planing and I have a now a rough idea of the port layout, the LEDs placement and the placement the parts inside the case. I also had a idea for the battery cover and the colour skims but will probably discuss this in an other post.

    I received the two 5 volts dalian good display screens and and they fitted quite well in the case.
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    I just had to grind the bottom part of the screen section and slightly shave off a few mil on the left and right edge.

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    I’m still waiting for quite a few the parts which must be on the slow boat from china.

  • @Sephiros looking good!! that screen fits in nicely, where are you going to shoehorn that button board?

    I know what you mean with the 'slow boat from china', i think some of the parts im waiting for are being swam across personally by a delivery guy. taking an age :(

  • @Sephiros

    I understand that this project is unfinished, but how comfortable is it to hold the case (or at least what you have so far?)

  • @Velocireed it's pretty comfortable, the grip made it much more ergonomic

  • @moosepr thanks mate, waiting for parts is the worst part of this project.
    That board will be placed just next to the battery and accessible from the GBA battery compartment

  • It’s been quite a few weeks from my last update. Life and work got on the way of this project but I’m back on it, I also received some of the parts that I was waiting so I could start doing the power section of this project.

    I have been thinking from a few month ago about a way to see the battery status. The cool thing is that the 3ds replacement case came with the light diffuser which fit at the front of the case.

    So with this in mind I did a bit of research on the powerboost 1000C board to find a way to do a break board with some LED sitting under the diffuser.

    What I’m thinking to use from the board is the Red LED for lower battery, the yellow LED for the charging state and the green LED for the charged state.

    On the powerboost board the green and yellow LED share the V line and therefore can but wired to a RGB LED or a Bi-Color LED which has a common anode. I also test the voltage from the onboard LED and they run on 1.94v.

    After doing some research I stumble onto this Bi-colour LED which match the colour I wanted to display, green and orange and also run between 1.9v to 3.8v which sounded perfect.

    So fast forward, I finally got those LEDs and it was play time during the weekend
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    I wired the cable directly on top of the on board LED solder pad with the help of some flux
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    And with the help of a breadboard I could test the LED
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    And lastly I solder the wired for the red LED which I will test in the future
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    On the case side I'm doing the few different ports, I will be posting this in my next update.


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