As you know, recently I’ve been working on developing a GameCube Raspberry Pi Media Center. Each project comes with its own twists and turns and this one was no different. Before I show it off (I’ll leave that for another post) I wanted to share what it’s like creating something new.
The first thing I had to do with this project is compile all of my wires and pieces. My overall philosophy with media center creation is to both keep it simple and to keep as much of the the original system as possible in tact – therefore I try not to Dremel whenever possible.
The cool thing about a GameCube as a form is that it has 4 USB-sized holes directly in the front, making it very simple and an “upgrade” rather than a “overhaul”. When I first started the project last year I followed a tutorial I had found online about dremeling the original “controller holder” into perfectly rectangular pieces. The pieces ended up pretty bad to be honest – it was as ugly as it was difficult to make. Fail. However, this lead me to research alternative solutions, where I discovered the potential of 3D printed pieces! It took me 4 tries to make a passable piece, since each redesign took a bit of time to ship and test, but try 4 fit perfectly into the original housing! I am still working on version 5, which I think will increase the strength of the USB cable holders, as well as add an LED holder for the top of the system.
I also wanted to figure out a way to add an HDMI and a power ports without butchering the back. Standard GameCubes have 2 or 3 different port openings in the back, depending on the model. The versions I had came with 3 ports, two of which were originally for video-in. Luckily they were more than big enough for an HDMI cable and a USB Micro extension cable that allow us to house the Pi without connecting cables to it directly. The first 3D printing attempt just had an HDMI in port holder – the second attempt included the USB micro cable holder. V3 will be slightly better, but V2 was nearly perfect. Success!
Now that I figured out how to put everything together, it really came down to putting my plan to action. Unfortunately, though, I ran across a few more problems… the biggest of which being the case itself.
When I first spraypainted my GameCube shell, I used a paint specifically marketed for plastic. It was really bad though, requiring both significantly more AND less than I ended up using… and I’m not entirely sure how that was possible. In the end, I gave up trying to make this perfect, leaving it as “good enough”. The front looks pretty good though! Just gotta make sure no one looks at it from the side…
When I put it together, I also had trouble getting the LED, a USB port, and the wires all set. I’m still a beginner with all of this, so it took me a while to get it all squared away. Instead of re-gluing the USB port, I decided to stick a bluetooth keyboard receiver in it – now it stays put and has a use. Success kinda! Connecting the Mausberry switch to the GameCube’s original power button took me a few tries, but it ultimately wasn’t a big deal. And the reset button I got working the first time. 🙂 Finally, I tried hot-gluing the LED to the GameCube’s case, but it didn’t stick for very long. This’ll have a dedicated part of my V5 front piece, but it is still annoying knowing it doesn’t work very well.
Overall, I would call my final result a great test model. There were certain things I liked, such as the 3D printed pieces I created and the fact that I finally got the wiring all figured out. Other things, like the paint job, I am less thrilled with. It is definitely a good start though and I’m looking forward to making the process more smooth from here on out. Expect them for sale in the next few months!
PS: Sorry I don’t have any pictures yet. I don’t have a camera and my phone has been having issues!