Worklog The 64ME BOY

splain

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I'm a huge Game Boy nerd but I want an N64 portable, so I want to make one that looks like a huge Game Boy. I think this picture sums it up pretty well:

1653166648370.png


(I'll probably end up calling it the 64 Boy or something. 64-me-boy??)

I understand this isn't a new idea, but I've been meaning to make an N64 portable for a long time now, and I've always wanted to participate in these Summer contests. So I'm happy to work in the background/shadow of the actual innovators this summer. ;)

I'm still doing a lot of reading and prep-work, basically memorizing this thread: https://bitbuilt.net/forums/index.php?threads/nintendo-game-boy-64-m-boy.4819/

Mine will have a frankencased shell and OEM controls. I have a huge box of cast-off Game Boy shells from a friend, that are ideal for this project since they're scratched and faded. I've built projects that use the upright form factor, with shoulder buttons on the back, and I just don't like how it feels. So I have some big plans for making comfortable shoulder buttons.

If all goes well, I'd also like to 3D-print a shell for an N64 game that looks like a GB game when inserted in this build.

I made this image a while ago but it's still basically the whole plan:

64ME BOY.png
 
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Really nice to see you're taking inspiration from the M-Boy (which is DMG and GBoy inspired) :). I think also on mine, in the end, OEM buttons would have worked quite well since they will be much better proportioned than the DSL buttons. I was mostly focussed on keeping the design 'thin' and for that, the DSL buttons worked nicely. Also because I cheated there and just did it similarly to how the GBoy did it so I wouldn't have to figure it out myself.

I'm a bit concerned about the structural integrity of what you propose, so you might want to investigate that a bit more. Perhaps fibreglass/epoxy reinforcement?

Also originally I considered entering the summer contest with that design but I look like 1,5 years to design and build it so that would have never worked :)
 

splain

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Really nice to see you're taking inspiration from the M-Boy (which is DMG and GBoy inspired) :). I think also on mine, in the end, OEM buttons would have worked quite well since they will be much better proportioned than the DSL buttons. I was mostly focussed on keeping the design 'thin' and for that, the DSL buttons worked nicely. Also because I cheated there and just did it similarly to how the GBoy did it so I wouldn't have to figure it out myself.

I'm a bit concerned about the structural integrity of what you propose, so you might want to investigate that a bit more. Perhaps fibreglass/epoxy reinforcement?

Also originally I considered entering the summer contest with that design but I look like 1,5 years to design and build it so that would have never worked :)
Yep, thanks for the detailed worklog! Mine is going to be a bit more primitive and chunky compared to yours, for a couple of reasons. But a huge Game Boy that plays N64 games is The Dream.

The shell pieces will be ABS Cemented and epoxied together, and bondo'd from the outside, in the old frankencasing fashion. I've been doing some experimenting with DMG shells while I try and finalize the dimensions of this thing, and if I want the N64 cart to fit in the back like a GB game, then the beast will be wide enough to easily fit a 5" screen. I'll pretend to think about whether I want to go 240 or 480, but it's probably gonna be 480.
 

AFE123

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Have you ever thought about 3D printing the case? It might be a great opportunity to learn about the process and you'll save some time and effort.
 

splain

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Yep, I've thought about it. I have 2 printers and I know the 3D printing process very well. I'll be printing plenty of stuff for the internal structures. I just don't want the outside of the portable to have that stripey "3D printed" look.
 
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Just some food for thought, you could do your initial prototypes on your FDM printer, then send the final iteration out to JLC or PCBWay for a nice resin / nylon case. Another idea could be filling / wet sanding your final FDM case (same process you'll have to do for frankencasing anyway), that way you don't end up with that 3D-printed stripy look you're talking about.
 

splain

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I got a "broken, for-parts" N64 off ebay that works perfectly fine. Did some trimming. I left the PIF on there because this portable is going to be huge, and I won't need that extra inch. I'm using a 5" ZJ050NA-08C, running off 5v. The N64 didn't fire up right away, so I added a resistor to pin 8 on the PIF, still didn't start up. Turns out something's wonky with the expansion pak there on the left, because it started up with a plain ol' jumper. Hope I can get that expansion pak working. Now I don't know if I need that PIF resistor...

There's no N64 PMS or any VGA solutions to be found anywhere, so I'm using an old TI reg for 3.3v, and the trusty AV video out. Mario looks fine so far, ignorance is bliss. 2015 is going to want their portable back at this rate.

64meboy.jpg
 

splain

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Post-contest update! I tried to ramp up production thru September but I had relaxed too much in the first half of the summer, and obviously I didn't finish on time. I took a bit of a break since then, but now I'm back to it and ready to finish.

I got the expansion pak working fine, relocated the cart pins, and did a board bend to make room for the enormous N64 joystick. The case looks like a disaster so far, as all good frankencasing projects should. Took these pictures for the contest but never posted them. Workbench is immaculate as always.

mahsyy.jpg


aljusf.jpg


I got some thin acrylic sheets for making a screen lens, and I learned a few ways NOT to cut it. This one is all scratched up and the edges are trash but you can see the idea. I'll make a better one and paint the inward-facing side so that it hides the inside edges and looks like a Game Boy.

kakfasd.jpg


During the summer I had decided it wasn't worth trying to get VGA out of the N64 since I didn't have time to hunt any boards down or make anything. But now that there's no time limit, I wonder if I should. I'm actually re-thinking a lot of stuff that I had relegated to "pick something that works and fly with it." Now I'm back to overthinking tons of stuff and I don't want it to kill the project. I'm currently installing the face buttons and it's coming along ok. The N64 controller is NOT flat on the front and I ended up 3D printing housings for the d-pad and ABC buttons, to try and adapt all the also-not-flat buttons to the flat surface of the big GB. It might look weird but I still want to use OEM buttons.

These GB shells came from a dusty box of discarded (faded, scratched, broken) shells that I got from a buddy, ages ago. The battery covers I'm cutting up are all aftermarket.

I was trying to decide what color to paint it, either N64-controller grey or N64-console black. But now I'm thinking Game Boy beige-grey. So the lens border will be a darker grey.
 
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